Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon
IT says something about the impact Loughrea native and Dundalk FC forward Patrick Hoban had on the 2018 League of Ireland season that he is now being discussed as possibly the best striker the league has produced in recent times.
Hoban netted 29 goals as Dundalk raced to the Premier Division title with 10 points to spare over rivals Cork City last year and to say the 27-year-old’s contribution was immense would be an understatement.
His League of Ireland total of 29 goals – 28 of which were remarkably scored in Dundalk victories – surpassed similar tallies posted over a season by the likes of Jason Byrne (25 in 2004), Gary Twigg (22 in 2012), Richie Towell (25 in 2005) and Sean Maguire (20 in 2017). It is exalted company for Hoban to be in.
No wonder, then, the striker, who scored 32 goals in all competitions in 2018, acknowledges his delight with his own performance levels throughout the year but, equally, stresses it was just as important the team achieved their main objective of winning trophies.
However, as Hoban returns to the training grounds after a memorable season which yielded both the Premier Division title and FAI Cup, he sums it up quite succinctly. “It is kind of back to reality now,” he muses. “That means nothing now because we have to go and do it again.”
Although manager Stephen Kenny has departed to take charge of the Republic of Ireland’s underage set-up – before he assumes the role of Republic of Ireland senior manager in two years’ time – Hoban is still confident the team can continue to produce the football that has made them Ireland’s most formidable club outfit over the past decade.
“Stephen will be a loss to us but in football you have to move on very quickly. This happens in football. You lose players, you lose managers, so you just have to get over it very quickly. We still have the desire to go and win trophies this year.
“I suppose, if we don’t start well, a lot of people might be saying that is because Stephen is gone. So, we will want to quieten the doubters early doors and put our own stamp on the league by winning games of football and showing that we can play just as well without him.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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