NEW Derry City boss Declan Devine has pulled off a shrewd piece of business after convincing Jamie McDonagh to re-sign for the Candystripes for 2019.
The 22-year-old wide player, who played left-back for large spells in 2018, was named Derry’s Player of the Season following his impressive and consistent performances in an overall unacceptable campaign under Kenny Shiels.
The Northern-Ireland U21 international was keen on a move to England but after a move failed to materialise, McDonagh insisted he ‘can’t wait to get started’ on Foyleside again.
“I am buzzing to get back, I can’t wait to get started in pre-season, I am really looking forward to it under the new management,” he said.
“I am eager to see who else comes through the door, there will be a lot of new players and a few from last year, but I can’t wait to meet everyone and see how things can progress and be part of the group.
“I already know Declan (Devine) can attract quality players to the football club and I can’t wait to see who else he brings in.”
The Belfast man, who was unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon alongside Peter Cherrie and defenders Ally Gilchrist and Ciarán Coll, revealed that the new management staff had a huge impact on his decision.
“When I sat down and spoke to Declan (Devine) he told me that he was going to clear everything out,” he said. “From the football perspective, the experience that Declan (Devine) has and the backroom staff has will stand me in good stead,” McDonagh added. “Especially because of the coaching they can bring to the table – I feel they can bring me on leaps and bounds.
“The way he has gone about his business already and the way he spoke to me about the ambition of the club, it all sounded great to me and I wanted to be part of that.”
McDonagh also admitted having figures such as Kevin Deery and former Celtic starlet Paddy McCourt on the staff was awe-inspiring.
“Paddy McCourt was there as well when I met Declan (Devine) and what a huge influence he is, especially when he is sat next to you and is telling you that he wants you to sign and how much he wants you at the club.
“Obviously, they watched a little bit of me last season and they think I am good enough to come back and that is a big factor when you have the likes of Paddy McCourt telling you that you have so much more to give.”
McDonagh attracted several offers from the Irish League following his displays last season but he believes he has so much more to offer the Brandywell club next season.
“I did have several part-time and full-time offers from the Irish League but the way things ended last season with Derry wasn’t great and I feel like I have so much more left to offer,” he said. “I also didn’t want to leave the club after how it ended last season.”