Shamrock Rovers have been the opposition for three of the key moments in Darragh Leahy’s career to date so it is perhaps fitting that Stephen Bradley’s side will once again provide the opposition this Sunday for a game which could be the 21-year-old’s competitive debut for Dundalk.
It was against the Hoops that Leahy made his League of Ireland debut for Bohemians in a 3-1 win at Dalymount Park on February 16th 2018.
He would also go on to score his first goal at senior level against the Hoops when he pounced for a memorable 99th minute winner at Tallaght Stadium the following April.
Perhaps less memorable, but it was also against Rovers that Leahy made his last appearance for Bohs when they lost 1-0 courtesy of a Graham Burke goal at Tallaght Stadium on August 30th last year.
An injury playing for the Republic of Ireland U-21s in Sweden the following month brought an end to Leahy’s 2019 but having joined Dundalk just before Christmas, the left back has been making a good impression in his handful of outings to date.
Now he is hoping to land his first piece of silverware this Sunday when Rovers travel to Oriel Park to contest the President’s Cup final (kick-off 3pm).
Of course, you want to win every game and especially when there’s a trophy up for grabs,” he said when asked if he wanted to win the game.
“I’m really looking forward to that. We’ve two games next week so hopefully after that we’ll be flying for the President’s Cup final.”
When the Rovers link in his career was put to him, the Swords man couldn’t help but raise a smile.
“We beat them 3-1 that night (on my debut) and as you say there was the 99th minute goal. I don’t think that will be forgotten about any time soon,” he grinned.
“It’s obviously going to be a tough game, especially after the Cup final last year, but that’s behind us now and we just want to push on now and look forward to winning more silverware.”
Leahy feels he has settled well in his new surroundings and insists he is getting back to his best after his lay-off towards the end of last season.
“It’s been good,” he said of his first month with his new team-mates.
“The lads are all bang on and make you feel welcome straight away. I feel like I’ve settled in straight away and I’m just glad I’m back now playing games and getting minutes under my belt.
“I hadn’t played since last September so it was tough but I’ve been in with the physios and they’re both top class. They’ve got me in good condition and I’ve fit straight into the group. The minutes in pre-season are the most important so I’ve just been glad to get a few under my belt and hopefully now I can push on and get more.”
Leahy said the recent pre-season trip to Spain, where he featured against CFR Cluj and CSKA Moscow, was beneficial both from a playing perspective and in fitting in with his new team-mates.
“The two oppositions we played were top class so that was a very good experience but it was a great team bonding week. I got to know the lads so much and I’ve just clicked with them straight away. It was really good to have because now everyone knows each other really well.”
Now Leahy is just looking forward to the season getting going with Sunday’s President’s Cup final a real appetiser for what lies ahead.
“I can’t wait,” he said.
“It has been a very long off season, especially with being injured from September and being out for a while but the games are going to come thick and fast now so I can’t wait for that.”