Former Derry City duo McEleney and Stewart join Larne revolution

Wed, Jan 10 2018

Stewart lifts the EA Sports Cup after scoring in the 3-0 final win over Shamrock Rovers in 2017. Credit: Brian F Smyth

Former Derry City pair Thomas Stewart and Shane McEleney have become the latest big names to commit themselves to big-spending Northern Irish Championship side Larne.

 

Stewart returns to Northern Ireland having spent the past 12 months with Dundalk, while McEleney returns following a year in North America with Ottawa Fury.

 

31-year-old striker Stewart has won titles north and south with Linfield and Shamrock Rovers and has international experience from stints in Scotland and North America.

 

“It's a new chapter in my career and a new challenge,” Stewart told Larne TV.

 

“After speaking to Tiernan and Kenny it was evident it was a good place to be.

 

“That [ambition] was one of the biggest. I missed out on that a few years ago whenever Dundalk came calling for me and they ended up doing great.

 

“Fortunately I did play with them last year, but looking at how it develops, that is something that took my attention to Larne.”

 

Stewart started out with Linfield, winning back-to-back Premiership titles in 2007 and 2008 before moving west to Derry City.

 

After two-and-a-half years with the Candystripes, Stewart moved to Shamrock Rovers, with whom he won a Premier Division title, before joining Patrick Thistle in Scotland.

 

Following another spell at Rovers, Stewart set sail for California and the newly-formed Sacramento Republic.

 

He spent three seasons with Sacramento before signing for Ottawa Fury, and in 2017 returned to Ireland to link up with his old Derry boss Stephen Kenny at Dundalk.

 

26-year-old McEleney returns to Ireland following the expiration of his contract with NASL side Ottawa Fury.

 

The towering central defender, who can also play in midfield, spent six years with his hometown club Derry City before joining St Patrick's Athletic in 2015.

 

He left Pats shortly before the expiration of his contract towards the end of the 2016 and signed a contract with the club in the Canadian capital.

 

The pair could face their former club as soon as next week as Larne have confirmed a friendly fixture against Derry City at Inver Park on Friday, January 19th at 7.15pm.