Goalscorer against AZ speaks about the importance of getting points on the board in the Europa League
Dundalk's goal hero against AZ Alkmaar, Ciaran Kilduff, says that for the players, Europa League progression outweighs the financial windfall from gaining points.
The forward was speaking to Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy ahead of the group clash against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Europa League.
His equalising goal against AZ was both valuable from a sporting and financial perspective for the club.
"The goal brings money but for us as a group of players, the point was invaluable for us in our quest to get out of this group. For me, obviously it was a lovely satisfaction from scoring such a big goal on such a big stage and what it meant for the first time an Irish club got a point in Europe," he said.
"I was with Shamrock Rovers and on a few occasions we took the lead in the odd game, we drew level in a few games and were never able to get a point. Now we've got a point on the board and we'll be looking for more points tomorrow night. That's the most important thing in the dressing room. It's not about the money, it's not about anything else. The money seems to be grabbing the headlines. I remember the next day, some of the lines in the paper were €120,000 for a goal, more than you win in a league. But for us, it was just a point that keeps us in a nice position in the group."
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In terms of how playing in Europe will help Dundalk financially in the years to come, Kilduff does not expect the club to make hasty decisions and sees steady progression as the way to go, especially in light of the tougher times for the club a few years ago.
"I think the important thing is Dundalk - I know it's been used a lot that 'rose from the ashes' quote - but they've had times [in the past] where they've been struggling to pay their players who are struggling to keep the gates open at times. So to turn it around quickly, I don't think they'll do anything too hasty. They've got some good men working at the club who will use the money wisely."
He also spoke about the possibility that one day, League of Ireland players can receive 12-month full-time contracts.
"In an ideal world, every player in the league should be on that. If you want to develop the league as a whole, that's how you go forward. It's very hard to attract fellas who are getting paid, whether it's 36, 40 or 42 weeks of the year - which is the highest in this league that you could probably get.
"From our point of view, nothing's really changed in terms of lengths of contracts. That will be whether the club decide themselves to go full-time. Then you look around and can you sustain a full-time club on one year's entrance to the Europa League? Maybe if you're doing it on a consistent basis, then maybe you can take the plunge or whatever you want to put it. But the rest of the league is going to stay the same. Everyone in the league didn't get that money. We got that money so if we go full-time, it's because we think we want to go full-time to maybe then go on to the next level."