Friday 23 August 2019

Hoban determined to build on 'dream-come-true' record

Patrick Hoban’s goal against Shamrock Rovers on Friday made him Dundalk’s record goal scorer. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Patrick Hoban’s goal against Shamrock Rovers on Friday made him Dundalk’s record goal scorer. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Patrick Hoban still has ambitions of getting it right across the water, so Dundalk may face a job to hold on to him come the end of the season.

But whatever happens with that, it's now certain that he will leave a legacy at Oriel Park.

Friday night's headed goal in the win over Shamrock Rovers put the Galwegian at the top of the Louth club's all-time league goalscorer list.

The old record stood at 69, set by Joey Donnelly in a career that peaked before the Second World War.

Hoban is now on 70, a source of pride given he has reached that haul in the space of three and a half seasons with the Lilywhites.

"It's dream-come-true stuff and I'm absolutely honoured to do it," said the 27-year-old, who was only made aware of the milestone midway through last season when he racked up the goals after his return home for a second stint with the club following a fruitless spell in England.

Highlights

"I want to set a proper example now and set a goal record for the years to come. At the end of your career, you'll look back at what you've done and this is definitely one of the highlights."

It was particularly satisfying for Hoban to tick the box in a victory of substance - and Robbie Keane was also present to watch him on behalf of Mick McCarthy.

"We'll be keeping an eye on him in the coming weeks," said McCarthy last night.

Dundalk are firmly back in the mix having won four on the spin to move within four points of leaders Rovers with a game in hand.

The return of key players has triggered an upturn in performances and, while the Dundalk camp were reluctant to say so beforehand, Hoban acknowledged it was a must-win match.

With Rovers down a couple of key bodies, Dundalk seized on the opportunity, with the return of Chris Shields and Patrick McEleney making the champions look like their old selves.

"It's not just the games, it's the whole dynamic around training," continued Hoban. "Standards are higher. It was tough, there were weeks where we only had 14-15 training and lads had to be pulled out of training

"The last couple of weeks everyone has been training, and you can see everyone is getting sharper. Personally I feel like I'm getting sharper and maybe the busy schedule is actually helping with that."

Dundalk travelled to Waterford yesterday to prepare for tonight's meeting at the RSC, as matches come thick and fast. For Rovers, there is no respite either. St Patrick's Athletic come to Tallaght for another Dublin derby.

Hoops boss Stephen Bradley is hoping his team will be a different animal with Lee Grace and Trevor Clarke back from suspension, while there were a number of injury problems that complicated his planning.

He had to play Ronan Finn at right-back in Dundalk, and 16-year-old James Furlong was thrust in for a debut at left-full - he was given a headache by the overlapping Seán Gannon, with Bradley unhappy with the tracking back of Dan Carr and Joel Coustrain.

"We didn't do enough to protect him," said Bradley. "But I felt that James' performance was unbelievable and for a 16-year-old to produce that, he was outstanding.

"We were down a few bodies but that's the way it is in the league. What it (fixture schedule) does is give us a chance to bounce back."

Irish Independent

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