Sunday 20 January 2019

Hoban hungry for more goals

Pat Hoban celebrates after scoring Dundalk’s first goal on Friday night.
Pat Hoban celebrates after scoring Dundalk’s first goal on Friday night.

James Rogers

Pat Hoban notched his 15th goal of the season for Dundalk on Friday night but ahead of the visit of Limerick FC to Oriel Park this weekend he insists he is hungry for more.

The 26-year-old now leads the league goalscoring charts by five from the trio of Aaron McEneff, Graham Burke and Graham Cummins and while happy with his return to date, the striker told The Argus after the 5-2 victory away to Shamrock Rovers that he feels he could have had more.

'You can always say you could have a couple more but I suppose I have to be happy with it from where I was,' he said.

'I just have to keep concentrating and keep playing well for the team. Thankfully the goals are coming and a 15th of the season I'm absolutely buzzing about that but I do wish I had a few more.'

Hoban's return means he has now scored a goal every 107 minutes played this season - an amazing achievement considering he has regularly been withdrawn early in some of Dundalk's easier victories, thus denying him the chance of cashing in on late lapses from the opposition.

'It's about 240 minutes that I've missed out on but it's a squad game as well,' he smiled.

'It can be frustrating at times and it's hard to hold your emotions at times but it's a squad game and everyone has to have a turn. I'm buzzing to have won 5-2 here. Not many do that but we absolutely annihilated them in the second half.'

Asked had he a target in mind for the season he grinned, 'I'm not telling you.'

Hoban admitted that Dundalk were far from their best at the start of Friday's game but said he felt they were full value for the win in the end.

'We started sloppy,' he said.

'They came out of the blocks and pressed us really well and we made a lot of mistakes. We weren't at the races at the start but I thought the goal game at a good time for us and it settled us at half-time. I felt we came out like a train then in the second half. Everyone was pressing together and running after the ball. We all worked our socks off and the rewards paid in the end because we capitalised on their mistakes and a 5-2 victory is about right.'

The striker's equaliser was important in the build up to half-time but he was full of praise for Michael Duffy's role in creating the chance for him.

'He just swivelled and put a floater in so I just said I was going to put as much as I possibly could on the header because it was kind of just hanging. I was just glad it went in because we weren't going well at that time. We did have a small period of possession before that but we weren't at the races for a lot of the half and that gave us a bit of a boot up the bum.

'It was massive to go in level at the break then because if you're 1-0 down at half-time it just makes the game harder in the second half but I just felt we settled after we scored the goal and we absolutely over ran them in the end and they just couldn't keep up with us.'

It was ironic on a weekend in which Graham Burke scored for the Republic of Ireland that Hoban's goal saw him surpass the number of league goals scored for Dundalk by Mick Fairclough, who was the last player to be capped for his country while playing for the Lilywhites when he featured in friendly matches against Chile and Trinidad and Tobago back in May 1982.

Hoban's goal came in front of Roy Keane but when asked had he international ambitions, he said there were two others in the dressing room who he felt were more worthy of a call-up by Martin O'Neill.

'Yeah it's a nice honour that there's some talk of that but there's two other boys there in my opinion that could be in the Ireland squad and that's Mickey Duffy and Jamie McGrath.

'I think Jamie McGrath is one of the best talents I've seen in a long time but Mickey has been really outstanding. They're labelling (Kieran) Sadlier and whoever else they mentioned on SoccerRepublic as the next to get a call-up but it's bizarre to me because we have probably the two best players in the country in our dressing room.

'It is what it is but we just have to concentrate on ourselves. That's seven wins in-a-row so we have to keep going from strength to strength and keep picking up the three points.'

Next in the Hobanator's sights are Limerick and while the Shannonsiders have their struggles on and off the pitch at present, Pat insists he won't be taking them for granted come Friday night.

'They've been grinding out some results so it won't easy. You've to always fight for three points and make sure you get them on the board because Cork aren't going away so you've to make sure that you're on it week in and week out,' he said.

The Argus