Paddy Barrett, pictured during his last game for Dundalk against Shamrock Rovers in July. PICTURE: TOM BEARY

DFC | ‘The best days of my career’: Barrett bids farewell to Dundalk FC

Central defender leaves Oriel Park after two-and-a-half years

Paddy Barrett has described his time at Dundalk as the ‘best days of his career’ after confirming that he will not be making a return to Oriel Park in 2018.

The 24-year-old moved to Oriel Park from Galway United ahead of the 2015 campaign and went on to win two SSE Airtricity League titles, an FAI Cup, the President’s Cup and the Leinster Senior Cup.

Despite making 15 appearances this season, he moved to his hometown club, Waterford, on loan in July, and announced on his Twitter page this morning that he was officially leaving Dundalk.

Speaking to Dundalk Sport shortly afterwards, Barrett said that the Lilywhites would always hold a special place in his heart and he expressed his pride at playing an integral role in the club’s glorious European run last year.

The former Aberdeen and Dundee United defender played in all six of Dundalk’s Champions League matches and said his finest moment came when Stephen Kenny’s side hammered BATE Borisov to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League on an unforgettable night in Tallaght.

“It’s hard to pick one standout memory but I do think that was the one,” he agreed. “I’ve never felt anything like it after a match. Seeing the fans and the players celebrating at full-time like that was incredible.

“The night we won the league up there in 2015 was a great night, especially when we were waiting on the Cork result to come in, but it was only in front of a couple of hundred Dundalk fans.

“For the BATE game, there was 6,000 Dundalk supporters in Tallaght and people were watching it on TV around the country and all over Europe. I don’t think I’ll ever experience happiness like it again and if I do, I’m a very lucky man!

“To go from playing against Finn Harps in the first division for Galway to playing in front of 30,000 people in a Champions League Play-Off against Legia Warsaw was something special. It shows you just how crazy football is.”

Barrett lived in the town during his time with Dundalk and made plenty of good friends in the area.

“I’ve made friends for life at Dundalk,” he said. “It was a special team I played in and I’ll always try and stay in touch with the lads and the people there. We went away on a weekend to Liverpool there and it felt like I’d never been away from them!

“Dundalk is a club on the up and that’s great for the people of the town. I wish everybody there the best of luck and I’ll always be keeping an eye on how they are doing.”

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