'For a player to get 100 league goals for the one club... A great achievement'

Stephen O’Donnell paid tribute to Dundalk striker Pat Hoban after he scored on Friday night.

Dundalk’s Pat Hoban celebrates scoring (file pic).
Dundalk’s Pat Hoban celebrates scoring (file pic).
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

DUNDALK BOSS Stephen O’Donnell paid tribute to Pat Hoban after the striker scored his 100th goal in the Lilywhites’ 1-1 draw with Shelbourne on Friday night.

In a game where chances were at a premium at both ends, Hoban took advantage of a rare opportunity, skilfully glancing home a header from Keith Ward’s inswinging free-kick.

“For a player to get 100 league goals for the one club, all in the top flight, a great achievement and long may it continue,” O’Donnell said afterwards.

The 30-year-old Galway native is in his second stint at the Oriel Park outfit.

Following spells as a youngster with Bristol City and Mervue United, Hoban first played for Dundalk between 2013 and 2014, and 34 goals during that period saw him secure a move back to England.

However, after three frustrating seasons in which he lined out for Oxford United, Stevenage (loan), Grimsby Town (loan) and Mansfield, Hoban returned to the League of Ireland in 2018 and more or less picked up where he left off.

His honours for Dundalk have included three league title wins and two FAI Cup triumphs, while he has finished the season as the Premier Division’s top goalscorer on three separate occasions, in the process establishing himself as one of the best players to grace Irish football in recent years.

“You don’t foresee that someone will score 100 goals for the club,” added O’Donnell. “He started off, he hadn’t scored in his first few games, I think he might have scored against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds, won a scrappy 1-0, and he never looked back in Dundalk colours, the first and the second stint, after that goal.”

Meanwhile, one player who impressed down the other end of the field for Dundalk on Friday was Mark Hanratty.

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The 19-year-old, who joined the club from Home Farm three years ago, slotted in at left-back and produced an assured display in what was his first league start for the club.

“Mark done well, he has been training well, as I have said to all of them, if they are training well and put their hand up they will be selected,” O’Donnell said. “We have a small-ish squad, Mark has done well since pre-season, he is a powerful boy and a good footballer. It was his full debut and he will be delighted with himself but he needs to keep his head down and keep going.”

On the game itself, O’Donnell added: “It’s very hard when you are on the sideline, you are watching and you are emotionally biased towards one team. I thought it was a bit of a scrappy game, with no real clear-cut chances, when you get your nose in front you hope you go on and win the game.

“I haven’t seen the penalty [awarded to Shelbourne from which they equalised] but we don’t deal with a direct ball and gave up a penalty. I don’t know if it is a penalty or not, but we didn’t control the game as well as we could after going 1-0 up.”

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Paul Fennessy

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