Three points, a trip and a new contract gets Shields out of hot water at home

Three points, a trip and a new contract gets Shields out of hot water at home

It’s just as well that Chris Shields got a new contract at Oriel Park last week as he has already had to fork out to keep his loved one happy just a game into the new season.

The midfielder put pen to paper on a new deal until the end of the 2021 campaign last Thursday which will bring his stay at Dundalk up to 10 seasons having originally joined the club back in January 2012.

While the negotiation process for that deal was relatively straight forward, he would have had a harder time informing his wife Shauna that not alone was he going to miss St Valentine’s Day due to work commitments but also her 30th birthday.

Thankfully, Shields and co helped deliver the three points against Derry City to make the trip home that little bit easier.

Asked after the game how Shauna felt about him missing her birthday, Shields smiled: “She’ll be happy enough with three points and she got a nice trip out of me so I got away with it today.”

On his new deal, he added: “It was a great week and a great way to round it off as well because the main thing was always to get the three points. It’s an added bonus getting the deal done though because now I can just concentrate on football for the next two years.”

The 29-year-old, who captained the Lilywhites on the night, said a winning start was most important.

“As I’m sure a few of the boys pointed out, we’re two points better off than we were at this stage last year and a point better off than we were after two games last year so it’s good to get a winning start. It’s important to start well and I think we have tonight.

“It’s nice to start with a home win, especially against a team who gave us a few problems last year and gave us a few problems. It was nice to put that to bed as well.

“We were the dominant team tonight. I think they maybe looked to sit in and thought a draw would be a good result for them but I think it’s a testament to our squad that we’re always able to dig in deep and score late goals.”

Shields was full of praise for match winner Dane Massey and said there was more to come from his side.

“He always gets a few every season and that could be an important one tonight,” he said.

“I thought we looked a threat from set pieces. I thought it was inevitable we were going to score because there was a goalmouth scramble, we hit the bar and stuff like that but thankfully Dane scored.

“We’re still getting to know players and patterns and things like that but it’s hard when you come up against a team with two banks of four. It can be hard to break teams down but I think we’re going to get that in about 90% of the games here where teams come here looking to do that and then look to catch us on the break.”

Next up for Dundalk is a trip to Tolka Park to face newly promoted Shelbourne and it’s one that Shields says he can’t wait for.

“I’d imagine they’ll have a big crowd in for their first game back in the Premier Division because they’re obviously a big club.

“It’ll be a good game to be involved in. Any time we’ve played in Tolka when I’ve been here we’ve always had a great travelling support and I think it’ll make for a great game. It’s a ground I’ve missed playing in. It’s good to have them back in the league as well,” he said.

Shields admits missing FAI Cup final was his ‘darkest week in football’

Shields admits missing FAI Cup final was his ‘darkest week in football’

Dundalk FC midfielder Chris Shields has opened up for the first time publicly on the hurt of missing out on last month’s FAI Cup final, describing it as his “darkest week in football.”
The 28-year-old missed the penalty shoot-out defeat to Shamrock Rovers at the Aviva Stadium in somewhat controversial circumstances after picking up an eighth booking of the season in a dead rubber game away to Cork City two weeks before the final.
Speaking at last Thursday’s Mental in Health in Sport event in aid of Pieta House in McAlester’s Bar in Bridge Street, Shields revealed the impact missing out on the final had on him, including having to put on a brave face for guests at his daughter’s first birthday party shortly after finding out he would be suspended for a match which was due to be his 300th in Dundalk colours.
As he continues to come to terms with the setback, Shields auctioned off his unworn jersey from the final for €650 on the night. Despite helping Vinny Perth’s side to the inaugural Unite the Union Champions Cup match afterwards, the club’s joint longest serving player insisted it would be next season before he could really put things to bed.
On putting the jersey up for auction, he said: “It is probably the easiest jersey I’ve ever had to auction off. I never want to see the thing again.
“It was hard to let go,” he said of the hurt from missing the Cup final.
“I still find it hard to deal with because we had such a great season. We had three out of three trophies we had played for and we fancied ourselves to beat Linfield over both legs so you have this one-off game in the national stadium to go and become the greatest team ever and then all of a sudden I’m not playing in it because of a clerical error or someone not doing their homework, so it was hard for me to take.”
Shields revealed the phone call a week before the final to inform him he was suspended had coincided with his daughter Evie’s first birthday party that day.
“I got the phone call on the Sunday and it was actually my child’s first birthday. Vinny didn’t know but he rang me that morning and I was out walking and I honestly didn’t know what way to turn.
“I went back to the house like a bull but then had to put on a face for all these guests coming who I didn’t want to see.
“I think the boys will tell you I was a different character on the Monday. I was very quiet and Vinny was almost going to give me the day off because he knew I didn’t want to be there. I said no I’ll come in and face the music. We had lodged an appeal but it all fell on its arse really. I don’t know whether it was ignorance or not from the FAI but they didn’t want to see or hear about it.
“It affected me massively. It was probably my darkest week in football really.”
Shields said had he known a booking in the Cork game could have cost him a cup final place then he would not have played the game.
“For me personally, if I had known a yellow card would lead to that against Cork then I wouldn’t have been on the pitch. If I’d known that would have been the possible outcome in any game then it wouldn’t have happened but, for me, I can’t put it right until the new season really.
“What do you do? Sit at home and fester over what could have been? Me and Fats (Patrick McEleney) watched the game from the stand and you’re analysing everything so you end up thinking that at that point I would have done this and maybe if I was playing that could have happened but it’s not worth talking about really.
“For me, I’m looking forward to this season coming because I have something to put right so maybe a small positive will come out of a negative.”
Questioned further, on who he felt was to blame for the mix-up, Shields said he honestly did not know.
“To be honest, I don’t know what I can tell you. I was in such a blind rage that I pointed the finger at everyone. I pointed the finger at Dundalk, I pointed the finger at the FAI. I didn’t really look for legitimate answers and to be honest it’s probably something I can’t answer. Then again it could be on myself. I should probably know how many yellow cards I was on too.”
A hurtful moment for Shields, of that there is no doubt, but hopefully one that will keep his fire burning that bit more in 2020.

Dundalk FC midfielder Chris Shields has opened up for the first time publicly on the hurt of missing out on last month’s FAI Cup final, describing it as his “darkest week in football.”

The 28-year-old missed the penalty shoot-out defeat to Shamrock Rovers at the Aviva Stadium in somewhat controversial circumstances after picking up an eighth booking of the season in a dead rubber game away to Cork City two weeks before the final.

Speaking at last Thursday’s Mental in Health in Sport event in aid of Pieta House in McAlester’s Bar in Bridge Street, Shields revealed the impact missing out on the final had on him, including having to put on a brave face for guests at his daughter’s first birthday party shortly after finding out he would be suspended for a match which was due to be his 300th in Dundalk colours.

As he continues to come to terms with the setback, Shields auctioned off his unworn jersey from the final for €650 on the night. Despite helping Vinny Perth’s side to the inaugural Unite the Union Champions Cup match afterwards, the club’s joint longest serving player insisted it would be next season before he could really put things to bed.

On putting the jersey up for auction, he said: “It is probably the easiest jersey I’ve ever had to auction off. I never want to see the thing again.

“It was hard to let go,” he said of the hurt from missing the Cup final.

“I still find it hard to deal with because we had such a great season. We had three out of three trophies we had played for and we fancied ourselves to beat Linfield over both legs so you have this one-off game in the national stadium to go and become the greatest team ever and then all of a sudden I’m not playing in it because of a clerical error or someone not doing their homework, so it was hard for me to take.”

Shields revealed the phone call a week before the final to inform him he was suspended had coincided with his daughter Evie’s first birthday party that day.

“I got the phone call on the Sunday and it was actually my child’s first birthday. Vinny didn’t know but he rang me that morning and I was out walking and I honestly didn’t know what way to turn.

“I went back to the house like a bull but then had to put on a face for all these guests coming who I didn’t want to see.
“I think the boys will tell you I was a different character on the Monday. I was very quiet and Vinny was almost going to give me the day off because he knew I didn’t want to be there. I said no I’ll come in and face the music. We had lodged an appeal but it all fell on its arse really. I don’t know whether it was ignorance or not from the FAI but they didn’t want to see or hear about it.

“It affected me massively. It was probably my darkest week in football really.”

Shields said had he known a booking in the Cork game could have cost him a cup final place then he would not have played the game.

“For me personally, if I had known a yellow card would lead to that against Cork then I wouldn’t have been on the pitch. If I’d known that would have been the possible outcome in any game then it wouldn’t have happened but, for me, I can’t put it right until the new season really.

“What do you do? Sit at home and fester over what could have been? Me and Fats (Patrick McEleney) watched the game from the stand and you’re analysing everything so you end up thinking that at that point I would have done this and maybe if I was playing that could have happened but it’s not worth talking about really.

“For me, I’m looking forward to this season coming because I have something to put right so maybe a small positive will come out of a negative.”

Questioned further, on who he felt was to blame for the mix-up, Shields said he honestly did not know.

“To be honest, I don’t know what I can tell you. I was in such a blind rage that I pointed the finger at everyone. I pointed the finger at Dundalk, I pointed the finger at the FAI. I didn’t really look for legitimate answers and to be honest it’s probably something I can’t answer. Then again it could be on myself. I should probably know how many yellow cards I was on too.”

A hurtful moment for Shields, of that there is no doubt, but hopefully one that will keep his fire burning that bit more in 2020.

A WAG’s life – an interview with Shauna Shields

A WAG’s life – an interview with Shauna Shields

Having been with Chris Shields as firstly his girlfriend, then fiancée and now wife for the best part of his time with Dundalk, Shauna Shields is well used at this stage to being called a WAG.

However, she told The Argus ahead of this Sunday’s FAI Cup final that the life of a League of Ireland footballer’s wife is not as glamorous as it is made out to be.

“Quite a few people say to me about being a WAG but as I always say, I might have the title but I don’t have the lifestyle,” she laughed.

“I’m not exactly Coleen Rooney but I don’t really mind. It’s just a bit of a laugh.”

The couple first met while Shauna was on holiday with friends in Gran Canaria in 2011. At the time Shields – who is Dundalk’s joint longest serving player along with John Mountney – was on the books of Bray Wanderers but he was playing with Dundalk and captaining the side when the pair eventually got together the following summer.

That season would see the Lilywhites only survive in the Premier Division courtesy of a play-off victory over Waterford but thankfully these days results are a lot better.

“We started going out half way through his first season at Dundalk and they were losing all the time,” Shauna recalled.

“I went to my first couple of games and he would have been storming off the pitch at the end and punching the tunnel and things like that so I just thought Oh God. They got to a Cup semi-final that year and lost it so it was just the nail in the coffin really for that year but everything was kind of on the up then the following year.”

These days the couple live in Bangor, which allows Shauna to avoid much of the disappointment her husband experiences when Dundalk lose a game.

“I’m lucky enough because they’re usually in the morning after a match so he stays away on a match night so that’s kind of good because I don’t have to deal with him because his form is awful whenever they lose.

“He has been in terrible form the last couple of Friday nights (after defeats to Bohs and Cork City).

“He barely even wanted to send a text after a game. He’s always just miserable, especially when he’s playing but thankfully there is more good times than bad.”

Shauna said the hardest part about dating a footballer is the sacrifices you have to make. She has had to attend numerous family events on her own this year due to his involvement with the club while trips away for training camps and Europe also mean he misses weeks at home throughout the year.

“It can be hard,” she said.

“I’ve been that used to the team going away even when it has just been Chris and I. You kind of get used to it. It has become such a norm now that they go away in January and June. It’s more awkward when things are changed at the last minute and it’s hard too when there are family events like weddings.

“My uncle got married last Friday and I was saying to Chris would you not go seeing as you’ve already won the league but he said he wouldn’t even ask, that it wasn’t professional. It’s things like that that are the toughest, when he’s missing out on family or friends’ events. I’ve had two friends get married this year and I’ve had to go to their weddings on my own as well so that’s tough.

“Evie, our daughter, doesn’t really get impacted because she’s so young. She’s only just one but I’m sure when she’s got her own things going on like concerts or whatever it might be more difficult.

“He’s obviously been nominated for Team of the Year and the awards are on the same night as my best friend’s 30th so he’s going to Dublin instead of coming out in Belfast for her birthday. Football just takes priority I guess.”

There are upsides, of course, and Shauna says the FAI Cup final is one of the best days out for the wives and girlfriends of the players.

“It’s an amazing day. I can’t think off the top of my head now how many Chris has been in but last year was the only year I haven’t got to go because Evie, our daughter, was only about 10 days old at the time so I was at home with her and watched it on the TV.

“It was just surreal so I’m even more excited for it this year. It’s just a great day and then back to Dundalk hopefully to celebrate. The club are great because they’ve always organised a function room in a hotel or whatever. It’s better because you get to celebrate it a bit more with them. It’s a long year for us as well. We have to put up with all the lack of nights out and this and that so it’s a more special day and special night afterwards.”

Shauna said she would love a family snap of them with daughter Evie in the Cup.

“It would be really lovely,” she said.

“That’s one thing that I felt like I did miss out on last year. Because she was so small it was just too far to take her but when I saw the picture of Dane’s wee one Georgia in the Cup last year it definitely made me a wee bit upset and a bit jealous. I’d love that and there’s so many of the lads who have had babies in the last year as well that it would be lovely to get all the dads and the kids.”

While Chris is adored by Dundalk fans, it’s not for his goalscoring prowess that he is loved. While the pair have been together over seven years, Shauna said she had never seen her husband score in the flesh.

“I finally seen him score on TV last year against Cork but the only goal I’ve ever actually seen him score was in the EA Sports Cup penalty shoot-out this year. That was the first. Hopefully it’s a good omen for him scoring in finals,” she laughed.

Shauna revealed that the other wives and girlfriends are all part of a WhatsApp group where they discuss everything from how games are going to what will be worn to days out like the Cup final.

“Whenever new players come their girlfriends are welcomed in. There have been girls in the past who would say we can’t believe how close everyone is. We have a girls’ group WhatsApp where we’d all chat and plan to meet up either before or after a game.

“There’s lots of talk at the moment about who is wearing what to the Cup final and have you got a dress for that night. It’s all things like that but it’s great and I think it’s great for the lads as well because it means if we are on a night out they can go and have their craic and we’re all fine. We just get along with each other and don’t need to cling to the boys.

“Some of us have been around for so long as well that we’ve all been at each other’s weddings and we’ve celebrated with each other when other girls have had babies. It’s a great atmosphere really,” she said.

While the debate over what the partners will wear rages, there’s only one thing that the couple’s daughter Evie – who turned one last Sunday – will have on her on Cup final day – her daddy’s replica shirt.

“David Minto did a jersey for all the babies and he got her a jersey last year when she was born and it was a size six to nine months but she’s actually a small baby so it still fits her so she’ll be wearing the same one that was draped over her when she was in her Moses’ basket when she was 10 days old,” Shauna revealed.

“Hopefully that brings a bit of luck as well. She wears that jersey every match day usually and Chris only told me at the weekend that every domestic game that she has wore it and they’ve played they have won but last Friday (for the Cork game) we were at my uncle’s wedding and she didn’t have it on and they lost to Cork so he’s pretty superstitious about that one,” she said.

Here’s hoping Evie brings her daddy all the luck in the world on Sunday and the Shields family get to celebrate a big win in style.

Shields hoping to mark 200th league game for Dundalk with a win

Shields hoping to mark 200th league game for Dundalk with a win

Chris Shields will hit a Dundalk milestone this Friday against Sligo Rovers but the only thing on his mind is three points.

The midfielder, who has been at Oriel Park since the 2012 season, will make his 200th league appearance against the Bit O Red. It will also be the 250th league start of his career including his time at former club Bray Wanderers.

While the 28-year-old was pleased to hear about the landmark, beating Sligo for the first time in three attempts this season is his primary goal.

“200 is a nice number but hopefully there are plenty more to come. It’s a good milestone to hit and hopefully I can mark it with a win.

“Sligo have taken four points off us this year and they can be tough opposition so we’ll be looking to stick one to them next week,” said Shields.

The midfielder is also hoping a positive result against Liam Buckley’s side will be a little more comfortable than the last minute winners Dundalk have been conjuring up of late.

“It’s not particularly how I’d like to win games,” he said after Friday’s dramatic victory over St Patrick’s Athletic.

“It was a poor enough performance in the first half anyway. The second half was better. It’s another late goal and a dramatic win again but it’s testament to us to keep going and getting the late wins. That’s the sign of a good side.

“You take them whatever way they go in. We had one or two before that that could have went in. Georgie’s header whistled by the post and Mickey’s deflection had just rolled past but we were creating chances and I think there was only one team looking to really win it.

“We’re not fluking these last minute winners. We have teams penned in and we’re just managing to score in the last minute but it could happen before that.”

Shields is now just focused on keeping the winning run going into the break but is well aware it won’t be easy.

“Sligo are tough and then any game up in Ballybofey is difficult so we’ll be fully focused on them and then whatever the league throws up after that we’ll be ready for it.”