Andy Boyle will be presented with the Dundalk FC 2021 Player of the Year award before Friday night’s final SSE Airtricity League game of the campaign against Derry City at Oriel Park.

The Lilywhites captain received the most votes from his fellow squad members, edging out midfielder Sam Stanton who finished as runner-up.

Described as a “sensational character and player” by head coach Vinny Perth, Boyle has been one of Dundalk’s most consistent players this season, playing in 34 of the club’s 35 league games to date.

“It’s a nice award to get and for it to be voted for by my peers makes it even more special,” said Boyle. “It hasn’t been the season we wanted but it’s a nice individual honour to get.

“I feel I’ve been consistent enough. Early in the year, I was playing with an injury which wasn’t ideal as I wasn’t able to train fully but I’m happy with how I’ve done and I just want us to finish off now with a win against Derry.”

Friday night’s game is the first since new owners Andy Connolly, Sean O’Connor and Alan Clarke took charge of the club last week and Boyle said he was delighted that months of speculation about the club’s future had finally been put to bed.

“At times it felt like five seasons in one,” he said. “During the year we didn’t really know what was what so it’s nice to have some clarity now.

“As a player, you try and be as professional as possible but there was so much noise that eventually it did take effect. You have younger lads coming to you and asking what’s happening and even though you want to reassure them, it’s difficult to do when you have nothing to tell them.

“I was here when Andy Connolly was the owner in the past and even though I haven’t met Sean and Alan yet, it’s nice to have some familiar faces around. I think everybody was waiting for this to come to fruition and I’m sure we’ll be close to a full house on Friday so, hopefully, we can mark the occasion with a win.

“Having the fans back in has made a hell of a difference. Our record speaks for itself at Oriel Park and we can go out and enjoy the game on Friday night. There is a lot of good vibes around the place and, as I said, we want to end on a high.”

While Friday night’s clash with the Candystripes will signal the beginning of a new era, it will also mark the end of a special one in the club’s history as Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney bid farewell to Oriel Park.

“Both of them are unbelievable players and they will be a huge loss, not only on the pitch but around the place,” said Boyle.

“The goal that Fats scored against Vitesse in the summer sums up what he can do with a ball at his feet. You don’t see many players like him at any level.

“The way he has conducted himself since the news broke in the summer that he was leaving has been top class. He’s been a great professional and even though the fans haven’t been able to see him on the pitch because of the injury, he has been brilliant around the place and is a credit to himself.

“Mickey signed for Dundalk when I was away in England but even watching him from afar, you could see how good he was going to be.

“His goals and assists record is incredible he single-handedly won us games at times. He’s another player who has been very consistent during difficult times this season.

“They are two great characters and I’d like to wish them all of the best going forward because they’ve been brilliant for this club and I hope they get the send-off they deserve from our fans on Friday night.”