Boyle: It Was Brilliant
A backbone in Dundalk FC’s European success last season, former central defender and current Republic of Ireland international, Andy Boyle, provides his assessment of last season while keeping an eye on the Lilywhites chances in 2017.
Andy, looking back on Europe last year, what stands out for you?
It was a special time for all of us as players in Europe last year. It was a brilliant time and we had some great nights. We had set ourselves the target of getting European football at the start of the campaign in 2016 and at times against FH it looked like we may not get there and then the defeat to BATE but we put in some quality performances in those Champions League qualifiers.
It gave us the opportunity to go and play in the Europa League group. We knew it would be tough to get there but it was amazing and worth all the hard work.
It was difficult at times but such a great experience. Everyone talks about the BATE Borisov game in Tallaght where we beat them 3-0 to get through the tie and guarantee group stage football for us all. That really was amazing and something I’ll never forget. Playing in that stadium and atmosphere in Legia Warsaw is another which was fantastic.
Getting the point in the first group game against AZ Alkmaar was special too. Being the first Irish side to win a point in the group stage. It was a great atmosphere there with all our fans and the manner in which we did it – down to 10 men, a goal down and to equalise like that was incredible. It was a highlight for myself.
Have you been following this season so far?
I have been keeping an eye of course. Whenever I can I look at the results, the scores and whenever there’s a game on TV I don’t miss it. I tune into the highlights as much as I can too.
Dundalk will always have a special place in my heart. I made a lot of friends for life there and it’s a great club. I always look out for how they are doing. It has been tough this year with the way the league has gone but all isn’t lost.
There’s plenty of football to be played and the lads are in good form at the moment so hopefully they can carry that into Europe and the rest of the season, have another great end of year.
It has been a great year for you with the international call ups and you made your debut in March, how was that for you?
Representing your country is something that you dream about when you start playing as a kid. It’s something I have always wanted to do and something which is one of the highlights of my career so far. It was fantastic to do it in Dublin against Iceland in front of my whole family and friends.
It was a very surreal moment for me and something that I am very proud of. I want more of it though so I want to keep going and progress further.
Finally, your time at Preston has been good so far, what is the ambition for the next period?
I knew going over that my position was going to make it difficult for me to get into the squad straight away so I was patient. The team were doing so well so I had to wait for my chance and when I got it I thought I done well enough. I played a good few games towards the end of the season. Got a consistent run of matches going which was great for me and my confidence. I enjoyed it. It was brilliant.
Playing in the Championship is difficult but enjoyable and I have learned a lot in every game. Going forward I want to push on, try get in every week from the start and try get promoted to the Premier League. That’s the aim starting and hopefully we can deliver on that.