- Thursday January 26th, 2017 @ 16:13
New Recruits: Peers Ready For 'New Challenge'
As part of a series of interviews with some of our new signings, stpatsfc.com sat down with defender Gavin Peers this week.
'Peersy' signed for the Saints from Sligo Rovers in the off season.
He made over 350 appearances for Sligo between 2006 and 2016 and was no stranger to silverware.
A League of Ireland Premier Division title, three FAI Cups, a League Cup and a Setanta Cup to be exact!
He's planning to add more trophies to the collection with St Pats, but began by telling us why he made the move to Inchicore.
"It was a really hard decision to be honeSt My family moved back home to Dublin 18 months ago due to a couple of different circumstances, we needed to get my son into a school in Dublin so I found it quite tough last year. I did a lot of travelling between Sligo and Dublin and to be honest I was quite lonely."
"I enjoyed the training and the football but when we'd finish training I'd find myself lying in bed on my own and that's when I got quite down."
Sligo had offered the 31 year old a two year contract extension, that Peers was "thinking of taking" but that changed when Liam Buckley rang.
"Liam made me feel wanted and I think I needed a new challenge myself. I'm back home living in Dublin for the first time in 15 or 16 years."
Life after football was also on Gavin's mind.
"I need to start thinking about life after football, there are some things you can do in Sligo but a lot more things to get done and to keep busy in Dublin in terms of life after football, which is something I need to think about as I know I won't be playing on forever."
St Pats under Liam Buckley have been known for playing a passing style of football, out from the back.
Given his experience, Peers knows there are different ways of playing.
"I'm used to playing either way. Under Cooky (Paul Cook) and Ian Baraclough at Sligo, we liked to play out from the back but we had the players to do that which is very important. Some of my other managers looked for us to go a little bit longer at times."
Keeping the ball out of the St Pats net is his main aim.
"At the end of the day, I'm a defender and I'm there to keep clean sheets and of course if I can help things from an attacking point of view, I'll do that."
The Saints have also added to experience of Pat Cregg, who joined from Shamrock Rovers, Kurtis Byrne from Bohemians and Barry Murphy, also from Shamrock Rovers along with younger stars like Alex O'Hanlon. Liam Buckley also retained the likes of long term Saints Ian Bermingham, Christy Fagan and Conan Byrne to name just a few.
So what does Peersy think of the squad?
"We have a really good mix in the group and you can see that with how good the first couple of weeks of pre season have been. We are all still getting to know each other but there's been a really good tempo to the sessions so far which is a good sign."
"Kurtis scored some great goals last season for Bohs and he's capable of doing the same for us. I played with Padge (Pat Cregg) when we were young lads at Stella Maris, he's got a lot of experience and will get us playing in central midfield."
The pre-season training is being led by new First Team Coach Ger O'Brien, Darius Kierans and Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Kenneally, with a mix between football and fitness work, a good combination according to Gav.
"I'm enjoying it so far despite the running! It's a new challenge. I didn't have pre-season last year. I actually played the first eight games with a grade 2 tear in my quad, I'm not sure how I got through the games. I'm just looking forward to continuing pre season, getting fitter and playing some games ahead of the start of the league in February."
With the big kick off just five weeks away, the pundits will soon be giving their tips for 2017, something Gavin is not interested in paying attention to.
"You can't write anybody off in this league, the year we (Sligo) won the league, Drogheda finished 2nd. With lot of new squads every season, it's about who clicks quickeSt Cork kept a good few and will be quite strong again, Dundalk lost some and added some but to be honest we don't need to worry about anybody else, we just need to focus on ourselves and see where we go."
"Look at Dundalk for example, when Stephen Kenny started putting that squad together a few years ago, nobody would have said they'd do anything and look what they've done, so we'll keep building, keep working hard and try to challenge for some honours."
We'll catch up with goalkeeper Barry Murphy early next week.