It would be normal for some players to feel anxious and be riddled with nerves ahead of a title showdown with their nearest rivals but that certainly isn’t the case with Chris Shields.
Two years ago, Shields was preparing for relegation play-off when the Lilywhites took on Waterford United looking to maintain their position in the top flight.
Compared to the pressure of that, Friday night’s title tilt with Cork City is a walk in the park for the influential Dundalk midfielder.
“These are the big games you want to play in as a player,” he said. “You are asked at the end of your career what you have done and it’s league titles that will show where you stand. If you don’t look forward to being involved in game like this then you shouldn’t be playing.
“I’ve done my time in relegation play-offs,” he added. “These are the games when the big players come out to play, these are the games where the trophies are handed out. If you don’t want to know then there is something wrong with you.”
Dundalk go into the game needing a victory to win their first league title in 19-years after two successive draws, against Shamrock Rovers and Bray Wanderers, saw the Lilywhites lose their place at the top.
“It has been a tough week with two tough games against Shamrock Rovers and especially Bray Wanderers. It’s not very often you get to play in a monsoon but that’s the privilege we had tonight,” said Shields after the 1-1 draw at The Carlisle Grounds on Friday.
“The rain just didn’t seem to stop. We made it difficult going in 1-0 down at half-time. It was a horrendous start and, for us, it’s not good enough. Bray were fighting or their lives and it wasn’t easy but we should have done better.”
“It’s set it up nicely for next Friday,” he continued. “We know that nothing but a win will do and that’s what we have been trying to do all season, win matches.
“Cork won’t fancy coming to Oriel. We’re hoping everybody gets in and makes it nice and tight and make it intimidating. We battered them at Oriel Park earlier in the season and we beat them at Turner’s Cross so we should be confident.”