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Cleary pleased to finish ‘great season’ on a high

First Team News
// 12 Nov 2019

Dundalk centre back Daniel Cleary was delighted to end the season on a high, as the Lilywhites lifted the Unite the Union Champions Cup and take their trophy tally for the season to four.

A 6-0 routing of Linfield saw the Lilywhites add the inaugural cross-border trophy to the SSE Airtricity League, EA Sports Cup and President’s Cup won earlier in the season.

The 23-year-old has impressed hugely in his second season for the Lilywhites but, after the heartbreak of a penalty shootout defeat in the FAI Cup final – in which he had a penalty saved – the Dubliner has very pleased to end the season on a winning note.

“Yeah it was a bit of a downer after the cup final defeat last week, but I think we picked ourselves up during the week and we bounced back this weekend,” said Cleary, speaking after the game.

“It’s nice to finish off on a win and it was important to win over the two games. It’s another cup and another medal in the bag, so we’re happy to win it and I think it’s important that we had the win before we go off for a break.

“From the off I thought we were excellent tonight. We were a bit astray with a few passes, but I think all round it was a great performance and everyone looked sharp.”

Cleary has now won six trophies in two seasons at Dundalk, having joined the Lilywhites at the start of last year’s double-winning campaign.

The former Liverpool academy player, who was named Player of the Month for August, reflected on a ‘great’ season that saw the Lilywhites go on a 31-game unbeaten run domestically.

Having trailed then-league leaders Shamrock Rovers by 13 points in April, Cleary feels the turnaround since is testament to the hard work put in by everyone throughout the squad and back-room team.

“Obviously it’s been a great season, from where we were after the first 10 games and the turnaround we had. Everyone has dug deep. Every single player in the squad has played their part,” he said.

“It’s not just down to one or two players. Every single player has dug in. I think it’s a credit to everyone, players and staff. I think we’ve all dug deep and we’ve got the rewards for it.”