Last weekend saw Dartford host Tonbridge Angels at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Midfielder Paul Rooney featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:
Paul Rooney arrived at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park during the off-season after leaving Havant & Waterlooville, and is one of several versatile players to be brought in my Alan Dowson for this campaign.
The Republic of Ireland footballer did begin his career as a defender, before gravitating towards the middle of the park. And it’s a position that Paul is becoming more familiar with as each game passes, to the point that he likes to roam further forward to pose a threat on the opponents’ box… a feat proved in the recent FA Cup defeat at the hands of local rivals Welling United, where he was unlucky not to have scored.
Despite being suspended for the opening three games of the season, Paul has settled into his role at Dartford and has started six games on the spin to date.
However, despite being in good spirits at the time of our discussion, he’s found the move (to Kent) challenging…
“Yeah, all’s good Chris thanks for asking. But, this is the first time that I’ve been a part-time player since coming to England. So, it’s the first time I’ve had to work outside of the game, and after a couple of months (at the time of writing) I’m just about getting used to it.”
What’s he doing outside of the game then? “I’m working for one of the gaffer’s mates. I work for Esher Scaffolding at the moment.”
Despite enjoying his scaffolding job, Paul does have aspirations elsewhere after carrying out some additional work when he first arrived in Kent… “Yeah, I recently did some extra work on a big television production. I really enjoyed the experience and am thinking about the possibility of going into that world of work soon.”
For the moment though, he’s happy where he is. Afterall, Esher Scaffolding also helps him keep on top of his fitness routine and healthy eating habits… things which are vital for footballers, no matter what level they play at… “Esher Scaffolding has a gym and kitchen on site mate! So, when I’m not training at Dartford, that’s where I’m looking after myself.”
With his move to Dartford and part-time football having its challenges, why did Paul sign for the Darts?
“I signed for the club because, Dartford are a top club. They’re always up there in the mix for the promotion/play-off positions. I also signed because the gaffer and Jolls (Alan Dowson and Christian Jolley) did a good job selling me it. I’m looking forward to continuing working with them, as well as all the back room staff throughout this season.”
When he arrived back in July, Paul was really looking forward to playing in front of the Dartford supporters. Having made a few appearances now, does he have any words for them?
“I do Chris, yeah… As expected, the support has been great. I can only imagine that, as we as a team gel and get better, the support will get better. So, please keep up the noise and support because, it really makes a difference.”
Faith or Superstition?
A bit of both to be honest.
FA Cup victory in the First Round proper, which was live on BT Sports (Paul was playing in defence for Dover Athletic, as they beat Southend United 1-0).
Biggest Influence In Your Career?
My Dad, Fran.
Best Goal Scored?
My first professional goal (Paul came off the bench to score for Torquay United in a 3-1 win against Gateshead in 2017).
Most Under-Rated Player You’ve Played With?
Jamie McGrath (Attacking Midfielder currently at Aberdeen). He should be playing in the Premier League.
Most Under-Rated Player You’ve Played Against?
I’m not sure about this one!
Biggest Influence In The Dressing Room?
I don’t think there’s just one person (in this dressing room), it’s a solid group that’s together.
If you were to be involved with a five-a-side tournament, and had to select the best players you have played against, which five players would you choose?
In goal would be Caoimhin Kelleher (at Liverpool), in defence Ethan Pinnock (at Brentford) when he was at Forest Green Rovers. The midfield would be Mathias Jensen (at Brentford), and the attack would be Matej Vydra (at Viktoria Plzen) and Ivan Toney (at Brentford), but when he was at Peterborough United.
By Chris Palmer