McCafferty on the Derry City bench
|Full name||Neil McCafferty|
|Date of birth||19 July 1984|
|Place of birth||Derry, Northern Ireland|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|2003–2004||→ Cambridge United (loan)||6||(0)|
|2005||→ Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||16||(0)|
|2005–2006||Rushden & Diamonds||23||(0)|
|2011||→ Ballymena United (loan)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
McCafferty began his career at Charlton Athletic in 2000–01. He can play either central midfield or on the right-hand side. In 2001, McCafferty was called into Charlton's first-team squad to face Manchester United at Old Trafford at just 16 years of age. He was a regular in both Charlton's under-19 and reserve teams and was captain of the reserve side in 2004–2005. Whilst under contract with Charlton, McCafferty also had loan spells at both Cambridge United and Rushden & Diamonds.
At international level, the player was a regular at youth levels from Under-16 to Under-19 with the Republic of Ireland. His appearances for Ireland included the 2003 Oporto Youth Tournament held in Portugal where he represented the Under-19s.
During his spell with Rushden & Diamonds, McCafferty helped the club avoid relegation from the Football League. Having originally signed a one-month deal at Nene Park toward the end of January 2005, his stay was soon extended to three months after a number of impressive performances which aided in steadying the sinking ship.
McCafferty was so popular with Rushden & Diamonds fans that when he was released by Charlton Athletic at the end of the 2004–05 season after failing to break into Alan Curbishley's first-team plans, he was signed by the club that had previously loaned him.
McCafferty signed for his home-town club in July 2006 and made his debut away to Bray Wanderers on 4 August 2006. However, he only managed this one appearance as a substitute before injury ruled him out of the 2006 season. Prior to this and upon his arrival at the club, the Derry City manager at the time, Stephen Kenny was quoted as saying:
|“||Neil is yet another member of a generation of young players who have come of age over the past few seasons at Derry City. Players such as Pat McCourt, Barry Molloy, Mark McChrystal, Ruaidhri Higgins and Kevin Deery are all the same age as Neil and they all played in the Derry and District Youth Leagues before graduating to senior players be it here or in England. Therefore, when I came to Derry I had targeted a number of those players who had been playing in England – Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Paddy McCourt and McCafferty. At the start it was difficult to persuade them to return home but over the past season or so, a return to the Brandywell is now considered a viable option should their careers come to a halt across the Irish Sea.||”|
McCafferty only managed to make eight league appearances for the Candystripes, five coming from the bench.
On 12 June 2010, McCafferty signed for Portadown.
On 28 January 2011, McCafferty signed for Ballymena United on loan until the end of the current season.
- "McCafferty set to break record", Adrian Harte, BBC Sport, 10 April 2001.
- "McCafferty agrees Diamonds deal", Football.co.uk, 29 September 2005.
- Neil signs on the dotted line Derry Journal, Retrieved 10 July 2006.
- Neil McCafferty Player Info, Walk The Chalk
- From Derry to Grays, graysathletic.co.uk
- TWO NEW SIGNINGS FOR HARPS, finnharps.com
- Cunningham Swift to sign McCafferty for Dungannon, Belfast Telegraph