Shane Grimes celebrates the 2017 EA Sports Cup final win with his son Reece. (Pic; Ciarán Culligan)
Twelve-years since his debut with the club, local lad Shane Grimes announced that he was leaving Dundalk FC for the second and final time last week.
His final match was the 1-0 defeat to Bohemians in the penultimate game of the league season with the return of Dane Massey meaning Grimes had to make do with a place on the bench for the closing fixture with Galway United and the FAI Cup decider against Cork City.
While an offer of a new deal was never officially put on the table, Grimes always felt this season would be his last with the club’s intentions to alter their training schedule due to come into conflict with his working commitments at Moffett.
Despite this, he met with Stephen Kenny to discuss his future before calling a halt to his second spell with the Lilywhites.
“Stephen never said that there was an offer there, but I met up with him, talked to him and told him that I’d struggle to work it even if the offer was there,” Grimes told The Dundalk Democrat.
“Obviously, I’ve been lucky enough for the last couple of years with the job that I’ve been able to work around both it and football. My job was very accommodating and I was able to come and go as I pleased with nothing ever said.
“But I knew when it came out first that Dundalk were going to be going proper full-time in the mornings and that, I knew that it could be the end of the road for me because I’d have to make a decision regarding either the football or the job.
“I’d a bit of time to think about it and to make a decision. Probably at my age now, I’m 30, if I had have been a young fella at 23 or 24, I could possibly have taken the chance and gave up the job, but I’d come to a crossroads and I was more than likely not going to get a long-term contract at my age. So, with the family and the two wee boys, and then with the steady job that I have, when I weighed the whole situation up, it made sense to stick with the job,” he added.
However, the Muirhevnamor man is not closing the door shut on League of Ireland football. The right offer could persuade him to continue playing for at least another year. Indeed, he’s also open to offers from north of the border should they present themselves.
“I still want to play. I feel that I still have a bit to give. Ideally, I’d love to stay in the Premier Division, but I’d have to be realistic with regard to where I’m living and the logistics of travelling to another club. I’d have to take all that in, but I definitely feel I can continue playing.
“I’m not going to rule out playing up North either if something came up. I’ve just got to wait and see if offers materialise,” he said.
Grimes has amassed every team honour Irish football can present, while he played at the Aviva Stadium in the 2013 FAI Cup final for Drogheda United. However, amongst all his medals, this season’s EA Sports Cup win is the most satisfactory, for a variety of reasons.
“Coming back this year from the (hamstring) injury, the EA Sports Cup final is something that I can look back on and say, ‘I played in that final’. It’s great getting to finals, you can’t beat it, but it always means that bit more when you’re involved and play.
“I’d been here a couple of years and played quarter-finals and semi-finals of all the cups, but I’d never been picked for the final team so it was something that I was very happy with at the time and it coincided with coming back from the injury. It was great, especially with the young fella and the family there,” the defender finished.