Pain of 2017 spurred Shields to new heights
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.