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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020
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Richie Towell: A lot of people think the British football lifestyle is better than it is

The 24-year-old midfielder’s future is uncertain following another match-winning display on Sunday.

Dundalk's Richie Towell celebrates after the game.
Dundalk's Richie Towell celebrates after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DUNDALK’S FAI CUP final match-winner Richie Towell was in jubilant mood after guiding his side to a historic triumph at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Towell’s goal in extra-time ultimately secured his side a deserved 1-0 win over Cork, as they claimed a league and cup double in the process.

“It’s something you dream of,” the 24-year-old midfielder said after the game. “If someone told me this would happen when I started out, I would have bitten their hand off for it. It’s just a magical day.”

By his high standards, Towell had a quiet enough game before scoring the all-important goal, and he admits Cork made life difficult for the league champions.

“Normally, I get at least three or four (chances) every game, Cork were very tight at the back. They played very well and made it frustrating for us, but I was very confident that if I got a chance, I’d put it away.”

Meanwhile, Towell’s girlfriend is heavily pregnant and due to give birth in three weeks’ time, and he says this situation will now influence his footballing decisions in future.

“I’m not number one now. I have to think about the baby and the family. I’m delighted we have a couple of days (to relax) and we’ll hopefully get something sorted out.”

As for next season, Towell is still not totally sure where he’ll be.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s very frustrating. I love Dundalk. I think everybody sees the passion that I have for the club and the fans have the same passion for me and for the team. It’s a recipe for good things.

“I’ve had highs and lows in football. The highs top the lows. I could go over (to Britain) and be unhappy.

“A lot of people think the lifestyle (in British football) is better than it is.

“I really enjoy my football over here — there are excellent players and coaching staff.”

In contrast, Cork City captain John Dunleavy — a former teammate of Towell’s at underage level with Ireland — says he will be at his current club next year.

Dunleavy adds that he was “gutted” at the outcome of Sunday’s big game.

“I’ve just come out of the dressing room and everyone’s devastated. That’s cup finals — there’s a winner and a loser and it’s just a case of picking ourselves up next year and making sure we come back better than ever.

“A lot of the game the teams were cancelling each other out. It’s difficult to take, to lose after extra-time. For the next while, we’ll have to analyse it and see where we can get better.

“There’s always positives to take, we’ve cemented our place as one of the top two teams in the country, but we just couldn’t quite make that next step.”

Gary Rogers celebrates with his daughter Bonnie Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers celebrates with his 15 month old daughter Bonnie. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Meanwhile, Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers was savouring the occasion and asserting that the best team won on the day.

“I felt we dominated the game and were probably the stronger team physically and fitness-wise in extra-time, and thankfully we got the goal we deserved. We just turned around and went straight back out (after normal time had ended). We wanted to get that winner. We weren’t holding back. So we went back out there and got the job done.

“We’d worked all week on crosses. We knew that Cork would pose a serious threat in the air. It’s not always easy to get a clean catch on it on a wet day. You have to punch it and flick it away to make sure the ball stays out of the net.

“The main aim this season was to go and win back-to-back league titles, which hadn’t been done before, but it was great to go and win the final.”

It was Dundalk’s first FAI Cup win since 2002 and the first time the club have done the double since 1988, and Rogers paid tribute to the role played by manager Stephen Kenny in guiding his team to these incredible highs.

“He’s done a phenomenal job. You can’t praise him highly enough. He’s tied himself with some good people and he motivates the players week in week out. We were relentless and got the job done every week. We bring that kind of intensity to training even. He’s managed to sign most of the players on two-year deals and keep that continuity that most teams haven’t done. He’s added a couple of players each season and we’ve a terrific squad.”

With the game at 0-0 for a sustained period, Rogers said he had considered the possibility of a penalty shootout, but expressed relief that it didn’t transpire ultimately.

“I was just glad that it didn’t go to penalties because the best team doesn’t always win on penalties. We were prepared for penalties and had done our homework all week. I was watching penalties this morning. We were practising at training. And that’s as much as you can do. But thankfully, we got the job done in extra time.

“We took the game to Cork, I think we had more possession and more attempts on goal. Cork are a very good side and they were very dangerous threat from set pieces, but I though we dealt well with them.”

With virtually everything achieved domestically, Rogers is now hopeful that Dundalk can make an impact in Europe next season.

“This year, we probably couldn’t have gotten a tougher draw than BATE Borisov. If the draw is kinder to us and we can keep everyone together, I think we’ll give it a real good go. But you just don’t know what will happen. There’s a long way to go before Europe, we’re just enjoying today for now.”

As it happened: Cork City v Dundalk, FAI Cup final>

All the goals from this afternoon’s thrilling Women’s Cup final>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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