Two goals in four full starts would be a decent enough return from a centre-forward but when one of your team’s centre-backs hits that kind of form you know something special might just be unfolding.
That is the record that Dundalk new boy Brian Gartland has chalked up since joining the Lilywhites from Portadown in the transfer window.
The big defender headed his second goal for the club in Friday night’s 2-1 win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park and speaking afterwards, he said he was disappointed not to have added more to his tally!
“It’s not a bad record but I could have scored a second one tonight”, he said. “I should have had one against Bray, I hit the post against Bohemians and then I had one disallowed against Cork City. I don’t know what is wrong with me”, he joked.
Like his manager, Stephen Kenny, Gartland pointed the finger of praise at Darren Meenan, who sent in both corners that led to Dundalk’s goals.
“Darren’s deliveries have been spot on. We got the two goals tonight from them and Pat Hoban got on the end of one and should have scored and then I missed one in the second-half from another corner. I should have put it away.”
“The goals are great but I’m more concerned about keeping them out though”, he added.
“Shels threw the kitchen sink at us but we dealt with it well. The fitness and the character of the team shone through. Your concentration can go if the fitness is not there but we certainly have that.”
Gartland has slotted in seamlessly to the Dundalk back four and Dundalk have picked up 13 from a possible 15 points available since he has arrived at the club. Like his scoring record, it is something he is very pleased with.
“I had two months off after the season finished in the north. I was training away but it’s not the same as playing matches. I think I stepped it up against Shamrock Rovers last week and I feel I am getting to my best. I’m happy with how it’s going.”
Gartland also had kind words for his centre-back partner, Andy Boyle, who has been one of the stand out performers for Dundalk all season.
“He’s good on the ball, great in the air, he doesn’t lose his head. If he keeps it up he really could go and play anywhere..”