By Paul Holland
Midfielder Ryan McEvoy played schoolboy football with Home Farm and his local club WFTA in Finglas before signing for Bohemians in 2008. He spent six years at Dalymount and spent a season with Bray Wanderers as well as loan spells at Longford and Athlone. In 2016 Ryan played for Essendon Royals in Australia before signing for Drogheda at the start of this season.
Just before the break we had three scoreless draws against Bohs, Derry and Bray. What’s your take on those three games?
“Of course we should have scored in all three games, as we created numerous chances, but at the same time, we didn’t concede either. It’s always good to keep a clean sheet and to do so against top teams like Bray and Derry shows how good we can be. We had the better chances against Bohs even though they finished strongly in the end. You could say that the break came too soon for us, as we were playing well and had ended our poor run of form, when we lost to Cork and St. Pat’s. It’s so important not to lose to the teams around us.”
You started out in the league as a full-time professional with Bohs back in 2008.
“Yes I loved being part of a full-time set-up and started off playing reserve team football under Pat Fenlon. We won the reserve division two years in a row. To even train with the likes of Joseph Ndo, Glen Crowe, Jason Byrne, Glenn Cronin, Neal Fenn and Killian Brennan, was a fantastic experience and then to play for Bohs for six years was brilliant. I loved playing football for a living and being able to concentrate on the game. It’s much harder to be working and rushing off to training or playing a game after doing a full day’s work.”
Back then every team had a reserve team which is badly missed nowadays.
“The reserve team enabled players to regain match fitness after being out through injury or suspension. It was a great way for a manager to assess fringe players or those returning to full fitness. Of course it’s good to see clubs having the Under-15s,Under-17s and Under-19s but not having a reserve team is a big loss to any club in my opinion.”
What was it like in Australia playing for a team like Essendon Royals?
“It was brilliant as they looked after me in many ways. Accommodation and all bills were paid for by the club with a system of bonuses being paid for various results etc. They even organised a job for my girlfriend, Rebecca, who was able to work with children with special needs. I ended up doing landscaping of all things after a five minute conversation with a Serbian guy. We really enjoyed our time out there even if I was picking bananas all day at times!”
At the half way stage we are just above the relegation, in ninth place, a point ahead of Sligo Rovers. What do you think of the situation where three teams will be relegated from the Premier Division?
“Well if the league finished the way things are now, we would be losing three big clubs in Sligo, St. Pat’s and Galway! A team like Sligo bring in crowds of 1500 to 2000 spectators every home game so that would be a huge loss to the league if they were to be relegated. Waterford are spending a lot of money in an all-out effort to get promotion to the Premier Division. The bottom four or five teams are completely adrift half way through the season with Wexford, Athlone, Shelbourne and Longford already having nothing to play for.”
You came on as a sub in the first game against Dundalk in Oriel Park. They may be struggling a bit compared to the previous three seasons, but they are still in second place in the league.
“They are still as tough as a team to play against as anybody. After their outstanding success in recent years it was inevitable that there would be a lot of expectation on them. Cork have been absolutely brilliant this season but you still have to give Dundalk credit for being an outstanding team.”
How do you find playing on a tight pitch like United Park?
“I love playing at home as the atmosphere there with 800 fans at games can be as vocal and loud as 2000 in Tallaght. I love the way the crowd are on top of you there, which makes for a much better atmosphere.”
What is your ideal position for you on the pitch?
“What comes most natural to me is to play behind the striker. I like to get on the ball, be creative and take a few shots. Of course I’m willing to do or play wherever, but that would be my favourite position.”
You’ve played in the last three games. I saw you score a spectacular goal from 35 yards into the top corner on You Tube for Bohs against Monaghan in 2012. We could do with a few goals!
“I’d love to contribute more to my game by scoring goals! However my main aim is to try and stay in the team. There is plenty of competition for places.”
What did you make of the Ireland game against Austria on Sunday?
“I thought we were awful in the first half but should’ve won it in the second half. Again it’s about not losing to the teams around you in the group.”
You’re from Finglas, a place where many a good Drogheda player came from over the years! Players like the Geoghegan brothers (Stephen and Declan) and Synan Braddish came from Finglas.
“Yes a lot of well known soccer players came through my old school, Patrician College. Players like Ronnie Whelan, Frank Stapleton, Alan Moore, Pat Fenlon and Martin Russell all went to the school. At the moment myself and Luke Gallagher represent Finglas at the club!”