Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell said it was good to be back amongst familiar faces on the first day of pre-season at Oriel Active on Sunday morning.
The Lilywhites squad were put through a number of fitness tests by Strength and Conditioning Coach Graham Byrne and each squad member - Richie Towell in particular - looked in great condition.
“It’s great to see everybody again,” said O’Donnell. “When you come back after the off season it feels like you’ve never been away.
“There’s no point in finishing the season and coming back for pre-season starting at square one,” he added. “The onus is on the players in the off season to look after themselves.”
After going so close to winning the title last season, O’Donnell said that the Dundalk squad were desperate to go one better this year.
“After seeing the carrot at the end of the journey, we want to go one step better. It would be an unbelievable feeling to win the title and everybody seems to have the bit between the teeth already.”
New signings Daryl Horgan, David McMillan, Gabriel Sava and Sean Gannon were all present on Sunday morning and O’Donnell feels they will all add real quality to the Lilywhites squad.
“They are great additions. There is no point signing players who won’t add to the team and the four lads will definitely enhance competition.”
The big movers in the transfer market during the off season have been champions St Patrick’s Athletic. Liam Buckley has bolstered his title winning squad with players such as Keith Fahey and Mark Quigley. However O’Donnell, echoing comments by his manager Stephen Kenny, said Dundalk were only concentrating on their own affairs.
“Pat’s look like they have two players for every position but at the end of the day you can only play 11 players. That creates its own problems, trying to keep players happy and that. We are only worried about ourselves and we know that we can give everybody a game.”