Pain of 2017 spurred Shields to new heights

The Argus - - SPORT - JAMES ROGERS

DUN­DALK mid­fielder Chris Shields has re­vealed the pain of miss­ing out on the ti­tle last year drove him on to have his best ever sea­son this year.

The club’s joint long­est ser­vant has en­joyed his best cam­paign since ar­riv­ing at Oriel Park in 2012 this year, with many call­ing for him to be named Player of the Year.

While the 27-year-old has been de­lighted with his per­for­mances, he said team hon­ours mat­ter much more to him than in­di­vid­ual plau­dits.

‘It has been my best sea­son and it’s nice to hear the plau­dits that come from that,’ he said.

‘Peo­ple have said I should be Player of the Year and all that. That’s nice as a per­sonal touch but win­ning the league and get­ting that league medal is what means most to me at the end of the year.

‘Last year we were hurt­ing be­cause it was so poor com­pared to our stan­dards. At the end of the sea­son at least we had some sil­ver­ware with the League Cup but the league is our main tar­get ev­ery year and it’s great to have it back in Oriel Park.

‘Four out of five ain’t bad. Ob­vi­ously win­ning the league is how you’re as­sessed at the end of your ca­reer.

‘You want to win as many times as you can.’

While draws are of­ten treated like de­feats at Oriel Park, a 90th minute goal to se­cure a point with Pat Hoban break­ing the Premier Divi­sion goalscor­ing record wasn’t a bad way to land the ti­tle in Shields’ book.

‘It was a poor enough game and they caught us on a set piece. A few of us were ask­ing the score from Tal­laght at that point so we knew we’d prob­a­bly have won it tonight any­way but that’s not the way you want to win it.

‘To get the lev­eller to make sure and for Pat to get the record, you couldn’t have scripted it much bet­ter.

‘I’m de­lighted for him be­cause he works so hard and moans so much that it’s not worth lis­ten­ing to if he didn’t score.

‘He’ll say it’s the league win­ning goal but we all know what the league win­ning goal was,’ he grinned, with ref­er­ence to his win­ner in Cork last month.

With his fourth league win­ners’ medal in the bag, Shields is now tar­get­ing a sec­ond dou­ble in next month’s FAI Cup fi­nal.

‘That’s the eye on the prize now.

‘We’ll en­joy our­selves this week­end but it’s back to work then. We’re in the fi­nal. It has hurt af­ter the last two years los­ing by the skin of our teeth but the dou­ble is def­i­nitely on the cards,’ he said.

Chris Shields cel­e­brates.

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