'We'll have one of the best right backs in the country' - says Cliftonville boss

Cliftonville boss, Paddy McLaughlin is delighted to welcome Conor McDermott to the club.
Cliftonville boss, Paddy McLaughlin is delighted to welcome Conor McDermott to the club.
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CLIFTONVILLE manager, Paddy McLaughlin believes he’s captured the services of one of the best right-backs in the country as Derry City’s Conor McDermott agreed a loan deal with the Reds.

Following his recent injury-stricken spell with the Candy Stripes, Derry boss, Declan Devine has allowed the Northern Ireland U21 defender to join the Irish League outfit until January 2020.

He’s contracted with the Brandywell club until the end of the 2020 Airtricity League season and McLaughlin is delighted to welcome him to Solitude for a six month spell.

McDermott, who is currently on a three-day training camp with the Northern Ireland U21s where they take on a high profile England team in a challenge match at St George’s Park, has made 91 appearances for the Candy Stripes but had been playing second fiddle to Darren Cole and Jamie McDonagh this year.

Having fully recovered from a hip operation which ruled him out of the majority of last season, McLaughlin believes McDermott will prove a hit in North Belfast with the chance to play regular football.

“It’s a great signing for us,” said the Reds manager. “I think when we get him into training and up and running with regular games he’ll be back enjoying his football again, which is the whole point of him coming to us.

“Whenever you’re not playing, and I was there myself plenty of times for different clubs, you’re not enjoying it and if it’s not like that then there’s something wrong.

“So we’re looking forward to getting him into training and back playing football and enjoying himself again.

“Once we do that, we know ourselves, we will have one of the best right-backs in the country.”

And it was an opportunity which was ‘too good to turn down’ when McLaughlin learned of his availability.

“Whenever you’re playing with an injury you get away with it for so long and eventually it catches up on you and that’s probably the case with Conor given the way he played through the pain for the club. He’s a Derry City die-hard at heart.

“He’s like all young Derry men, they all want to play for their hometown. He played through the pain for long enough and it caught up with him.

“I think he had a problem with his hip for long enough but he’s got that sorted out now and found it difficult to get back into the team as Derry have been doing so well.

“The opportunity to bring him in until January at least was too good an opportunity to turn down. When we get him back fit and playing we know we will have one of the best right-backs, north and south, there’s no doubt about that. He’s quality, he’s top drawer!”

And given the large Derry contingent at Solitude with Ryan Curran and Aaron Harkin currently plying their trade there, not to mention the management staff, McLaughlin doesn’t envisage any problems with McDermott fitting in at the club.

“There’s a couple of Derry boys up there and obviously with myself and the coaching staff from Derry as well, he’ll find it easy to fit in straight away. He can’t wait to get started now.”
McDermott was McLaughlin’s first summer addition as he looks to build towards the Reds’ upcoming Europa League qualifier and the Creggan man expects a few more to follow.

Ex-Institute midfielder, Ronan Doherty has also joined the Reds while fellow ’Stute pair Aaron Jarvis and Ronan Wilson have been linked with moves to the Solitude outfit while there has also been interest from Derry City for Jarvis. And McLaughlin is hoping to freshen up his squad with new additions in the coming days.

“When there’s a good player who becomes available we will always be interested. We’re speaking to one or two others at the minute too. I don’t think there’s any need for too many new faces as I think we have the nucleus of a good squad there,” he concluded.