Daniel Kelly’s rich vein of form has been recognised by the Soccer Writers of Ireland who have named him as the SSE Airtricity SWI Player of the Month for May.
The 26-year-old played a pivotal role in Dundalk’s run of fine form last month, scoring the winning goal against Finn Harps and St Patrick’s Athletic, while also chipping in with a couple of assists.
Dickie saw off competition from Shamrock Rovers’ Rory Gaffney, who finished second, and Shelbourne’s Jack Moylan, who came third, to win the trophy.
It’s the first time the Dubliner has picked up the gong but it’s the 52nd time overall that a Dundalk player has been named Player of the Month, a tally only equalled by Bohemians, and the second time a Lilywhites attacker has picked it up this season following Steven Bradley’s win in February.
“To be nominated is a good achievement anyway so to win it is great,” he told dundalkfc.com. “We had a lot of players who could have been nominated for the award because we have been doing so well so I’m delighted to get it.
“I was nominated once before when I was at Bohemians and Chris Shield won it,” he smiled, “so it’s nice to win it this time. The team has been brilliant and they’ve made my life a lot easier. I know I scored a few goals but the credit has to go to all of the lads.”
Stephen O’Donnell’s arrival at Oriel Park played a massive part in Kelly’s decision to sign a new contract and he praised the Lilywhites head coach for the impact he has made at the club.
“All of the stuff that went on over the past couple of years wasn’t ideal,” said Kelly. “I didn’t know where I stood until I signed the contract and, thankfully, the lads that have come in like Stevie and Padge Cregg have been brilliant to me. It’s a really good place to be around. It’s a great dressing room and it’s pleasure to be involved.
“The gaffer has put a lot of faith in me. He has played me every week and thankfully I have been playing well. I had big boots to fill as Mickey Duffy played on the left but I’m doing okay at the monument and hopefully, I can keep it up.”
“It’s great for Dickie and it will help him recognise that he is one of the best attacking players in the league,” said O’Donnell. “Because of injury, Daniel might have seen himself as a bit-part player here for a couple of seasons and let the more bigger names that were here take centre stage and be recognised.
“This will give him the confidence now to show that if he keeps doing what he’s doing, and keeps applying himself, he can affect every game he’s playing in and he can be one of the main men in the league.”