Nathan Boyle played a major role in getting Maginn Park up to standard for the arrival of League of Ireland football this season and he's been a key player as Derry City registered two wins from their opening three fixtures at their new base in Buncrana.
The bustling striker set the venue alight with a sublime individual goal which sparked Derry City’s comeback against the champions, Dundalk in the 3-1 win in early March. He also led the line as the Candy Stripes romped to a 4-0 win over Drogheda United five days later.
Boyle, a self-employed construction worker, assisted in the upgrading of the Buncrana venue in the close season when installing the perimeter fence surrounding the pitch, the press box and fixing external walls. And now he’s laying the foundations to what promises to be a fruitful season at his hometown club's temporary home in Donegal.
He was already familiar with City’s stadium for the duration of the 2017 Airtricity League campaign and clearly feels right at home. In the absence of the injured Rory Patterson who faces up to three months on the sidelines with a broken ankle, Boyle will be expected to carry the goalscoring burden as Kenny Shiels' troops look to bounce back from two consecutive defeats at the hands of Bray (2-3) and Cork City (3-0) when they host rivals Finn Harps tomorrow night.
The 23 year-old, who spent a season on loan with Harps, played mostly from a wide position with City last year, making his eight goal total all the more impressive. He was quick to point out after his double in the 4-1 win against Bohemians at Dalymount in the season opener, that he was the club’s second highest scorer last year behind Patterson.
He came off the bench as a replacement for the injured Patterson at Dalymount, netted goals in either half against the Gypsies and hasn’t looked back since.
Shiels has played him in his favoured position, leading the City attack and he’s delighted to be making the most of his latest chance and he's hoping to add to his tally against Ollie Horgan's men at Maginn.
“I have to believe in myself,” Boyle declared.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing, I’m scoring, I’m fit. I didn’t really think I would get this start to the season as I had a lot of injuries in preseason. Rory (Patterson) was playing well and I got in a bit sooner than I thought.
“I think I’m taking my chance and hopefully I can keep scoring.”
With a working background like his, it is perhaps not a surprise Boyle’s emphasis is on hard graft’.
“Everybody worked hard to a man. There’s nobody who doesn’t work hard. We know what it’s like to go from a high to a low so we’ll work hard and see what happens.”
Boyle will be fondly remembered by Finn Harps supporters for the part he played in helping the club to promotion in 2015.
The striker, on loan from Derry, chipped in with some important goals, including one in the semi-final play-off win over UCD in Ballybofey.