There's beauty in a chip.

All the huff and puff and soccer can be distilled into one aim: getting the ball in the opposing net. And seeing it arc over a stranded keeper in slow motion is particularly satisfying after frantic chunks of play where the ball fizzes from one end of the pitch to the other.

It's a finish that sometimes defines a certain type of player too.

A Tony Sheridan. An Eric Cantona. A Matt Le Tissier.

A Patrick McEleney.

The Derry man's campaign ended with a gut-punch at the hands of Cork City, who wrapped up the double with a penalty shootout victory in the FAI Cup final. 

By his own standards McEleney was subdued that day, but he's graced us with so many jewels this year that it would be churlish to pick out his quieter moments. His mercurial talent remains one of the Airtricity League Premier Division's treats.

It's hoped that remains the case. Speculation has swirled around the 25-year-old in the off-season, and he admitted to the Derry Journal on Tuesday that offers home and abroad are giving him food for thought. 

"There are big clubs involved and I’ve met a few now," he said.

"The MLS is really appealing but everything has to be right. It’s not just about me, it’s about everyone.

"It’s dragging on a bit now but I expected that anyway. There has been interest from here and other places like America, England and Scotland. But I’m just going to take my time and try and make the right decision."

What a loss he'd be, but regardless of where the midfielder's future lies, at least we'll always have the memories. And the chips.

Here's five of his best moments from a campaign studded with magic.

16 June, 2017 - Going for a ramble in the derby

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Time was when trips to Drogheda were fraught with danger for Dundalk. Not now. They've been on a different plane to their close neighbours for a few years and McEleney emphatically exposed the enormous gulf with this nonchalant run and lob at United Park. Unlucky not to get goal of the season.

Shades of? Matthew Le Tissier's audacious effort against Blackburn Rovers in the December of 1994. The Southampton maverick made three men look like traffic cones and Tim Flowers resemble a lamppost as he slalomed forward and lobbed home a magnificent individual goal. The understated celebratory arm-raise made it even better.

23 June 2017 - Dink and you miss it

At this point in the season McEleney was arguably playing the finest football of his career. His soaring confidence was encapsulated by this ridiculous finish in a 4-0 thumping of Finn Harps, a dink so casually brilliant it almost seemed unnecessarily cruel on the visitors. 

Shades of? John O'Shea's lift over Manuel Almunia to wrap up a memorable 4-2 Manchester United win against Arsenal at Highbury in 2005. The Waterford man surprised everyone - not least himself - with a comically laid-back finish that put the seal on raucous Premier League meeting. 

 30 June, 2017 - Taking Bray for a stroll

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Still the belters kept coming. With Bray defenders at his mercy, time seems to stand still as the Lilywhites playmaker lifted his head, picked his spot and bended home a beauty after another dazzling dribble.

Shades of? Gianfranco Zola 's marvellous effort against Wimbledon in the 1997 FA Cup semi-final was also made with swivelling hips and a composed curling finish. 

27 October, 2017 - Another chip in the bag

Galway were desperate for a win in their final game of the season. Three points was essential to give them any hope of staying up, but even though Dundalk had nothing to play for, their greater quality couldn't be subdued. In first-half injury time they poured forward on the break from a Galway corner, McEleney finishing off a sweeping counter with a picturebook dink over Conor Winn. A thing of beauty.

Shades of? Eric Cantona's famous 1996 chip against Sunderland. It hung in the air so long that camera flashes sparkling from the Stretford End captured every stitch of the ball before it finally hugged Lionel Perez's net.

18 March, 2017 - Slaying the Saints

 A goal that probably showcases all of McEleney's talents. The burst of acceleration, the strength to hold off three men, the imagination to even attempt that finish and the technique to actually pull it off. No other player in the league would even have considered trying to lob the goalkeeper from that angle. A goal to savour and watch over and over again.

Shades of? Tony Sheridan's lobbed leveller against St Pat's in the 1996 FAI Cup final. It earned Shels a replay they'd win. The similarities between these goals don't really lie in how they played out, but in the sheer imagination displayed in both executions. Sheridan was an off-the-cuff maverick. McEleney is cut from the same cloth.