Ryan O’Kane will have to find room on his sideboard for yet another trophy after being named as the 1903 Dundalk FC Supporters Club Player of the Month for September.
The 19-year-old won the award by a landslide, garnering almost 80% of the votes, and will be presented with the trophy ahead of Friday night’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash with Sligo Rovers at Casey’s Field.
“I’ve won three man of the match awards, the club’s Goal of the Month award, and now the Supporters Club Player of the Month,” he said. “It’s stuff you dream about.”
“If you had told me at the start of the season that I’d be winning a Player of the Month award coming towards the end of the campaign, I would have snapped your hand off!”
After coming off the bench to score his first goal for the club in the FAI Cup win over Wexford in August, the 19-year-old has played his way into Stephen O’Donnell’s team, starting six of the last seven games.
He scored his first goal at Casey’s Field in the 2-1 defeat against St Patrick’s Athletic a fortnight ago and saw another strike chalked off against Finn Harps last week by a very questionable offside decision.
“The gaffer showed me the footage back on Monday,” he said. “The LOITV footage doesn’t show both sides of the Harps backline and when I looked at it, I was two of three yards onside. There were two defenders playing me on – so I was raging,” he smiled.
Last week’s win in Ballybofey kept the Lilywhites on course for a top three finish, which would guarantee European football in 2023.
O’Kane had a brief taste of it last summer when he came off the bench in Dundalk’s UEFA Europa Conference tie against Welsh side Newtown United and he is hungry to experience it again.
“It’d be great to be a part of a team that qualifies and plays in Europe,” he said. “I played for 20 minutes against Newtown last year and it didn’t really feel like a European game. It was during COVID and there was only a handful of fans there.
“It was still a great experience but to play a part in helping us to qualify, and hopefully play next summer, would mean so much more. We have three games left, two of them at home, starting with Sligo Rovers, and we just need to make sure we do our business right.
“We were very good against Sligo when we beat them at home earlier in the season and there wasn’t much between us in the games we played at The Showgrounds. When we went down there a few weeks ago we started off really well but we were very unfortunate to have Darragh Leahy sent off but we still show plenty of character.
“They won the game 2-0 but we obviously ended up getting the three points. I’m sure they probably feel that they owe us one but we’ll be ready for it.”
1903 Dundalk FC Supporters Club Player of the Month Award Winners 2022
February: Steven Bradley; March: Nathan Shepperd; April: Nathan Shepperd; May/June: Mark Connolly; July: Greg Sloggett; August: Nathan Shepperd; September: Ryan O’Kane.