Dundalk centre-back Andy Boyle believes that being named in the PFAI’s Premier Division Team of the Year for 2013 is the “biggest honour” of his football career to date.
The 22-year-old has been one of the Dundalk’s most consistent performers this season - playing in every game bar one - and his form has been recognised by his peers who have selected him as one of the centre-backs in their pick of the 2013 season.
And speaking prior to the game with Cork City last Friday, Boyle said he was thrilled with the acknowledgement.
“It’s a reward for the great season the team has had”, said Boyle. “I’m absolutely over the moon. To be given that recognition by your fellow players is the biggest honour I have had in my career.”
The award came just a day after it was announced that the former Shelbourne player had put pen to paper on a new contract at Oriel Park for the 2014 campaign.
And he admits it didn’t take him long to make a decision on whether to remain at the club.
“When I met Stephen Kenny and he told me he wanted me to stay then I was more than happy to sign the deal. Knowing that Stephen will be here next year is a huge factor because that continuity is very important.”
Continuity is certainly the buzz word at Oriel Park at this moment in time.
Following Boyle’s contract extension, it was also announced that Richie Towell, Darren Meenan, John Mountney, Dane Massey, Kurtis Byrne, Stephen O’Donnell and Patrick Hoban had all penned new contracts.
It makes a refreshing change to previous seasons at the club where the end of the campaign would generally signal an exodus of players.
“It’s a huge bonus to have the bulk of the squad in place for next year already”, agreed Boyle. “Too many times in this league you have teams starting from scratch every year.
“It’s great because we know who we’ll be working with when we come back in pre-season and we’ve built up relationships on the pitch that can take three or four months to establish. That will definitely stand to us at the beginning of next season.”
2014 will see Dundalk enter Europe once again and Boyle said he was looking forward to meeting continental opposition.
“I can’t wait for Europe. I’ve never played in it before but I’ve been told they are special nights and I can’t wait until our game at Oriel Park. It’s going to be a great occasion.”
The towering centre-back also spoke about his involvement with the Republic of Ireland squad prior to their World Cup Qualifier with Germany recently.
Boyle and Dundalk team-mates Richie Towell, Kurtis Byrne and John Sullivan all took part in a number of training sessions with Noel King’s squad and the Dublin native said it was another highlight of an incredible year.
“It was great to be involved and to see what the standard was like and to pit your wits against players of the calibre”, he said.
“I don’t think we looked out of place although in the training game we were asked to mirror Germany and I don’t know how that might have looked”, he joked.