Dundalk striker Pat Hoban looks to be on his way out of the club with a move to English League Two outfit Oxford Utd in the pipeline.
In an interview in this week’s Argus, last season’s top scorer with 20 league goals admitted that he had been invited over to the Kassam Stadium, where he is expected to be offered a deal by manager Michael Appleton in the coming days.
In the interview Hoban – who won the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month award for October – said he felt he had to leave Irish football to pursue loftier ambitions of making a name for himself in the higher ranks of English football.
“I’ve made so many friends in Dundalk but this is a great opportunity for me to do well in England and hopefully shoot up the leagues.
“I need to take a chance and the offer of a one-and-a-half to two year contract is a good one.
“Dundalk offered me a great deal too, probably the best that they could, but it’s not about the money for me.
“I feel I have to go to England and prove myself because it’s obvious that the sides in League One or the Championship don’t rate the Irish league enough and I don’t know why that is,” he said.
The full interview can be read in this week’s Argus.
The Dundalk FC season review book will go on sale on Saturday November 29th.
The 264 page full colour publication has been put together by journalist Gavin McLaughlin of The Dundalk Democrat, photographer Ciaran Culligan and local design studio Grandson.
Featuring photos, reports and stats from every game of the 2014 campaign, the book – entitled ‘Dundalk FC Champ10ns Season Review 2014’ will be available from the Dundalk FC stand in the Marshes Shopping Centre and from www.dundalkfc.com
It will cost €15 and would make an excellent Christmas gift for any Lilywhites fan.
Following on from the news earlier today that club captain Stephen O’Donnell had committed to the club for the next two seasons, Dundalk FC have announced that full back Sean Gannon has also committed to the cause for next season.
The 23-year-old joined the Lilywhites a year ago from St Patrick’s Athletic and was a near ever present as Stephen Kenny’s side lifted the league title, playing 46 times and scoring twice.
“I’m delighted, absolutely chuffed to be back and that the deal is sorted now so I am very much looking forward to another very good season here with Dundalk.
“It’s massive for the club that Stephen O’Donnell re-signed, as we all know how good he is both on and off the pitch and I think it is very important for everyone at the club that the skipper has re-signed.
“We all seen how good it was to play in Europe this season when we won three out of four games, including that big win away in Croatia. Next year it will a step-up again but we are confident that we can give it a good go. I think we have proved that we can match European teams and we will be going into them games looking forward to it.”
Dundalk FC have re-signed club captain Stephen O’Donnell on a two year deal this afternoon.
The 28-year-old, who missed the bulk of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury before returning to the side to score in the league decider against Cork City, is now likely to remain at the club for at least four years after initially signing for Stephen Kenny’s side in 2012.
Speaking to dundalkfc.com after putting pen to paper, the skipper was understandably delighted to have secured his new contract and is looking forward to getting back playing.
“Absolutely delighted to get things sorted and staying. Obviously I can’t wait to get playing again now. The season probably came at the wrong time for me in the end but delighted with how it played out and looking forward to the new season.
“A lot to look forward to next season with the Champions League as well. The focus will be on the league of course and we will have months before that to prepare and all but it is something to look forward too. The lads who played the 50 games or so have got their rest. I have been quite fresh and just looking forward to get going again.”
The goalkeeper joined the Lilywhites ahead of the 2014 campaign from neighbours Drogheda Utd after a successful two year spell at the club. Before that he lined out for Bray Wanderers and Monaghan United.
While largely second fiddle to Peter Cherrie last season, he still picked up a league winners medal and a second EA Sports Cup medal in September having started the final against Shamrock Rovers. He was also between the sticks at the Stadion Poljud when Stephen Kenny’s men went to Hajduk Split and won 2-1 with the Italian native a key part of the performance.
The 28 year-old is now likely to compete with new signing Gary Rogers for the number one jersey next season.
Dundalk FC this afternoon completed the signing of goalkeeper Gary Rogers from Sligo Rovers.
The 33-year-old arrives at Oriel Park in place of Peter Cherrie, who has departed the Lilywhites after five and a half seasons.
Rogers joins Dundalk after a successful three season spell with Sligo Rovers where he was an integral part of the side which claimed domestic glory in the FAI Cup, the Setanta Cup, beating Dundalk in the 2014 final, and the league title in 2012.
The Bohermeen native brings a wealth of experience to the club having lined out for St Patrick’s Athletic, Galway United, Bray Wanderers, St. Francis, Dublin City and Drogheda United, where he picked up his first FAI Cup medal in 2005.
Rogers is manager Stephen Kenny’s first new signing of the close season as preparations begin for the new season.
Speaking to dundalkfc.com after putting pen to paper, the ‘keeper was understandably pleased to clinch the deal and is looking forward to his new venture at Oriel Park calling it a ‘great honour’.
“It’s great. It really is. To sign for the league champions it’s a great honour to come here. It’s great that Stephen wanted me to come over so I’m delighted to be here. It’s relatively a local club for me. I’m not too far away and I have some family who live around here so it’s a marvellous opportunity. Looking forward to it.
“I had 3 great years at Sligo Rovers. I was lucky enough to win a trophy in each season at the club and I enjoyed my time there. The opportunity to turn Dundalk at this time was too good to turn down and it didn’t take me long to decide.”
Rogers is hoping that his experience will benefit the club and has set his sights on success in Europe.
“Experience is always important at every club. I was lucky enough to play in Europe over the years and hopefully that can help next year. Europe will be a major target for the club next season and possibly qualify for the group stages. Getting through one round of the competition would be huge for the club and it guarantees us at least 3 more games. That’s definitely a major target along with retaining the league title.
“It has to be our focus. It’s very difficult to do – not a lot of teams do it and it’s the sign of a really good team if we can do that.”
It was a weekend of awards for Dundalk FC with three players scooping individual honours.
On Sunday, Pat Hoban was named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for October.
That followed on from Stephen Kenny being named Manager of the Year and Daryl Horgan being selected as Young Player of the Year at the PFAI awards in Dublin on Friday night.
Both Hoban and Richie Towell had also been nominated for the Player of the Year award but missed out to Christy Fagan of St Patrick’s Athletic.
The Player of the Month award was the second claimed by Hoban this season.
An injury to David McMillan left the 23-year-old to shoulder the burden of leading the line for the Oriel Park outfit and he did so with a series of excellent performances in the title run-in.
Hoban scored a brace against Athlone Town and the equaliser against Bray Wanderers as Dundalk won the league title.
The striker admits the month could not have gone better but he did not anticipate winning the player of the month award.
“I didn’t really expect it,” said Hoban. “I got a call from Stephen Kenny who told me I won the award and I was absolutely delighted.
“It was a great month, a very important month for us to win the league and I’m glad I done well in it.
“The feeling is hard to describe but just to get over the line and win my first trophy and a lot of lads’ first trophy was just great.
“It was a great team effort. We set our sights out at the start of the year to win the league and to achieve that is brilliant.”
Hoban reckons the title showdown against Cork City at Oriel Park on the final day was the most intense game he has ever played in.
“Oh yeah, it was quite intense going out onto the pitch for the first time,” he added.
“Once it kicked off, I personally felt comfortable in the game and felt relaxed. I don’t know how the other lads felt.”
In winning the award, Hoban saw off competition from Dundalk team-mate Stephen O’Donnell, who finished second. St Pat’s star Conan Byrne and Galway’s Ryan Manning were joint third.
Umbro have published the first official pictures of the new Dundalk FC home kit for the 2015 campaign.
The kit will be black with grey stripes across it, with the logo of sponsors Fyffes modified slightly in order for it to fit in with the design.
The jersey will also feature a star above the club crest, commemorating Dundalk’s 10 league title triumphs.
The new kit will replace last season’s yellow and blue jersey and will go on sale on Friday November 14th.
Dundalk FC have announced that both Brian Gartland and Kurtis Byrne have re-signed for the club ahead of the 2015 campaign.
The pair join Dane Massey, Andy Boyle, Chris Shields, David McMillan and Darren Meenan in committing themselves to Oriel Park for next season.
Gartland, who joined the club from Portadown in the summer of 2013, scored an impressive 11 goals in all competitions last season, including the second in the 2-0 victory over Cork City on the final day of the season that clinched the league title.
It will be Byrne’s third straight season at the club. He featured 44 times last season, scoring 10 goals including the winner over Hajduk Split in the Europa League in Croatia last summer.