All bets are off as Robbie’s keen to keep options open
ROBBIE BENSON is giving no guarantees he’ll be a Dundalk player next season as he pushes to finish this one with silverware.
The Athlone brainbox put a career in actuary on hold to pursue his full-time dream in football and has thrived at Oriel Park since leaving UCD almost two years ago. But out-of-contract at the end of the season, Benson admits he would love to follow in the footsteps of his old team-mates Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle by cracking it in England. Ahead of today’s EA Sports Cup final against Shamrock Rovers, he said: “I’m no different to anyone in the league. “If a big offer comes in from abroad, you are definitely going to consider it. “I’m very happy with Dundalk the last couple of seasons…. (but) I couldn’t sit here and say that if a big offer came in I wouldn’t at least consider it.” Asked if he has offers to leave Dundalk, Benson said: “Nothing concrete as yet. I will only ever sign one-year deals in this league and weigh up my options at the end of each year.” The 25-year-old admits his future career in actuary also comes into the equation as he will have to start at the bottom of the ladder as a trainee and sit more exams. He doesn’t want to postpone that for too long and appreciates it would be extremely difficult combining the stress of more study and a day job with full-time football demands. Little wonder he wants to cram as much as possible into the here and now. Benson, who played underage international football with Ireland stars Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick, said: “When I was younger, I probably struggled a bit confidence-wise. “I didn’t even think I would play full-time in the League of Ireland. I thought that I’d have played part-time in the league and worked alongside it. But you mature as a person and I decided to take a chance. “The turning point probably came when we played in Europe with UCD. I played quite well against some top players. “If I was doing that part-time, there was no reason that I couldn’t improve further and I think I have over the last couple of years. Hopefully I can keep doing that.” This season has not panned out how Dundalk would have hoped but they still have the chance to win two trophies and Benson feels they are back to their swaggering best in recent weeks. He said: “It’s the time you want to be playing your best stuff, which we are – it’s just a pity that it got away from us at the start of the year. “But you only get a chance to play in two finals each year so we’re going to be ready for it.”