Dundalk stalwart Brian Gartland makes long-awaited return from injury

Brian Gartland is back in action for Dundalk.

Dundalk centre-back Brian Gartland played for the first time in nine months last night. The 35-year-old came on in the 57th minute of the Lilywhites’ pre-season friendly win over Cobh Ramblers at Lotamore Park.

Gartland, who has won the Premier Division on five occasions, was stretchered off at Tallaght Stadium last April after tearing his ACL. The Dubliner missed the remainder of the 2021 season as a result, as Dundalk slumped to sixth place in the table in his absence.

Since then, Gartland has used his time to start his own business Recovery Room and write his autobiography titled ‘One Last Shot’. Now back in action, the veteran defender will hope to have one last shot at adding to his considerable medal collection.

Brian Gartland delighted to be back playing

It was a positive return to the Dundalk team for Gartland as they ran out as 3-1 winners on the night. A debut goal from Swansea loanee Dan Williams and a brace from talismatic striker Patrick Hoban helped open the Stephen O’Donnell era with a satisfying display.

“It was brilliant – and a long time coming,” Gartland told dundalkfc.com at full-time. “I think I lasted 26 seconds on the pitch in Tallaght that day. I was like a kid after a ball and it was lovely to have that feeling again.

“Everyone has their journeys and their battles and things didn’t go smoothly for me at times with my recovery but I’m still here and back on the pitch.”

“I was chomping at the bit. When a ball breaks and it’s fifty-fifty, it’s either play it safe or go all in and there is no point in me being back if you’re going to play it safe! I think that was me, in my own head, saying ‘go through the tackle, full-throttle’ and play the way I’ve always played.”

Gartland excited for new era at Oriel Park

There is of course plenty of change at Dundalk in advance of the new season. Controversial American owners Peak 6 have parted company with the club and so too director of football Jim Magilton and manager Vinny Perth.

Former midfielder Stephen O’Donnell takes charge of the team for the 2022 season under the ownership of local businessman Andy Connolly and STATSports. O’Donnell has already made a number of quality additions to the Dundalk squad and Gartland is understandably excited for the new dawn.

“The squad we’re putting together is exciting – and I’m excited. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was something worth fighting for and fighting to be a part of it.

“I love the gaffer’s way of playing and his philosophy and the type of character he’s recruiting. The fans will love it. They want an honest hard working team that tries to do the right thing and we’ll try and play as well.”

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