David McMillan has been named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers' Association Player of the Month for March. Pat Murphy/SPORTSFILE
Top performer

The League of Ireland's player of the month for March has been announced

Daryl Horgan and Gary Rogers just missed out.

THE BIGGEST CONCERN for defending champions Dundalk ahead of the start of the new Premier Division season appeared to be their failure to bring in a replacement for last year’s top-scorer Pat Hoban, who had departed for Oxford United.

But as it turned out, the Lilywhites already had one in their ranks in the shape of David McMillan — the 26-year-old striker who hit 15 goals in all competitions in 2014, despite limited first-team opportunities.

Six games into the new campaign, Stephen Kenny’s impressive side are leading the way at the summit of the table, and McMillan’s four goals have been vital.

Today, the former St Pat’s, UCD and Sligo Rovers player saw his contribution recognised as he was named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association Player of the Month for March, at the expense of Dundalk team-mates Daryl Horgan (second) and Gary Rogers (third).

“It’s nice to win the award, especially on the back of some pretty good results,” said McMillan. “It has been a great start for me. I didn’t score in my first two games but once the first one went in the others have followed suit. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

McMillan was rewarded for his efforts at the other end of the pitch, but the Dubliner is full of praise for Dundalk’s rearguard. The champions started their title defence with five consecutive clean sheets and only conceded for the first time last weekend.

He said: “The defence has been rock solid. We were unlucky to concede against Limerick at the weekend but other than that we’ve had five clean sheets. Most of the lads at the back feel they could probably have won this award as well so… no, it’s been a great start and hopefully it can continue.

“We scored a lot of goals last year but one thing we wanted to improve on was to try and keep as many clean sheets as we could. People coming up to Dundalk know that they’re going to have a difficult game and that they’re not going to get anything easy.

“They know that to even get a goal against us is difficult, so if teams are coming up thinking that then we’ve already got an upper-hand, I think.”

Robbie Creevy with David McMillan Robbie Creevy of Bohemians keeps tabs on David McMillan. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

In spite of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw away to struggling Limerick, Dundalk are still two points clear of both Cork City and Shamrock Rovers at the top of the table.

Being held at Jackman Park was a setback, McMillan admitted, but tomorrow night’s derby against Drogheda United at Oriel Park (7.45pm) offers the perfect opportunity to put it behind them.

“Obviously it is a setback but we’re still on top and we’ve still started well,” said McMillan. “We can’t just let one bad mistake hamper our confidence or anything like that.

“There’s a big Louth derby on Friday and everyone’s looking forward to it. The best way to get back is to go and win another game. The lads won in the League Cup on Tuesday and hopefully we’ll be able to get another win on Friday.”

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