Dundalk FC midfielder Sean Murray has been named the SSE Airtricity League/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month for October, after the influential midfielder hit three goals last month as Dundalk embarked on their UEFA Europa League group stage campaign.
The former Watford and Colchester United player, who turned 27 last month, hit the opening goal in Dundalk’s win over Faroe Islanders Klaksvikar-Itrottarfelag-Klaksvik at the Aviva Stadium before scoring the first goal of the group stages in the 1-2 defeat to Molde at Tallaght Stadium.
In between, Murray scored an early goal in the 2-1 league win over Derry City at the Brandywell, a result which ultimately ensured the Lilywhites finished third in the league – meaning qualification for next seasons UEFA Europa League was secured.
The Hertfordshire-born player had previously scored against Sheriff Tiraspol in the third qualifying round of the Europa League in July – three of his four goals in all competitions in 2020 were scored in October as he emerged as a key figure in Filippo Giovagnoli’s side on three fronts.
Murray scored three goals in 34 games in his debut season last year, but has managed four in 16 appearances this term. He is a former Republic of Ireland Under 21 international.
He is the first Dundalk player to win in this truncated season. In 2019, Sean Gannon, Dan Cleary and Michael Duffy all won the award for their performances in a league and league cup winning season last year.
Speaking on Thursday after being presented with his award, Murray said: “I’ve only been nominated for this award once before, so it’s good to be recognised.
“It has been a tough year. We haven’t done as well as we had hoped in the league, but there is still a lot to play for so hopefully we can end it on a high.
The midfielder finished ahead of Finn Harps goalkeeper Mark McGinley and Bohemians’ Danny Grant in the voting, as voting for by members of the Soccer Writers Association of Ireland.
“Winning the FAI Cup would be massive for us to get the confidence up going into next year and also to show that we haven’t dropped off too much,” he added.
“In Europe, we’ve now played all the teams in our group once. We did really well against Molde and Rapid Vienna and it would be great if we could pick up some points against them.”
Dundalk face Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Friday evening, in the FAI Cup quarter-final.