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'He'd be proud' - Andy Myler guides UCD to promotion a day after burying his father

The manager was speaking in the aftermath of his side’s big win over Waterford on Friday.

UCD manager Andy Myler pictured during Friday's promotion-relegation playoff.
UCD manager Andy Myler pictured during Friday's promotion-relegation playoff.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE LEGENDARY Italian manager Arrigo Sacchi once famously was quoted as saying that football is “the most important of the unimportant things in life,” and Andy Myler will undoubtedly have been able to relate to this sentiment on Friday night.

The former Shamrock Rovers player, who took charge of UCD in 2019, experienced what was undoubtedly the biggest and best moment of his short managerial career thus far, as he oversaw the Students’ 2-1 victory over Waterford in the promotion-relegation playoff final.

Yet Myler’s joy at this achievement was tinged with sadness. His father passed away recently, with the funeral taking place on the eve of the game and understandably, his involvement in the build-up was limited.

“I’ve relied on my staff most weeks, but I’ve relied on other people more this week,” he said afterwards. “The team was there tonight. The result you saw tonight was down to them and the group of young men that were on the pitch, absolutely fantastic.

“I was joking with the family earlier on in the week, my dad was already doing his work as he was getting managers sacked down in Waterford and everything else, and there seemed to be chaos. But listen, I’m joking when I say that.

“I’m unbelievably proud. I think our family needed that after the week that was in it. They hardly ever go to games but they’re all here tonight, all eight brothers and sisters. They’ll go home smiling and that’s just as important [as the win].

“If there’s anybody I wanted to celebrate with tonight, it’s probably them. They’ll be delighted. I know my dad would be delighted.”

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of Myler Sr, who played a big part in influencing his son’s love of football.

“He was a Rovers season ticket holder. I’ve been going to League of Ireland games since I could walk, I was in Milltown with him and whatever else. He was just a massive, massive football fan and he’d be proud tonight.”

Myler also paid tribute to his young team, after they recovered from the setback of going a goal down early to secure a win that was thoroughly deserved on the balance of play.

“[Waterford] went very direct and it worked for them early on. But we settled into it and got two good goals. Once we were in front we were always dangerous and we always looked like we might get a third. We were far more likely to get a [second-half] goal than Waterford were on the night.

“They’ve grown and grown and grown and grown, as the season goes on. They’re a young team so they needed that time for them to grow up a little bit and they did. They were mature in the way they saw the game out.”

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UCD are different from any other League of Ireland side, as they have a policy of relying solely on students to fill their squad.

However, Myler says the majority of the team will still be around next year, as they prepare for life in the Premier Division for the first time since their relegation in 2019.

“I’ll keep most of them, to be honest. The cycle will keep most of them here. There are a few lads who finish degrees next year, a bit of interest in a lot of them as well, but they have their heads screwed on. They’re not going anywhere over the winter. They’ll still be with us over the winter.

“One or two have finished. Paul Doyle finishes his physio degree, Evan Osam finishes his degree. But as you know, that’s the churn that happens in UCD. There are other fellas that maybe nobody has seen yet that we’ve seen that are ready to do their stuff. They’ll get better as well.

“The last time the guys went up, they lost six or seven at the same time. I don’t think we’re facing into that, but we’ll still keep on.

“So we want to go up to the Premier and we want to be competitive. We want to play our football and we want to showcase the young lads there because ultimately, we’re a club that are sending players somewhere rather than keeping them.”

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Paul Fennessy

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