David McMillan has announced his retirement from football.
The 34-year-old, who made 259 appearances for the club, scoring 95 goals, left the club before Christmas.
McMillan was open to staying involved in the game but speaking on the LOI Central podcast this week, he confirmed that the time had come to hang up the boots and concentrate on his career as an architect at Tea Lane Architects, which he runs with his brother.
“I listened to offers that came in but in the end my gut told me I was finished and my time was up and I’m happy with my decision,” he said.
“It was the right time for me to finish. I felt good about it in terms of moving forward with my life outside of football and doing other things.
“To commit a lot of time to it (football), you’ve got to be really be in it. You’re training so hard. It wasn’t for me this year, the commitment I was willing to make. There were good offers but it wasn’t the right thing for me,” he continued.
“Football always came first with everything else secondary to that. That’s what it had to be. At times I will miss it obviously but, at the moment I’m happy with my decision, very content, that’s the main thing.
“As a kid playing Leinster Senior League in UCD, I would never have dreamed of coming through and doing the things I did in my career. I’ve been exceptionally lucky. I never would have thought I’d have the ability to go as far as I did.”
McMillan joined Dundalk from Sligo Rovers ahead of the 2014 season and went on to become a true Lilywhites legend, helping the club win three consecutive SSE Airtricity League titles, an FAI Cup, and two EA SPORTS League Cups.
In a career full of glorious moments at Dundalk, the one that will linger most in the memory was that famous night in 2016 when he bagged a brace in the 3-0 win over BATE Borisov at Tallaght Stadium as Stephen Kenny’s side booked their place in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
After a two-year spell in Scotland, McMillan returned ‘home’ in the summer of 2020 and scored another vital European goal against Inter Club in Andorra as Dundalk took the first steps to another appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stages.
Another European brace, this time against Rapid Vienna in Austria, saw him equal Glen Crowe’s League of Ireland European goals record of 11 goals in November 2020.
He followed that up with another unforgettable display a month later, becoming just the third player ever to score an FAI Cup final hat-trick as Dundalk beat Shamrock Rovers 4-2 to lift the famous trophy at the Aviva Stadium. No Dundalk player has scored more than the 15 he has chalked up in the competition.
More European goals followed against Newtown and Levadia Tallinn in 2021, meaning that his tally of 14 – a club and League of Ireland record – has only ever been bettered by two Irishmen, Roy and Robbie Keane.
It was fitting that McMillan marked his final appearance in a Dundalk shirt at Oriel Park with a goal; a stunning free-kick in a 2-1 win against Bohemians that guaranteed the club’s return to Europe in 2023.
One of the greatest strikers to ever pull on a Dundalk shirt, David leaves us with memories that will live forever and we look forward to seeing him back at Oriel Park in the future.