Dundalk’s number 14 Dane Massey couldn’t hide his delight after striking on the 14th to make it 14 games without a win for Derry City at Oriel Park on Friday night.
The 31-year-old scored the only goal of the game 11 minutes from the end to help his side to their first winning start to a season since beating Shamrock Rovers in 2017.
Speaking afterwards, a beaming Massey gave much of the plaudits to substitute Jordan Flores, whose corner he met on the volley to strike through the legs of Conor McCormack.
“It was a great ball in by Jordan,” he said.
“We had numerous set pieces tonight and we did look threatening but I caught it sweet and thankfully it went into the back of the net.
“You have to give Derry great credit because they defended very well. They came with a game plan and they were tight and compact so it was up to us to break them down. You could see we were a bit rusty tonight as well but we’ll get that together over the next couple of weeks. I’m sure all teams will be the same but it’s three points on the first game of the season so we’re off to a flyer,” said the 31-year-old.
As an added extra, the goal came on what was Massey’s 200th league start for the club.
“It’s great,” he smiled.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d play 200 league games for this club. It’s a great honour and I’m extremely proud of that.”
Of more importance to the left back, however, was a winning start to the season.
“We have our targets and our goals and to get a good start in the league this year was part of that.
“It’s only one game in but there will be others coming thick and fast.”
Massey is set to come under pressure this season for his place in the side following the arrival of Irish U-21 left back Darragh Leahy from Bohemians but he said the same is the case for players throughout the team.
“There’s competition all over the park to be fair.
“Darragh is a great young player who has come in so I know if I’m not at my best then he’ll step in but to be fair it’s like that all over the pitch. We could put out two 11s to be fair and still do well in the league so it’s up to the first 11 to keep the jersey.”
After starting with a win, Massey now hopes Dundalk can make it two in-a-row by following it up with victory away to Shelbourne on Friday night.
“Tolka Park is a great stadium to play in and the atmosphere is always brilliant. There’ll be that bit of extra spice to the game with it being their first home game in a number of years but we’ll look forward to it and hopefully we’ll do well,” he said.