Greg Bolger knows Dundalk supporters’ frustration after they failed to see the best of him last season, with the young midfielder “laughing” off the chants that came his way on his return to Oriel Park last Friday night.
The 23-year-old, now at Saint Patrick’s Athletic, endured a difficult start to his time at Dundalk due to injury, missing nine of the opening 11 league games as well as the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final against Cliftonville.
In total, he played 34 of the Lilywhites’ 50 competitive games, but with the Wexford native not fully fit and unable to rediscover the form he had shown at UCD, he is aware of why fans of the Louth club are annoyed.
Bolger, though, was unconcerned by the colourful chants aimed at him, as St. Pat’s took maximum points back to the capital thanks to a 2-0 win.
“I was buzzing off it,” Greg told dundalkfc.com.
“I won’t repeat what they said. But it was a bit of banter. Hopefully, they’re not too serious!
“I was laughing when I heard it. It’s all good.
“Last year – I don’t want to be making excuses – I wasn’t fully fit at times and I was playing with injuries.
“Obviously, people don’t know that – some do, some don’t – and everyone has their own opinion.
“It’s just unfortunate (for Dundalk) that I’m at Pat’s now and I’m feeling as fit as I can.
“Touch wood, I can stay like this. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously, last year, we had a lot of competitions and we had a small squad, and players were playing with injuries.
“At Pat’s now, we have cover for every position, so I’ll have to be on my toes if I want to stay in the team. I’ll have to keep performing.”
Bolger was also signed by current Saints boss Liam Buckley for Sporting Fingal last year, before their collapse last February saw the 2009 First Division winner complete a swift switch to Dundalk.
And the midfielder, who is “grateful” for the faith the ex-Racing de Santander forward has shown in him, has eased into life at Richmond Park.
“Liam always said to me when Fingal were going that if he got a club he would get back to me,” Greg said, “and get me on board.
“He was true to his word, so I’m grateful for that.
“I’ve settled in well.
“I’m enjoying it. The training is good.
“I got booked in the Setanta Cup final last year with Dundalk and the yellow was carried on so I was suspended for the first game at Cliftonville.
“Then I had eight yellows from last year carried on, so I was suspended for the first game at home to Bray.
“I’m delighted to be back in the team and hopefully I’ll have a good season.”
Bolger played a part in both goals on Friday, finding Dean Kelly and Seán O’Connor who in turn set up Stephen O’Flynn and John Russell for the strikes that saw the Saints coast to victory.
“It was a good win,” Greg said.
“I’m delighted with the three points. That’s six points from two games, and we have Monaghan at home next week. No disrespect to Monaghan but it’s a game I think we should be winning with the panel we have.
“We’ll see where it goes then with nine points from three games.
“We’re not looking too far beyond Monaghan, but if we can get three points there we’ll be buzzing.”
Asked what the squad’s expectations are for the season ahead, Bolger concluded: “We don’t know; we know we have a talented group.
“There is cover for every position.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in or who’s out of the team – I came in for Mark Rossiter, and I’m sure there’ll be times that me or him will be coming out, or John Russell could be out, or whatever.
“There is quality all around the squad. We’re not talking too much. We’re just taking it game-by-game.
“But I think with the players we have, there is no reason why we can’t be up there challenging Rovers and Sligo Rovers.”
Photographs thanks to www.sportsfile.com.