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Despite connections to UCD and Shamrock Rovers, Andy Myler also ventured outside the capital to numerous other clubs during a career littered with goals. In a recent interview with ExtraTime.ie, Andy discusses his playing days and more.
Myler began his League of Ireland journey with UCD, where he contributed to 1994/95’s First Division title win: “UCD is an unbelievable place to start off football, with probably the best facilities in the country and playing with friends of the same age.”
When first-team opportunities diminished at UCD, the young forward pursued a fresh challenge with Newry Town in 1997: “Newry were in the First Division, but putting together a team to get promoted. I got 13 goals in 26 games, but the next year in the Premier, they bought players from all over and I was out of the team.”
Andy returned to domestic soccer, signing for Billy Baxter’s Monaghan United: “Monaghan was good for me, but we were usually down in the bottom half of the league. This belied the qualities of the lads. Some were coming towards the end of their careers, but could still play. Sometimes things go personally well, but not for the team.”
Myler then joined Athlone Town before the 2000/01 season, enjoying a prolific two seasons in the Midlands: “Some clubs you feel immediately comfortable … The lads you play with, the surroundings. St. Mel’s (Park) wasn’t glamorous, but it was tight, cosy and had an atmosphere. We didn’t go up that year, but should have. We led Dundalk by eleven points at one stage. I played up front with Stephen Mullen. He was quick, I wasn’t and I got a load of tap-ins, thanks to Stephen. He worked hard and I came in at the end.”
After Athlone, the Dubliner had a brief spell with Waterford United, but a longer contract didn’t suit either party: “I lived in Navan and travelled up and down to Waterford. The new manager, Jimmy McGeough, wasn’t mad about me and had his own ideas. They went up the following year, so he obviously had good ones. The driving was a killer, as there were no other Dublin lads playing there … I couldn’t keep doing that.”
2002 saw Andy at Drogheda United, where he shared a special bond with supporters and once described his time there as: “the happiest days of my career.”
“I liked playing at Drogheda even as an opponent ... United Park is just one of those grounds. I scored in my first game and it went from there. I held up my part of the bargain and banged in goals for the fans. I was disappointed to leave, but couldn’t commit to full-time football.”
Longford Town became Myler’s latest club, in 2005, but goals dried up for the normally proficient marksman: “Things didn’t go well because I didn’t want to leave Drogheda and it was surprising to make it into the following season. Alan Mathews, the manager, showed patience, but maybe he shouldn’t have because it didn’t work out.”
In his 30s, Shamrock Rovers supporter Andy received an unexpected call to sign for his boyhood idols: “When Pat Scully got in touch, I was as happy as Larry ... To do something that I always wanted. My family was delighted because they’re all Rovers fans as well. It was a pity that it came towards the end … That’s the only regret.”
While at the Hoops, Myler won the 2006 First Division and also became one of the all-time top 20 League of Ireland goalscorers: “Everybody wanted to beat Rovers ... Everywhere we went, teams upped their game. We were deducted three points, but still managed it. One look at the people on that list and you get a sense of achievement ... It’s nice to be up there with them.”
At Andy’s last club Bray Wanderers, he notched his 131st league goal during the final match of the 2008 campaign: “We played Drogheda … Absolutely perfect. Being taken off late in the game, it was good to say thanks to both sets of fans. At that stage I had slowed right up, you could say.”
Subsequent to retiring, Andy guided Shamrock Rovers’ A and U-20s teams to league wins in 2009 and 2010: “It was an exciting time at Rovers and easy to sign players because of the new ground and being in Europe ... One of my best times in football.”
On the back of those achievements and being part of Michael O’Neill’s first-team coaching staff, did Myler then feel ready to become a manager at a League of Ireland side?
“That’s where I saw myself, but sometimes life gets in the way … I was changing jobs and Michael left. Stephen Kenny came in and went with his own staff. The next opportunity didn’t really come along. In the last few years there have been ways to get back involved, but I’d be picky about what I’d want to do and who to work with. It hasn’t happened yet, but who’s to say that it won’t in the future.”
As a regular critic of the FAI on social media, Andy concludes by bemoaning their handling of the domestic game: “It’s haphazard and there doesn’t seem to be any plan. They jump from one thing to another, haven’t done anything that the clubs didn’t already do and it hasn’t moved on one jot ... I could talk about it forever.”