2024 preview - Derry City

6th February 2024

A look ahead to Derry City this season

Derry City have got their man. 

At least that’s what Ruaidhrí Higgins will be thinking after securing the signature of legendary League of Ireland striker Pat Hoban from Dundalk. 

In the packed press conference that greeted Hoban’s arrival, the prinicipal question on reporters’ lips was: “is this the missing piece?”

Having gone close in 2023 with goals drying up a little towards the tail end of the year, Higgins will be delighted to have secured his new number 9 along with the signing of Daniel Kelly. 

"When you analyse the season, a lot of the draws where we dominated matches should have been victories and we need to fix that,” Higgins told the media. 

“Pat’s proven and you’d have to say that he’s been consistently the top striker in the country for a long time.

“His numbers speak for themselves and the most impressive thing about his numbers is that half of his goals were the first goal for his club in the game.

“Either he put his team in front, equalised or got them back in the game. He scores big goals and is a big-game player,” he added. 

Not much else has changed around the Derry City dressing room which is no bad team. The Candystripes boasted one of the best defences in the League as well as the SWI Goalkeeper of the Year in Brian Maher. 

Cameron McJannet, Ben Doherty and Ronan Boyce were all worthy of being in the Divisions’s Team of the Year as three standout defenders. 

A midfield packed with Adam O’Reilly, Sadou Diallo, Will Patching and Patrick McEleney can scarely be topped. 

However, much may come down to how the legs hold up throughout the new season. If losses are incurred again to the likes of Mark Connolly, Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney, the question will be if there is enough depth to sustain another serious title challenge. 

In the deciding match between Derry City and Shamrock Rovers towards the end of the year, Higgins’ men were minutes away from a massive win and one slip in concentration led to Graham Burke equalising late on which sparked scenes of jubilation in the Rovers away end. 

Derry know they’re not far away and Higgins will be hoping that having moved heaven and earth to get Hoban, 2024 might be the year of his greatest feat and bringing the title back to the Brandywell. 

If the afformentioned star players can stay fit, they have every chance. 

Finish last season - 2nd
Manager - Ruaidhrí Higgins
Key player - Pat Hoban