After plying his trade in the UK for the past two-and-a-half years, Andy Boyle’s ‘Second Coming’ was confirmed on Monday afternoon when he was unveiled to the local and national media at the Youth Development Centre at Oriel Park.
The Irish international won every domestic honour available during a four-year spell with the Lilywhites and played a starring role in helping the club to the Europa League group stages in his final campaign back in 2016.
A move to Preston North End followed but the departure of manager Simon Grayson saw Boyle left out in the cold and mixed loan spells at Doncaster and north of the border with Dundee and Ross County followed.
With his contract at Preston up, an opportunity presented itself in recent weeks and even though Boyle had offers to stay in the UK, Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth said that it was important the club didn’t miss out on the chance to bring ‘one of their own’ back home.
“When we heard Andy became available, it was important that we didn’t let a player of that quality, who is one of our own, pass through our hands. It’s a massive signing for us. He is a top, top player. We believe we have a real team ethos at this club and Andy fits that,” Perth told Dundalk Sport.
“As a centre-back, he has another two or three years before he reaches his peak. He has huge experience, he has been capped by Ireland and was one of our standout players in the 2016 European run. I’ve always said that if good players become available that we think can improve the squad, then we would be in for them and that was the case here.”
Boyle, who will have to wait until July 1st for his paperwork to go through, will compete with Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary and Stephen Folan for a place at the heart of the Dundalk back-four and Perth said the Dubliner was relishing the challenge.
“Like any player, Andy has to fit in,” said Perth. “We’re in a really strong place in terms of the centre-back position so he has a job ahead of him and he has embraced that.
“He did some fitness testing this morning,” he added. “It’s obviously his off-season but he’s been doing a bit of work. His body fats are very good and his fitness levels are very good.
“He’s a little bit off where the rest of the players are but that’s understandable and it’s nothing major that can’t be fixed over the next couple of weeks. When his paperwork goes through, he’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Perth also paid tribute to the club’s American owners who gave the green light to complete the deal.
“The owners have definitely backed us on this,” he said. “Because of where Andy was coming from, and because he was here before, he fits into our budget and pay structure so we have been very careful and prudent in that sense. We haven’t got out on a limb.
“When you sign a guy that’s coming out of a Championship club like Preston, it’s very difficult to get them in under budget, and in the pay structure but Andy does both because, one, he wanted to come home and, two, he knew the structure at the club. It’s a massive boost for everybody.”
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