Stephen Kenny might have departed Dundalk over a year ago but his influence had a major role in his former employers landing Darragh Leahy from Bohemians last week.
The 21-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Oriel Park last Thursday.
Having worked under Kenny with the Republic of Ireland U-21 squad this year, Leahy was only too happy to sign for Vinny Perth’s side having thrived in the eight caps he was won this season under his new coach’s predecessor.
“That’s what I was really excited about,” he said when asked about the style of football at Dundalk suiting his attacking instincts.
“Obviously Vinny worked with Stephen while he was at Dundalk and I’ve worked with Stephen for Ireland so I got a good taste for that. I absolutely love working under Stephen and I’d imagine Vinny will have similar sort of style at Dundalk along with everything else that goes with it so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The former Coventry City player said he loved his two season at Bohs but admitted he simply couldn’t say no to Dundalk once interest in him became known towards the end of last season.
“I think Dundalk had just played Linfield in the second leg of the Unite the Union Champions Cup when I learned they were interested. I obviously absolutely loved my time at Bohs and I’m so grateful to them. We had a great season and got Europe but when Dundalk, the champions, come knocking on the door you just can’t turn it down.
“I did want a new challenge to challenge myself again because you always have to challenge yourself. I just felt the time was right for this step up. It’s back to full-time football as well and everything else that comes with it so I just couldn’t turn the champions down.
“Talks had been going on for a couple of weeks so I was delighted just to get it done and dusted and now I can’t wait to get started.”
Leahy hasn’t played for either club or country since picking up an ankle injury in the Republic of Ireland’s 3-1 win away to Sweden in September but he insists he is on track to be back before the start of the season on February 14th.
“I’m where I should be,” he said when asked about his recovery.
“It’s going well but I just have to keep doing what I’m doing with regard to my rehab programme and I should be all right.”
Daniel Kelly is the only current Dundalk player who Leahy has played with to date and the Swords man admitted he would be only too happy to replicate his former Bohs colleague’s first season at Oriel Park.
“Absolutely, Dickie had a great season,” he said.
“He came from us as well so I’ve played a few games with him but if I can do half of what he done in his first year then I’ll be very happy.”
Leahy also said he was keen to learn from the man who he will compete with for the left back role, Dane Massey.
“Absolutely. He has won five out of the last six titles along with all the other pieces of silverware he has won so he’s going to be a great player to learn off and pick up little things from both in training and from watching him play. I can’t wait for that.
“At the end of the day you want to look back on your career at medals and trophies. I want to win everything that we’re in the same way the likes of Dane have done here for years.”
The full back was also pleasantly surprised by the facilities that await him at Oriel Park.
“The training facilities are very impressive. I’d never have seen them before. I’d have only seen the changing rooms in the stand in the away changing rooms which are tiny but the far side all got renovated and there’s a canteen, gym, changing rooms, analysis room and indoor and outdoor astros so there’s everything you could need,” said Leahy.