McEleney Thrilled With Final Victory
Dundalk claimed their seventh League Cup trophy on Saturday evening with a penalty shootout victory over Derry City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Chris Shields’ decisive sudden death spot kick gave the Lilywhites their first major trophy of the season after the sides couldn’t be separated over 120 minutes of football, playing out another thrilling 2-2 draw.
For Dundalk midfielder Patrick McEleney it was a third EA SPORTS Cup winners medal and the Derry native was delighted to take the trophy back to Dundalk after a year of it residing on Foyleside.
“It was a brilliant win for us on Saturday. We really enjoyed it and it was a tough game. It always is against Derry. We knew it was going to be a difficult task going to the Brandywell to win. Nothing surprised us on the night,” said McEleney.
“They were the holders of the competition and there was a huge home crowd there too, which put more in their favour. We knew that going there so we were prepared for it and we knew we had to be at our best to get the win.
“It went on a bit longer than we had hoped but we were delighted to get over the line and win the first trophy of the season.”
Saturday’s victory marked Dundalk’s third win in the EA SPORTS Cup since 2014 – a season where the trophy acted as a springboard to further success, with the Lilywhites going on win the league.
That is something that McEleney hopes will be the case again and the former Candystripe is confident that they have the squad in place to make it happen.
“It’s just the culture here. We want to win everything and we have had such a tough schedule over the last few weeks, it has been tough on the bodies with the travelling and all of the games that we have played,” he said.
“We have a good squad here with a lot of quality throughout and you can see that with the changes which we have been able to make every week and even during the game on Saturday. It is important to keep everyone fresh, but we have had a good few weeks.
“We just want to keep it going now and it was important that we won on Saturday. We have a trophy in the bag and now we can focus on the rest of the season.”
After a relentless fixture schedule of 12 games in 39 days, the Lilywhite have a comparatively long break this week, with six days off before this Friday’s visit to Waterford.
But the familiar Friday-Monday sequence returns with our trip to the RSC being swiftly followed by the visit of Shamrock Rovers to Oriel Park next Monday night (23 September).
McEleney is fully aware of how important next weekend can be, but he insists that the squad are only focused on Friday’s clash with Waterford and are intent on continuing their fine form.
“It’s going to be a hard game for us and it is a massive weekend ahead. We go to Waterford on Friday and then have Shamrock Rovers on Monday. We know how difficult it will be and we are under no illusions as to what we need to do,” said the 26-year-old.
“We are going to prepare properly for the game on Friday and that is our sole focus. We played them last weekend in the FAI Cup and they put it up to us. They could have taken us out so we know what to expect.
“They had a good win last week and will be looking to turn us over but we are in confident mood, our form in the league has been brilliant so we will go there hoping to get the win and take it in to Monday.”