Mental strength cut out 'dodgy moments' -- Clarke
GOALKEEPER of the Year Brendan Clarke believes that improved mental strength contributed to his title-winning heroics for St Patrick's Athletic in 2013.
Clarke was rewarded for his contribution to the Saints' success by scooping the Airtricity/SWAI Goalkeeper of the Year award last Friday, following from his nomination in the PFAI Team of the Year.
The 28-year-old had a few difficult moments at the beginning of the season but bounced back to produce a string of consistent displays on the run-in.
"I had a couple of dodgy moments but went away and had a think," said Clarke. "The way I approach games now is that if anything happens, don't let it fall on your doorstep. It seemed to work for four or five games and it just became a habit.
"If I'm not making errors, it's good for the team. You have to forget about things and get over things as the next game comes around pretty quickly. I would like to think I haven't made the same mistake twice, and if keep that going I'll be doing alright."
After Liam Buckley's impressive winter recruitment, notably Irish international Keith Fahey, Clarke is looking forward to going in search of back-to-back league titles.
"With the signings it's really bolstered the squad and we'll be able to deal with European games and midweek games," he said. "The main thing is not to dwell on being champions. The opening day we have the flag, but last season is gone and everyone is in gear to go for 2014."
Elsewhere, last year's runners-up Dundalk are moving closer to adding ex-Derry City midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins to their squad. However, fringe player Tiernan Mulvenna has taken up the offer of a contract from Irish League side Glenavon.
Cork City have parted company with striker Danny Furlong.