New management can bring new opportunity for players and the arrival of Filippo Giovagnoli at Oriel Park could be particularly beneficial to Dundalk goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.
Since arriving at the club from Warrenpoint Town ahead of last season, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers net minder had played just one league game for the club – a dead rubber match away to Cork City last October when the league title had already been wrapped up.
It was somewhat of a surprise therefore when the 28-year-old was preferred to Gary Rogers for Friday’s 3-2 victory over Shelbourne.
McCarey admitted afterwards that he had almost given up on his Oriel Park dream having played such little football over the last two seasons but is hopeful that Giovagnoli’s arrival can give new life to his ambitions at Dundalk.
“It has been a very frustrating time for me, I have to be honest,” he said.
“I felt that I didn’t get opportunities when I should have got opportunities. Being honest as well, there were times when I wasn’t good enough and my performance probably wasn’t where it should have been as well so I’ve got to take a bit of that on board as well.
“It’s an opportunity for everyone now though. Filippo has come in and he’s not afraid to make changes. He’s very open and honest in the way he speaks to the lads. It has been good so far.”
McCarey said it was a clean slate for everyone following Vinny Perth’s recent departure.
“I don’t think it would have happened under the previous regime,” he said of his selection.
“That was just the way it was going but as I say it’s a clean slate now. Filippo gave me the opportunity to come in and although I didn’t have too much to do save wise, it was more about distribution and dealing with a couple of crosses and stuff like that. It’s tidy stuff and stuff that you’re expected to do well on that nobody really sees.
“He only told me I was playing just before kick-off. He said he wants everyone coming to the game as if they’re going to be playing so he only names the team an hour and a half before the kick-off.
“It was a pleasant surprise to be picked but I had been going well in training and just working hard. When he came in a few weeks ago it was an opportunity for everyone and a clean slate to start again so I just put my head down as I had always done even in times previous to this and worked hard. Now that the opportunity came I just wanted to grab it with both hands.
“I’m just delighted to get the win and really delighted to get 90 minutes as well because I came here with big ambitions and they never came to fruition. Obviously Gary has been superb as well but it was an opportunity for me tonight and hopefully I’ve done enough to get another opportunity.”
The Monaghan man says he now remains hopeful that he can fulfil his goals at Oriel Park.
“Everyone is playing for their future, whether it’s here or somewhere else. Probably a couple of weeks ago I was thinking that my time with Dundalk was finished. That’s all changed now and it is all to play for.
“We’ve got a couple of big games coming up now in the next week or two and that was a good start. We’ll see what happens. We’ll just take it game by game and week by week and see where we end up.”
McCarey remains hopeful of holding onto the jersey for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Inter Club d’Escalades in Andorra but said he would be fully supportive of Gary Rogers as well if he was restored to the starting 11 for the game.
“I’d be absolutely delighted if I started on Thursday but if it doesn’t happen I’ll be fully supportive of Gary as well because he has been superb for us.
“That was part of the reason why I came here. I had other options to go to other clubs but I came here because the club was going places. It was trying to establish itself as a European team and I liked the challenge of coming in and challenging Gary and ultimately trying to get into the team and playing on the European front.
“Obviously I’ve had to wait an awful long time for that to happen. I may not get another opportunity between now and the end of the season but if I do I’ll be ready and have myself in tip-top shape.
“One way or another we just have to make sure we get the win on Thursday. We know that we’d be expected to beat a team from Andorra but you can’t underestimate them either. It’s European football and a one-off game. Anything could happen so we have to go there fully focused and really prepared.
“We really didn’t think about it too much until now because our main focus was on Shelbourne but once that’s over with we’ll be fully focused on the Andorran team and preparing for Thursday,” he said.