Patrick Hoban at his unveiling today. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Patrick Hoban pulled no punches following his unveiling as a Dundalk player on Friday afternoon. He’s back, he’s ready and trophies are on his agenda as he embarks on his second coming with Stephen Kenny’s side.
The Galwegian endured a frustrating two-and-a-half years in England with spells at Oxford United, Stevenage, Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town. However, the 2014 title winner remains a popular figure in the town and he can’t wait to get cracking on wrestling back the honours from Cork City.
“It’s great to be back, I’m feeling great and looking forward to the new chapter ahead,” Hoban said on Friday.
“What happened in the UK, it’s been a good experience, but I definitely feel that I’m coming back a better player.
“When I left Dundalk the last time, I scored 24 goals and I definitely feel my game has improved since then. Maybe my career in the UK didn’t go as planned, but that’s what happens.
“I’m excited to be back, especially with what Stephen has planned for the season ahead and for me personally, I’m here to win the league, I want to win cups, I want to score goals and get a smile back on my face while playing basically.
“I think it’s a good time for me to be back at Dundalk and it’s a good time for Dundalk to be getting me as well. They should be getting me at my prime, hopefully I hit my prime.
“I want to win the league again after Cork winning it last season. It’s in everyone’s plans to win that league back,” he added.
Hoban has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Lilywhites, something which he admits offers him a sense of security that he didn’t feel when plying his trade across the water.
“I hadn’t got that (stability) in the UK. I’ve been signing year contracts and sometimes it’s good to have that bit of security behind you as a player,” said Hoban.
“The UK didn’t get to see the Patrick Hoban that Stephen Kenny got to see, but Stephen Kenny got that out of me and I think that with me coming back as a smarter player, a bit more experienced and in my prime, I’ve no doubts that I can achieve what I achieved in 2014, probably better, hopefully better.
“I played in League Two with Oxford and Mansfield and it’s tough, tough football. It’s physical, high intensity football and very demanding. I’m not saying the League of Ireland is not demanding, but I just reckon overall that the leagues in England are a lot tougher because every game is as hard as the next.
“I think from what I saw in the UK and playing in the UK, alongside some very good players, I think I’ve matured. I’m definitely smarter as a footballer and I’m looking forward to being back at Dundalk.
“With some of the players who are at Dundalk at the moment, I can see them creating a lot of chances. I feel like I’m ready to play tomorrow. If there was a match tomorrow, I’d go and play. I can’t wait to get started.”
Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the striker signing his first contract with the Lilywhites. He acknowledges there were doubters then whom he managed to silence with his performances and it’s something he’s prepared to do again, in this, ‘his second coming’.
“I remember five-years ago driving up with my girlfriend and signing, and I remember a few people doubting the signing of Patrick Hoban at the time and there could be a sense of that now as well because people might feel that I haven’t done as well as I should have done in the UK.
“I felt like I had a good season last season, but with the change of management, it happens all the time and look at the poor lads now, Daryl (Horgan) and Andy (Boyle), they’re not getting a look in (at Preston) and they’re outstanding footballers.
“We need to bring the trophies back to Dundalk. I want to win everything,” the 26-year-old added.