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Former Dundalk star Richie Towell ready to fulfil childhood dream this weekend

The on-loan Brighton midfielder hopes to end an enjoyable season on a winning note with Rotherham United.

Rotherham United v Scunthorpe United - Sky Bet League One Play Off Semi Final:Second Leg Richie Towell has spent the season on loan at Rotherham United from Brighton & Hove Albion. Source: Getty Images

HIS CAREER IN England took some time to get up and running, but this weekend Richie Towell will experience something he dreamt of as a kid.

The attacking midfielder, who was the star of Dundalk’s successful SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign in 2015, is set to play at Wembley on Sunday in the League One play-off final.

Towell will be part of the Rotherham United side bidding for a place in the Championship next season at the expense of Shrewsbury Town. Having been relegated from the second tier of English football last summer, Rotherham have an opportunity to make a swift return after finishing fourth in League One in the 2017-18 campaign.

Towell joined Brighton & Hove Albion in January 2016 but was restricted to just five first-team appearances in his first 18 months with the club, who finished 15th in the Premier League this season. Back in August, the 26-year-old Dubliner went in search of regular game-time by signing a season-long loan deal with Rotherham.

“I’ve never been to Wembley before so it’s exciting. I’ve seen all the games on TV over the years, but I’ve never been there,” Towell told Brighton’s official website ahead of Sunday’s clash with Shrewsbury.

“It’s always been a dream of mine since I was a young boy but I’ve tried to be calm and save myself for Sunday. All my family are coming over for the game and I think they’re more nervous than I am!

“Everyone has been asking how I’ve been feeling but it’s been a relatively normal week for me. That’s down to the way the manager has been. He’s tried to keep it low key. We haven’t gone and got suits or gone away or done anything out of the norm.

“We’ve just kept doing what we have been all season and we haven’t changed much — you shouldn’t try and fix what’s not broken so hopefully that stands us in good stead.”

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2017 Football League Cup Second Round Brighton v Barnet Aug 22nd Towell joined Brighton from Dundalk. Source: Mark Kerton

After returning from a spell in Scotland, where he had stints with Celtic and Hibernian, Towell was a revelation at Dundalk. He won every major honour in Irish football during three seasons with the Lilywhites. He was also named PFAI Player of the Year after the 2015 season, during which he netted 29 times.

The former Republic of Ireland U21 international had to be patient in his pursuit of opportunities after his switch to England, but his spell at Rotherham this season has seen him play 45 times and score six goals. Towell remains contracted to Brighton until next summer.

“When I first signed [for Rotherham] the main aim for me was to get games under my belt and play as much as I could to help the team,” he said. “I wanted to help the side achieve what they were setting out to do, which was to finish in the top six and try to get promoted. We’ve done well but we also know that we haven’t achieved anything yet and we know we have to be focused on finishing the job.”

He added: “I’ve played a lot of games and been successful, so it’s been really enjoyable. I’m settled in Sheffield and my family are content up here — that really does have a positive impact on the pitch.

“Normally it’s quite hard on loan because you have to move just as you’ve settled down. But my little girl has started nursery up here and it’s a nice area to live. It’s been a good experience for me and hopefully I can round it off with victory on Sunday.”

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