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Burns Open to Repeat Peter Punch for Right Result

First Team News
// 29 Feb 2012

Dundalk FC centre-half Liam Burns says that he would happily take another punch from Peter Cherrie in Gortakeegan, if it ended with the right result this time.

Cherrie and Burns collided in the first-half of a League Cup semi-final at the ground in August 2010, with the Belfast-born defender knocked unconscious and taken to hospital.

That game ended in defeat as Monaghan United narrowly made it through to the decider against Sligo Rovers thanks to a late Cathal O’Connor strike.

Last season and Monaghan knocked their neighbours out of the same competition, with the Lilywhites winless on their last seven visits to the Ulster venue.

But for Burns, he won’t mind if some history repeats itself on Friday, but only if it comes with three points.

“The last time I was there, Peter punched me for no reason. I don’t know what I did on him!” the 33-year-old told dundalkfc.com.

“It was quite a bad one. He knocked me out for a couple of seconds, and for the next couple of days it was quite sore.

“That’s just part and parcel of being a centre-half.

“As long as we get the right result on Friday night, I won’t mind taking another one of those.

“I think we have got to be confident going into every game.

“As Seán (McCaffrey) has said, we’ll be going out to win every game.

“Personally, and I think all the lads are the same – I don’t fear anyone. We’ll respect teams but we won’t fear them, and we’ll give anyone a game on our day.

“We won’t worry about past results. It’s up to the players and what they do.

“We have just got to concentrate on what we do, and make sure that we prepare ourselves properly, both mentally and physically.

“It’s massive to get off to a good start, but it’s the same for every team in the league.

“I think it’s particularly important for us, though, because we’re a young squad, and confidence grows with results.”

Burns made 62 appearances for Dundalk over two seasons before spending last term at Bohemians, and having now moved into the border town, he says he has got on well since returning.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said.

“Seán, Darius (Kierans) and John (Whyte) are bringing different ideas to training.

“Obviously, I’m the oldest player in the team, and I’ve been trying to use my experience in training.

“It has been very good so far.

Burns scored Dundalk’s final goal of pre-season as he secured a 2-0 victory over Newry City at The Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon

“Pre-season has gone quite well, from a personal point of view. It has been tough, as pre-season is, and physically the team looks good.

“If you look last year at Bohemians, there were quite a few young players but also there were about six or seven experienced players, the likes of myself and Owen Heary.

“If you look at this season, it’s probably just me that has a lot of experience.

“But a few of the players have good experience of the league.

“I think we could use it as an advantage, having so many young players. We’ll have plenty of pace and energy around the pitch, which will be useful to us.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I said this last year – my role has maybe changed now, being at the age I am and the experience I have, hopefully I can pass on whatever I’ve learned to the young lads and hopefully they can go on and make a career for themselves.”

Last week, Chris Shields was announced as the club captain, a role which Burns held in 2010.

But the experienced defender sees the manager’s thinking by handing the armband to the 21-year-old midfielder, while 19-year-old midfielder Stephen McDonnell was chosen as vice-captain.

“Seán pulled me aside and told me, and I have no problem with it,” Liam said.

“Whether I’ve got the armband or not, it’s not really going to change me as a player or person. I’ll always be vocal on the pitch and in the dressing room, and that won’t change.

“Maybe, it will give that bit more responsibility to Chris and Stevie.

“Dundalk is a big club with big ambitions and a big fan base, and they’ll see it as an honour to be captain.

“If that can bring them on a few more percent, that will be good for the team. But, from my point of view, it doesn’t bother me – all I want to do is go out and give my best for the club.”

Dundalk won four of their five pre-season friendlies, keeping four clean-sheets along the way.

But Burns knows: “That will count for nothing if we don’t get a result on Friday.

“People can say we haven’t played the strongest teams in pre-season. But if you look at it, the teams from the north are three-quarters way through their season and two of them are the top two in their league.

“But it doesn’t matter who you play or what results you get – it’s all about the first game of the season.”