Andy Boyle has already seen one big date go by the wayside this year, now he is craving another so he knows when he can get playing again.
The Dundalk FC defender was due to get married on May 30th but his big day at Carton House with fiancée Hayley Donegan was postponed due to Covid-19.
While the couple have two new dates to possibly walk down the aisle – one later this year and one next year – Boyle’s immediate concern right now is knowing if and when the SSE Airtricity League will resume.
The 29-year-old was back training at Oriel Park for the first time in 89 days last Monday and while he says it’s good to be back, he and his team-mates now want to know what they’re working towards with the future of the league this season and even the proposed July tournament involving the European qualifiers very much up in the air.
“When you go to the likes of the camps in January in Spain you have a date in mind that you’re working towards but at the moment probably the hardest part of it is that you’re doing the hard part with no dates to work towards.
“As much as we enjoy training, you can’t beat the actual match day feeling. I’m sure it’s the same for fans. It might be a while before they’re back in the stadium but just having us playing I’m sure would give everyone a bit of a lift in the town.
“As players we just want a bit of clarification of when we can work towards really. We’ve worked the whole way through lockdown without taking a break because we didn’t know when the league would start and we wanted to be prepared and ready but the sooner it gets cleared up and we have a date it will be better for players, fans and everyone involved with the league,” he said.
Having not featured in Dundalk’s last outing away to Finn Harps on March 6th, it is now approaching four months since Boyle’s last game – the 3-2 defeat away to Shamrock Rovers on February 28th. He says he doesn’t remember a period where he has gone this long without playing.
“It’s the longest I can really remember without playing a competitive game,” he said.
“Even though the off season here is long enough in the League of Ireland, this has been longer again.
“We were delighted to get back last week. The downside is there’s no end date for us to get back playing but even for now it’s just good to be back around the place. We knew it would be a tough week but the fitness levels were good which shows everyone worked hard.
“Just to see the lads again was great because we’re a close enough group. Training on your own for a couple of weeks is okay but for an extended period like that it becomes hard. The environment of being together and having the craic with the lads makes the hard work easier to do.”
As Boyle and the rest of the league wait on news of a possible return, the once-capped Republic of Ireland international remains hopeful his wedding day will happen sooner rather than later as well.
“It was supposed to be two weeks ago on May 30th,” he said.
“I had it booked while I was away in the UK and when I was coming back I had to make the club aware about it but we just got a phone call in mid-March to say that it wasn’t going to go ahead.
“They gave us options of different dates, one later in the year and one next year just incase that it hasn’t cleared up by the end of the year.
“It wasn’t the best news to get but what can you do? At this stage we don’t know if we’ll be allowed to get married this year or, if we are, will it be with reduced numbers or other conditions?
“We kind of half saw it coming though so you just have to get on with it. There’s far bigger things going on in the world so I guess it’s just one of those things that you have to take on the chin really,” said Boyle.