The easiest selection of the entire team. The 38-year-old made a slow start to his career when you consider his achievements of the last decade. Five league titles, three FAI Cups, two League Cups and two All-Ireland Cups were squeezed into the last 10 years, as well as some records in European competition. He remains the Lilywhite number one going into 2020.
The most consistent player in the League of Ireland, chosen in the team of the year for six years in-a-row by his fellow professionals. A move to a stronger league has somehow not materialised. At 27 he is only improving and on his way to becoming one of the best players to ever grace the Irish game.
A player that started the decade with Monaghan United and then Portadown, Gartland has been the rock at the heart of the Dundalk defence for their incredible success.
His goal threat as a centre-half has also been remarkable, reaching the 30-goal mark. His leadership has been a noticeable trait through the period of dominance for Dundalk.
When putting this team together, it is hard to avoid it turning into a Dundalk XI. Boyle was very impressive for the Lilywhites and earned a move to Preston after four seasons. Loan spells at Doncaster Rovers, Dundee and Ross County followed.
He won an Ireland cap, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Iceland in 2017. Now back at Dundalk, he has not had the same dominance but remains an important asset. Next season will be an interesting one.
There are a few candidates for this position, with Dane Massey among those who come close. But Bermingham has been operating at a high level for the entire decade. While the early part was certainly a peak, he is still a key part of the Saints side, where next year he is likely to become their record appearance holder.
Dundalk's key man over a number of seasons. Shields’ performances in midfield have earned rave reviews, adding different facets to his game each.
From being ferocious in a tackle to a passing range that improves each year and covering a remarkable amount of ground, he typifies this special Dundalk side that have dominated much of the decade.
In three seasons, the now Salford City man scored 55 goals for the Lilywhites, including 30 in 2015 that led to a move to Brighton and Hove Albion. Defenders, and midfielders, couldn’t cope with Towell as he burst forward, with his final appearance an appropriate one as his goal clinched the FAI Cup for Dundalk.
Injuries were a constant hindrance in O’Donnell career but when he did get out on the pitch, what a difference it made.
O’Donnell has led two sides to Europa League group stages, and it was at Oriel Park where it made the biggest impact. His class on the ball shone and often controlled games almost single-handedly for Stephen Kenny’s side.
Few strikers has been as prolific as Gary Twigg. He had one season in the previous decade but still had three campaigns that merit a place in this side that yielded 57 goals. Two league titles were won by the Hoops in that time, with Twigg the pivotal figure.
Stephen Kenny saw Hoban’s potential at Mervue United in 2013 as he scored 33 league goals in two seasons before securing a move back to England. It didn’t work out for the target man, but he returned to the Lilywhites, proving all doubters wrong with 29 goals. Last season was by his high standards quite disappointing but there is no doubt he is up there with the best strikers this decade.
Bursting onto the scene with Waterford United early in the decade, Maguire’s talent was clear to see. It took time to arrive in senior football again as West Ham United released him in 2015 when a loan spell at Sligo Rovers failed to ignite a spark. At Accrington he showed more glimpses and a brief spell with Dundalk again showed something. Eventually it was at Cork City where in 18 months he produced a scintillating run in front of goal to net over 50 goals. He has since gone on to represent Ireland and injury has stifled his progress.
- Alan Mannus
- Dane Massey
- Gavin Peers
- Joseph Ndo
- Greg Bolger
- Daryl Horgan
- David McMillan