Dundalk captain Brian Gartland says he has no reason to believe he won’t be at Oriel Park for the start of the 2020 season.
Despite signing an 18-month contract extension last summer, speculation has been rife in recent weeks that the 33-year-old defender could be set to join Robbie Benson in linking up with Stephen O’Donnell at St Patrick’s Athletic.
However, speaking exclusively to The Argus after last Monday’s 6-0 Unite the Union Champions Cup win over Linfield, Gartland said he believed talk linking him with an exit from the club after six-and-a-half years was purely speculation.
“I’ve been getting texts from people asking me and there’s nothing to it as far as I know. I haven’t been talking to anyone and there has been no approach for me,” said Gartland.
After a spell out of the side prior to the FAI Cup final, Gartland feels people have conjured up the transfer talk.
“For the last three months up until the last couple of weeks I haven’t been playing much so people are going to say two and two equals four. If I was to leave here at any stage it would obviously be a Dublin club that I’d sign for and there’s only a couple that are full-time as such and Stevie has gone there so it’s just people putting things together and adding it up that way.
“Well I hope that’s all it is and that there’s nothing in the background here,” he laughed.
The former Monaghan Utd player said he still feels he has a lot to offer Dundalk and would accept a rotational role if that’s what was required.
“I’ve been at this club for years. I think I’ve shown my worth and that I’m well able to play in the last few games. Age is only a number to me so I’ll keep myself right. I just want to be at it so I’m competing for a place.
“If someone is better than me and playing ahead of me that’s grand, if there’s rotation that’s grand. I showed that earlier in the year that I can be rotated in and out and that’s the game here. When you look at the appearances for the season, it has been the most spread out appearances from a squad that we’ve ever had here. Everybody has played a massive part apart from maybe Boyler because he arrived half way through but he still played 14 or 15 games or something. Everyone else has 20 or more so everyone is used but we’re all just that competitive that it’s frustrating when you don’t get a run for a while.
“If you’re in every second week at my age it might not be a bad thing but to answer your question there’s no truth from my side. I haven’t been talking to anyone and no one has been talking to me so I’m looking forward now to a little break and then back to it again,” he said.
Gartland said it was nice to bow out on a high having won the Unite the Union Champions Cup in emphatic fashion.
“No matter what the trophy we always say we want to win it. That’s just how we are.
“We were gutted after the Cup final. A penalty shoot-out is like a lottery and it didn’t go our way but you just want to bounce back. Normally you’re waiting three months for a game but we had one the next week. We had tired legs and didn’t perform well in the first half of the first leg but then the second half showed we were the better team and we could open them up and tonight we showed our worth. We had great attacking play and great counter-attacking play at times but also great patience when they sat in. We waited to open them up and in the end we scored goals of every variety so it’s a brilliant way to finish off the season in front of our own fans and lifting a trophy.”
Gartland said the side could be proud of their efforts this season.
“It’s a brilliant year. Absolutely brilliant. Like you say, we were a shoot-out away from winning the final. On another day that would have went our way. It’s a toss of a coin away from us taking it down to the Dundalk end. Does that make a difference? I don’t know but that’s the fine margins that you’re dealing with.
“The one thing that was disappointing was our performance in the Cup final. It was below standard for us. We know that but even though we were below par we still ended up going to a shoot-out. We know how to get things done and we know how to get over the line as such but we just didn’t do that last little step on this occasion,” he said.