John Mountney’s next appearance will be a landmark 300th for Dundalk but he is hopeful there will be bigger accolades ahead for him and his team-mates before the year is out.
The Mayo man will be just the 14th to reach such a figure in the Lilywhites’ history should he feature against Bohemians in the FAI Cup quarter-final at Dalymount Park this Friday.
While he was delighted to be informed of the landmark by The Argus at the weekend, he says it is far more important to him to ensure he adds to the 14 major honours he has won since making his debut in a game which would later he scrapped from the record books – a 0-0 draw away to Monaghan Utd on March 2nd 2012.
“To be only 27 and have 300 appearances for a club like Dundalk is fantastic,” he said.
“I don’t keep an eye on appearances unless you hear someone say it’s a landmark of 100, 200 or 250 or something but 300 is brilliant.”
Mountney was part of the Dundalk side which shocked Bohs courtesy of a Marc Griffin free kick the last time the two sides met in the Cup back in his debut season at the club in 2012. He is determined that the side repeat that achievement eight years on this Friday.
“I remember that game and the free kick from Griff. It was a great free kick up and over the wall.
“Whatever about it being my 300th appearance, it’s a game that the lads have had an eye on for a while because we feel we owe Bohs one.
“The highs of Europe have been fantastic but with the lows of this year’s league we want to go out with a bang this season and our way of doing that in our heads is to get to the Cup final.”
For all the success Mountney has had at Dundalk, he feels they have left a few Cup finals behind them so is more determined than ever to ensure this topsy turvy year ends on a high.
“We’ve had five cup finals in the Aviva so to have lost more than you’ve won is disappointing and it can take away from your achievements too because I remember times where we had won the league title and a lot of times we didn’t have time to celebrate it because we were focused on the Cup final. Obviously we’ve had times where we’ve won and gone out on a high and celebrated it but when you lose the Cup final it nearly takes away from what went before and leaves a bitterness in your mouth over the off season because it takes away from winning the league.
“As a player and as a club it is huge to go out on a high at the end of your season. With the disappointment of not doing it last year, there’ll definitely be a hunger to put it right this year.
“It’s always a disappointment when you don’t come away with medals so that’s why it’s such a big factor for us this year because we want to go out on a high by winning something. Europe is a brilliant experience and it gives you memories that you’ll always look back on but there’s no medals for it,” he said.
While victory on Friday after more than a week and a half off could potentially set up another busy period of games for Dundalk, Mountney says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There have been highs and lows the last month or so. I feel like we’ve had good performances in Europe but not got results. It’s good to put in those performances and to show that we’re able to compete at that level but it’s devastating then not to have anything to show for it.
“That rolls into our league form. With having matches every three days we’ve had to rotate a lot which is tough, especially with being a couple of bodies down, but now our main focus is to get into the last four of the Cup and go out on a high with the maximum amount of games. We want to have a Cup semi and a Cup final to look forward to.
“People are saying the schedule will be hectic if we beat Bohs because we’ll play Athlone and then potentially another Cup final but that’s the situation you want to be in. You don’t want to go out in the quarters or semis and have a week between games. You want a busy schedule knowing you have a big Cup game in between the European games.
“Winning a Cup can set you up for the following year too. Also it can have a big impact on the lads in terms of how the mind works because if you can win it the attitude is that the club is still winning things and everyone wants to be part of a successful team,” said the 27-year-old.