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David McMillan: ‘If the season starts and I don’t have a club, that’s the end of it’


David McMillan is unsure of his plans ahead of the new League of Ireland season. Photo: Sportsfile

David McMillan is unsure of his plans ahead of the new League of Ireland season. Photo: Sportsfile

David McMillan is unsure of his plans ahead of the new League of Ireland season. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Dundalk striker David McMillan admits if he hasn’t found a new club by February 17, he will likely hang up his boots.

Dundalk decided against renewing the 34-year-old’s contract for 2023, and despite offers from clubs on both sides of the border, he remains a free agent ahead of the new League of Ireland season, which begins in three weeks.

McMillan insists any potential offer would have to be strong in both financial and football terms, if he was to be tempted away from his company, Tea Lane Architects.

“If the season starts and I don’t have a club, then that’s probably the end of it,” said McMillan, speaking at the Collingwood Cup draw.

“I've half a mind to retire and half a mind to see what’s out there. No decisions have been made. I don’t feel under pressure to make one. If I finish playing, I finish playing. If I want to keep playing Leinster Senior League, I might.

“There have been some interesting offers, but nothing that’s quite pulled me away from the other work that I’m doing.”

While McMillan is confident he has another season left in him, he says he’d have no regrets if he was to retire after 15 seasons in the game. He also intends to complete his coaching badges at some point.

“The legs are good. If I play another season, I genuinely feel I’d be well able for it and I’d be able to contribute to any team. But if I finish now, I’d be happy with what I’ve done in my career.

“How could I have regrets? It’s been amazing. I’ve been exceptionally lucky. To have played in the SPL and the top level here, is probably beyond what I would’ve expected to achieve. I’d be perfectly happy if I finished up.”

The Dubliner spent seven seasons across two spells with the Lilywhites and established himself as a club legend, helping the club lift three League of Ireland titles and two FAI Cups. He also scored crucial goals as the Louth club qualified for the 2016 Europa League group stages under Stephen Kenny, and remains the league’s highest scorer in Europe with 14.

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He says that memorable European journey in 2016 is a standout memory, as well as his stunning hat-trick against Shamrock Rovers in the 2020 FAI Cup final.

“It’s a real one-off to play at that level (Europe),” said McMillan, who was twice named on the PFAI Team of the Year.

“That was the pinnacle. I’m sure the record will be broken soon. To score so many big goals and contribute to that success, I’ll look back on that fondly.”

Having played under Kenny for four seasons at Dundalk, McMillan knows the current Ireland boss better than most and is looking forward to the Euro 2024 campaign kicking off against France in March.

“I think it’s time to back Stephen and give him the chance to go at it,” added McMillan, who also had spells with St Patrick’s Athletic, Sligo Rovers and St Johnstone.

“Maybe that pressure off might help us pull off some good results. Evan (Ferguson) will be a huge plus for the Irish team. We’ve had a few young lads like Troy (Parrott) and Michael (Obafemi). It would be good to see one of them make a big impact. Maybe Evan can do that for Ireland.”

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