Hat-trick hero Pat Hoban insists that Dundalk have a good a chance as anybody of winning the Airtricity League title following the Lilywhites’ 3-0 win over Bohemians on Friday night.
Hoban’s first top flight hat-trick moved Stephen Kenny’s just four points off the top of the table with just 13 games to play and the former Mervue United man said that people should now consider Dundalk to be genuine title contenders.
“We want to win something”, said Hoban. “We are the surprise packet. I’m delighted with the goals I’ve got but I’m more delighted for the team’s sake. Our work rate is unbelievable. That comes from everybody in the group. We work really hard for each other and it shows.
“At the start of the season the manager brought in a lot of players with potential. Thankfully those players are starting to to grow into that potential. We will keep pushing and driving on until the end of the season. Why can’t we win the league?”
The three strikes took Hoban’s tally to 11 for the season. When he joined Dundalk he did set a personal goal for the season but he said that that was secondary to the team’s progress.
“My target was to beat what I got at Mervue United last season”, he said. “I need one more to do that and I want to go on and score more. Obviously every striker wants to get goals but the three points are the main thing. More important to me is to win things.”
Hoban’s first goal was a brave effort, the Dundalk striker putting his head in where it hurts to beat Bohs keeper Dean Delany to a Dane Massey cross.
“I took a box for it”, he smiled, “but I’ll take that if it means I score a goal. I went in for the ball and thankfully it came off my head six-yards out and went in.”
The 21-year-old’s second goal arrived 11 minutes into the second-half. It was set up by Hoban’s strike partner Kurtis Byrne who, on another night, may have had a hat-trick himself.
“It was a super ball by Kurtis”, agreed Hoban. “He picked up my run and it bounced kindly for me and I looped it over the goalkeeper.
“Kurtis was very unlucky tonight”, he added. “He had three cracking shots. The keeper pulled off some great saves to stop him.”
The hat-trick was completed in the 66th minute. At first glance it looked like an audacious effort from the right flank but the Galway born striker admitted that lady luck was on his side.
“I got the ball on the right, did a couple of step overs and tried to cross it but it went top corner. I got one in pre-season she I meant to do it and it net in but tonight it was more about luck. I’ll take it though”, he laughed.