By MARCUS CAVAROLI
Wednesday October 17 2012
LOCAL lad Conor McDonald took another small step along the road to regular first-team football when he came through his first 90 minutes against Bohemians on Saturday night.
The 17-year-old wasted no time in making an impression, testing the opposition goalkeeper inside the first three minutes, and he went on to become a popular winner of the club’s Man of the Match award.
‘I am happy with getting the Man of the Match and that, but disappointed we didn’t get the result because I thought we should have won the game,’ the youngster said afterwards.
‘We haven’t got a win in a few games and it was good to get a result. There was a lot of effort there tonight and commitment when we do put it in.’
McDonald, who began his schoolboy career with Rock Celtic before having a spell with St Kevin’s Boys, was signed by Ian Foster in August last year, becoming one of the club’s youngest ever debutants when he came on as a sub the following month, aged 16 years and 101 days.
He has made three further substitute appearances since then and got his first start against St Pat’s recently, and McDonald hopes to taste more action before the end of the season.
‘I played against Pat’s earlier in the summer, but that was the first 90 and it was a hard graft and I’m happy I got through it.
‘I signed here at the start of last year and things happened fairly quickly and now I’m looking towards the next game, Cork, and hopefully I’ll get another runout.
I’m not sure about how we’ll do in the play-offs. I’m taking it one game at a time!’
McDonald acknowledged that Dundalk could have a bright future because of the number of top young players the club continues to breed, many of whom were on duty on Saturday evening.
‘Bob McKenna got a goal there and he’s a brilliant player, and even when I’m not with the senior team, I’m still playing with very good players with the 19s,’ he pointed out.
‘Even former Under-19s like Peter Thomas and Chris Reilly came on and did very well tonight.’
McDonald said he wouldn’t be resting on his laurels in the coming weeks and months, agreeing that he has to work on his game and his physical attributes if he is to harbour any hopes of regular first-team football.
‘In the off-season I need to work hard and get into the gym and build up, and hopefully that way I’ll be a more established player than this year.
‘But at the same time I’m not going to get mad over it. I’m still young and have a bit of time.’
– MARCUS CAVAROLI