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The madness, mayhem and brillance of Hoban the history maker

The Dundalk striker scored on Friday night against Shamrock Rovers and wrote himself into the club’s folklore.

Dundalk's record goalscorer, Patrick Hoban.
Dundalk's record goalscorer, Patrick Hoban.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

TO UNDERSTAND THE story of Patrick Hoban’s record-breaking Dundalk career, the best place to start is with the fireworks.

Three rockets, to be precise.

Patrick McEleney was the one to suffer the consequences. But he was by no means the victim.

“He started it all,” Hoban exclaimed, after his header in last night’s 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers saw him become the club’s record scorer in the League of Ireland with 70 goals.

Him and [Michael] Duffy. They undone the laces on my boots.”

It was towards the end of last season, as Dundalk chased the league and FAI Cup double, that the two Derry boys decided to pull their prank.

“I have my laces done in a certain way and I find it very hard to get them back the way I wanted,” Hoban explained.

So yeah, they (Duffy and McEleney) untied my two boots and tied them up. But they got caught on camera.

“Someone ratted them out and they were caught on CCTV,” Hoban laughed, gleefully continuing the story.

“They were caught in action and it was put on projector before a game, I can’t remember which one. I just said ‘that’s fair enough, lads’ and left it for a while. I got them a few weeks later when they didn’t expect it.

“I got Patrick McEleney’s brand new white trainers, tied them to three rockets and they went into the air. Can I say that? Yeah, there was no health and safety. It was all a bit of craic and a bit of banter. They won’t do it again, though.”

Patrick Hoban celebrates Dundalk striker, Patrick Hoban. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

That is Patrick Hoban: Dundalk’s history maker.

As the Lilywhites players streamed out of Oriel Park following a fine night’s work, there was no shortage of admiration and joy for the man teammate Dane Massey once described – fondly – as a ‘whingebag’, ‘an anti-Christ’, and ‘the narkiest man you will ever meet’.

“That’s probably a fair reflection,” the 27-year-old laughed, with centre back Sean Hoare describing their previous battles when he was making his way in the league with St Patrick’s Athletic during Hoban’s first spell at Oriel Park in 2014.

“He’s a bit mad. He’s selfish, which he has to be as a centre forward. He wouldn’t score the goals he has if he wasn’t, he just loves goals, loves scoring.

He’s so demanding on himself. To play against, he’s so strong, when I played against him a few years ago, he was unreal back then, so strong and could hold it up.

“Since he’s come back [from Oxford United and Mansfield Town] he’s a different animal. He has himself bigger, in better shape. The like of Joey O’Brien and Roberto Lopes, two great centre halves who were finding it tough against him [last night]. He deserves all the credit and will probably go on to double the record now.”

Club captain Brian Gartland, whom Hoban wore the armband for in his absence from the starting XI, described him simply as ‘driven’, while John Mountney added: “You’d bring Pat to the fucking well with ya. You know what you’ll get. He has the heart of a lion and the other side to him, too, he’s a bit of a header and good craic, a good man to have on the night out. He’s a good laugh.”

Ruadhrí Higgins, a teammate in 2014 under Stephen Kenny but now part of the coaching staff assembled to help the club’s transition following his departure to the FAI, insists there was also more to Hoban’s game than just goals.

Even then, he has great leadership qualities. Yeah, he has scored big goals and since he’s come back from England he has been nothing short of sensational. He is a credit to himself, a very good professional off the pitch, I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s a winner.”

A description the man himself fully agrees with.

“To be honest, I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I just love winning. I just want to win anything. I’ll do anything to win.

“Sometimes I can be the biggest moaner, sometimes I can be the best person in the world.

Outside the game I think I’m OK but once I cross the white line I just go into a different mode.”

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David Sneyd

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