By SSE Airtricity League reporter Ciaran Callan at Oriel Park Some thirty-minutes after the full-time celebrations, we saw Michael Duffy emerging from the tunnel and the mood was still jubilant. While players stopped for photos before heading out
By SSE Airtricity League reporter Ciaran Callan at Oriel Park
Some thirty-minutes after the full-time celebrations, we saw Michael Duffy emerging from the tunnel and the mood was still jubilant.
While players stopped for photos before heading out to celebrate, Duffy was in big demand when it came to media duties, and why wouldn’t he. Duffy joins the elite table of Gartland, Towell, and Hoban to score the league winning goal for Dundalk FC in this era.
This one, you would feel, was the best of the lot with a 25-yard drive that left Alan Mannus clutching at thin air as it flew into the top right-hand corner.
“Aye I’m delighted with that!” said an ecstatic Duffy following the league clinching win over Shamrock Rovers.
“I would have took any goal, to be honest, a tap in but the way it has turned out I’m delighted that it flew into the top corner.”
As Duffy walked across the pitch speaking, a cluster of fans spotted him singing his name, he gives them a thumbs up in recognition.
The Dundalk fans have stuck with this team through the worst possible of starts to this season. It’s been well documented the 13-point gap they faced some 165 days ago. Michael however, knew this team had the quality to claw it back, not only did they, they are now 15 points to the good. That's a 28-point swing.
"That’s the good thing about this group, we didn’t think that. A lot of teams might of thought that but seeing the gap but we have dug in and we didn’t drop our heads and we knew we could turn it around. It’s a long season from the staff to the players, they've all played a massive part this year.”
The goals came from unusual places tonight but showed that this Dundalk team has plenty of goal threats, not just from Hoban and Duffy, but from all around the park. When Sean Hoare leapt to score the first goal of the evening, it looked as though he was on par with the crossbar to head it past Mannus.
“It was an unbelievable header by Sean, sometimes you just have to put it in the area and he will make it into a good ball.”
The second goal came from Robbie Benson who has had the annus horribilis of injuries this year, a broken leg and a bad rib injury has forced the talented midfielder out of the crucial league and European games this year. The return of ‘Bob’ to his goal-scoring side came at the best possible time.
“And it’s unbelievable for Bob, the work he has done all year….”
And with that, all of a sudden Assistant Coach Ruaidhri Higgins interjects making sure that Michael doesn’t forget him.
“And Higgsy!” Duffy bellows making sure the coach hears his praise!
“The work he has done all year he deserves a goal to get back from such a bad injury and I’m delighted for him.”
Dundalk will have celebrated last night, but the hard work begins again as the quest to clinch a third trophy of the season requires two more hurdles, the first is an in-form Sligo Rovers at a sold-out Showgrounds. The 'Bit o' Red' love their Aviva Stadium day out and will look for another one as Liam Buckley will want to put a sudden halt to the treble aspirations of Dundalk.
“With the run we are on, how could we not be confident, it’s going to be such a tough game down there and it’s always tough down in Sligo especially with it being packed out down there. It’s going to be a huge day for us. We are going to enjoy tonight and get fully focused it’s the biggest game of the season Sunday.”
As Duffy entered the Dundalk Development Centre to join his teammates, you will feel there is still more to come. Moments like tonight are sacred, Dundalk fans must embrace the great times they are having. In 2012 we thought there might not be a club come 2013, look what has happened in seven short years.