Drogheda Independent

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Football Focus

Newfield native and ex-Drogheda United & Dundalk player John Flanagan

Best match you've ever watched? The best I've ever had the pleasure to witness was the classic 4-3 between Liverpool and Newcastle in 1996. I remember watching it in the students bar in UCD and even as a United fan I was sucked in and was screaming come the end!

Best game you've played in?

That would have to be the 2002 FAI Cup Final [for Dundalk against Bohemians]. Still remember the buzz and excitement (and nerves) of walking out onto the pitch in front of a packed house.

Carrying my son out for my last ever home game in Oriel Park would come a close second.

Best goal you've ever seen?

This is one of those ones where I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I organised a school trip over to Stoke v Man City a few years back and we were served up two amazing strikes - Peter Crouch with a fabulous volley and Yaya Touré with a rocket from 35 yards.

All-time favourite player?

It would have to be Roy Keane. The ultimate competitor and leader. Just demanded such high standards from all those around him. Yes, there have been much more technical and skilled players, but in my opinion Keane would improve any team he played in.

Best player you've played with?

I have played with lots of excellent players at both Drogheda United and Dundalk, with the likes of Barry Molloy, Andy Myler, Shaun Williams and Garry Haylock standing out.

But the best would probably be Neal Horgan from Cork who I played with for the Irish Universities, He was like Denis Irwin, never had a bad game.

Funniest player you've played with?

Probably a toss-up between Michael Harte and Derek Delany. With these two there was never a dull or quiet moment. Whether it was a sing-song on the bus or pranks at training it was always entertaining.

Favourite sport outside soccer and who you follow?

I love watching rugby and would follow all the Irish provinces, but my favourite sport is now watching my kids playing both GAA for Stabannon and soccer for Albion Rovers. It's how I spend most week nights and weekend mornings now.

Best soccer memory?

There are quite a few contenders - winning the First Division with both Drogheda United and Dundalk and the FAI Cup with Dundalk, but my proudest moment is probably captaining the Irish Universities in China at the World Student Games - something that I will never forget.

Worst soccer memory?

Again, there are a few!! Being let go by Drogheda United after winning promotion as a kid and being relegated with Dundalk on the last day of the season.

But you can't really appreciate the good days unless you have experienced some lows.

If you could change one thing about the League of Ireland...

Still being a regular attendee at League of Ireland matches I feel we have a really good product on offer, with a very good standard of football.

However, I would like to see all the stadiums brought up to a higher standard as this would draw in bigger crowds and in turn give clubs more money to improve squads etc.

Drogheda Independent