Game 17

Drogheda 0-1 Dundalk

A win is a win. Every win these days is important and should be treated as such but as has been the way with Dundalk this season, there has barely been time to digest the result before some breaking news drops and suddenly the game on Monday night becomes a distant memory.

Friday night in Oriel will be Chris Shields’ last game for Dundalk FC. There is so much to be said about Shieldsy that I won’t be able to articulate but I’m going to try.

Let me first say that the idea that the club captain, one of the most decorated players in League of Ireland history, is going to sign off in front of 100 fans on Friday night is an absolute travesty. I know that can’t be helped but can we not just make one exception? Please?

In an ideal world we would have an absolutely jam packed Oriel park and everyone of us, woman, man or child would be on our feet to salute a true Dundalk fc legend.

It’s not just the length of service he’s given to the club. It’s not just the number of trophies he won while at the club. It’s him. Any time Chris Shields is on the pitch, no one works harder than him. With his heart on his sleeve everyone watching him can tell just how much it means to him to win.

Shields is a football fans dream. We all saw him fight for his place at the club, constantly trying to prove himself, raising his game and improving year after year. You could forgive every miss placed pass or shots that landed somewhere on the Carrick Road because you knew he would damn near cripple himself to win the ball back at the very next opportunity.

If there was an award for Dundalk Player of the decade, he definitely wins it doesn’t he?

So we’ll miss all those dodgy free kicks he ‘wins’ for us, the swashbuckling last ditch tackles, the cross field passes that had a pretty decent success rate. Farewell to the heart and soul of this club and, as many others have said, my favourite player.

In case you’re wondering why I haven’t done this after the Derry game on Friday, it’s because I have a feeling I’ll be overcome with the sense of impending doom while trying to figure out just what the hell we’re going to do now.

How did this happen? Why did it happen? Where does the blame lie? All questions that will need to be answered but probably never will be to any sort of acceptable level.

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