As he stands 90 minutes away from the ultimate achievement as a footballer, Andy Boyle understandably has no regrets about joining Dundalk, after they’d just survived relegation.
And, having listened to retellings this week of the club’s two most recent title successes in 1991 and 1995 — both won in similarly dramatic fashion to what the locals hope will unfold against Cork City at Oriel Park tomorrow night — the 23-year-old central defender is all too aware of the significance of that decision.
“We’ve been told a few stories,” said Boyle, who should skipper the side, unless club captain Stephen O’Donnell starts. “We know the importance of it.”
It’s been a phoenix-like resurrection for the club to be in their current position having only survived relegation via the play-off in 2012.
“It would be a great turnaround from when we all came into the club two years ago.
“We finished second last year and to go and win a league would be a great achievement,” added Boyle, the club’s players’ player of the year in 2013.
“We knew with Stephen (Kenny) coming here that he wasn’t coming up to make up the numbers. He has a great pedigree in the league. When I spoke to him, I had no doubts about coming up here. I was talking to a few clubs. I spoke to St Pat’s, but I made the right decision. I haven’t regretted it once.”
Despite Cork being a point ahead and Dundalk having drawn their last two games, confidence remains high at Oriel Park.
“We’re very excited. We’re looking forward to it. These are the games you want to play in, with the chance to win a league.
“We’ve prepared well and trained well all week. We’ll be ready to go.”
Boyle insists the added responsibility of being captain isn’t a hindrance.
“It’s something I relish. It’s a great honour to captain the side. But Stephen (O’Donnell) is the captain of the club. Come Friday night, it doesn’t matter who lifts the trophy, it’s all about winning the league.”
And knowing they have to win the match to make that a reality — as opposed to Cork needing just a draw — is equally of no burden to Dundalk, insists Boyle.
“We want three points no matter what.
“We wouldn’t really approach it any other way.”
Despite Dundalk having won the previous two games between the sides this year, Boyle applauds the quality of Cork and the doggedness they’ve shown to bring the title to the wire.
“They’re obviously a good side, they’re top of the table going into the last game. They’ve done very well, they’ve picked up points along the way.
“People seem to forget we were top. I know we’d two draws, but it wasn’t like two defeats.
“It’s a showdown now. We know what we have to do. It would be a great way to do it in front of 5,000.
“It’s a massive day for us.”
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