Gartland backs Dundalk to dominate again
Dundalk defender Brian Gartland believes this side can go on to dominate the domestic scene again once they can get the league title back in their grasp.
Dundalk effectively ended Cork City's one-year reign as champions by beating City 1-0 in Cork on Friday night.
While the title cannot actually be won this week, a win at home to a struggling Derry City side tomorrow night would all but crown them as champions, as they would be 12 points clear with four games to play and a superior goal difference over Cork.
"I hope we get the job done, that's the focus. If we don't there's a bit of egg on our face and it's probably the biggest collapse ever. But we'd back ourselves and we'll be professional," says Gartland, who predicts a very bright future for the club once they are reinstated as champions.
"I hope so," he said when asked if Dundalk, league winners three years running before Cork won the 2017 title, can become top dogs again.
"It's hard to see what's going to happen in football as it can all turn in a second, but we have a young team here with a lot of young players coming through.
"Sean Hoare was excellent in Cork, Daniel Cleary has been brilliant all year, two excellent young centre-backs, and you have Stephen Folan with plenty of experience.
"We have Jamie McGrath, Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy. Patrick Hoban is still young enough, but is such an experienced player, the same with John Mountney who is so experienced in this league, but he's still in his mid-20s.
"You could go on forever naming players coming through. We have rebuilt the team as it was taken apart so it's sweet to come back and win it, especially after last year, but we need to be professional and go and get the job done," added Gartland, who admitted there was some pleasure in ending Cork's reign while on Cork soil.
"We've had a lot of hard nights down there. They had a run on us there and it's been a few years since we won, but when it comes to the crunch in these big games, I think we've always shown our character," he says.
"We've used our experience and maturity which has got us there in the past. We have people who stand up to be counted all over the park.
"You have to enjoy it with your fans, especially when you do something like this, to get so close on your rival's ground. We've been at each other's throats for whatever number of years it is, and it's healthy competition. But you have to enjoy nights like this."