Friday 19 April 2019

Connolly keen to repay Dundalk's faith in him by helping club to Cup win

Dundalk striker Dylan Connolly is hoping to claim his first winner’s medal in senior football in Sunday’s FAI Cup final
Dundalk striker Dylan Connolly is hoping to claim his first winner’s medal in senior football in Sunday’s FAI Cup final

It's nowhere near the mind-boggling money involved in the deals which saw the likes of Lukaku and Pogba change clubs.

But the fee which Dundalk paid to sign former Ireland U21 cap Dylan Connolly earlier this year does weigh on his shoulders, making the winger all the more determined to prove his worth, starting with Sunday's FAI Cup final.

Dundalk paid an estimated €40,000, large by League of Ireland standards, to sign Connolly and it has been a burden.

"In League of Ireland terms it was a big fee, I tried not to think about it as I had nothing to do with it, all I could do was play as well as I could and prove what I could do. I have only been here four months so next year is a big season for me," he told The Herald.

Big deal

"And I want to be known more for my football than a transfer fee, I want to win things."

That aim, landing a trophy, is now his driving force, he says. Connolly, a northside Dub now exiled to Co Meath, has been on the scene for a while, despite his tender age of 22. He made his senior debut with Bohemians five years ago, had spells with Shelbourne and Ipswich before a return to Ireland, and Bray, in 2016.

But his medal count is zero. "I haven't won a medal yet so Sunday is a big deal for me, I want to get that first medal on the CV and hopefully that will be Sunday, I need one to start me off and then more success next season," he says, looking at the legends of Dundalk FC which adorn the walls of their Oriel Park home.

"People remember winners and I want to be part of that. You look around somewhere like here (the bar in Oriel Park) and you want to have your photo up there some day with a trophy. I want to be on that wall, I want to be part of a Dundalk team that won things.

"So this is a big deal for me, my first cup final, my first time at the Aviva, it's so different from the league that you have to enjoy it. The lads who have played in the final have told me it's the best day out you can have and you want to be there. I was in the crowd at the final last year and I said to myself that I want to be out there this time next year, and now it's happened."

Attacking players have won recent Cup finals with one moment of magic and Connolly hopes that could be him.

"Finals have been tight over the last few years and it could take a moment of magic from one of the attacking players but I just want us to do the business. With first against second in the league it's always going to be tight, we could cancel each other out, it will probably be a game of cat and mouse, the last two went to extra time but I don't care how we do it," he says.


"Someone is going to pop up and score: Seán Maguire last year, Richie Towell the year before they did't have a great game in the final but they came up with the goods and scored the winner, hopefully it will be us on Sunday.

"I am on board with the rivalry between Cork and Dundalk. There is a bit of rivalry there between us and Shamrock Rovers as they are starting to come strong again, they are like the noisy neighbours, it's part of football. Cork and Dundalk have been the two best teams fighting for everything for the last four years but only one team can win on Sunday."

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