Famous five back together as Lilywhites beat the Lilywhites!
Dundalk manager Vinny Perth put the band back together on Friday morning when his squad played an 11 v 11 training game at Oriel Park.
2016 was the last time Dundalk supporters would have seen the famous backline of Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, and Massey playing alongside each other but they were back in tandem for the ‘home’ team who won 1-0 thanks to a late Lido Lotefa strike.
The famous five lined up for a picture before the game and speaking to dundalkfc.com, Boyle, who left Oriel Park at the end of the 2016 campaign before returning last summer, said it was a nice moment.
“It’s the first time since I came back to the club last year that we have all played together,” he said. “It was just like the old times and we even kept a clean sheet and won the game so we’re happy!”
The 60-minute match showcased the depth of the Dundalk squad. Twenty-two players started while three substitutes also came on and Boyle said the group was the strongest he had seen in his two spells at the club.
“I think you can see the quality in the squad. There were two teams out there today that could challenge for the league title. There are genuinely two players for every position and it’s going to be very competitive trying to get into the team when the league comes back.”
The lone goal came in the dying minutes when Lido Lotefa poked home from close-range after some lovely interplay between Sean Gannon and Stefan Colovic on the right-wing.
The Serbian, who has only featured in one league game for the club since his arrival back in March, also had a goal disallowed in the first half and Boyle said he was impressed by the former Proleter Novi Sad winger.
“He’s a very tidy player and he’s very clever. You can see that he picks up great positions and he can play in any position across the front three. He has a lovely left foot which the fans will love and he’ll be a big asset to us.
“The break has given the likes of Stefan and Nathan Oduwa a bit more time around the place where they can get to know the lads and what way we play. Nathan is a powerful lad as well so we have real quality across the front positions.”
The Liywhites will continue their preparation for the resumption of the league with another friendly against Derry City next Friday and with just 13 league games on the itinerary, Boyle said it was important that they were at full throttle come July 31st.
“It’s about getting the rustiness out now,” he said. “You can do as much training and running as you want but you can’t beat the fitness and sharpness that you get from competitive games like today.
“We have something to work towards now,” he added. “When we first came back, everything was up in the air and we didn’t know what shape or form the league would take but we’re back at the end of the month so it’s very important that the games we play are competitive now.”