Towell content to wait for right move
Their dominance this season quickly removed the question mark hanging over Dundalk's ability to retain the Airtricity League title. For the last month, the big issue has surrounded where and when they will win it.
Sealing the deal at the home of Shamrock Rovers tonight would be sweet for fans, players and staff, although ex-Hoops manager Stephen Kenny has stressed that claiming the title last year was closure for the pain that lingered from his rough experience in Dublin 24.
Richie Towell, his star man, feels that he has also proven his point to Rovers boss Pat Fenlon. They worked together in Scotland with Hibernian, a time when Towell was viewed as a defensive option.
"I know I'm a much better player now but I was never a right-back to be honest," said Towell, matter of factly. "I think I've proven that with the goals I've got. But I don't really speak about anyone badly."
It's no surprise that positive thoughts fill his mind at the moment. Life is good for Towell, who has scored 21 league goals from midfield in a remarkable campaign that has raised his profile to another level.
Girlfriend Kelly is due to give birth to their first child in eight weeks' time. Personally and professionally, he is sure that good things lie around the corner.
Towell's confidence might rub some opponents up the wrong way, but it's adopting that mentality which has driven his transformation. Kenny is a huge influence.
"Before each game he goes around us individually and has a little word," Towell explained. "As soon as he is finished, you feel like you're the best player in the league."
That belief has been evident in the drive towards two in a row, and Dundalk also have double aspirations with Towell not fazed by Cork boss John Caulfield saying that the Leesiders were the one team Kenny's men wanted to avoid.
"I think we've beaten them every time we've played them so I don't know where he's getting that from," he shrugs, before correcting the stat. "This year we drew with them at home but we were fatigued straight after playing BATE Borisov. I don't care who we're playing against. We know we're the best team in the league."
Keeping them together will be a challenge. Towell watched his former U-21 team-mates Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and James McCarthy last night and accepts he'll have to leave home to reach that stage.
However, after a souring experience in Cardiff last year, he will not be going on trial again.
"I think I played 50 games last year and I've played around 40 this year so if people want to come and watch me play, they can do that," said the 24-year-old, who was speaking after being named Airtricity SWAI/Player of the Month for September - his fourth monthly award in three seasons.
Towell is aiming his sights higher than League One - the level that Chris Forrester moved to in leaving St Patrick's Athletic for Peterborough in August.
"I could have signed for them (last year)," he said. "I'm not being disrespectful. It was a fresh start for Chris and he's done really well.
"But it's probably very similar to our league here so why move away for the same money when you can be close to your family and play in a team like Dundalk."
But Towell's happiness at home will not get in the way of his ambitions. "If the right opportunity came to be able to help me and my family set up for the future, it would be a no-brainer," he said.
A big winter lies ahead but, before then, there's unfinished business to attend to.
Shamrock Rvs v Dundalk,
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