Institute's Eamonn Seydak decides to call it a day
Having suffered two relegations in his first season in senior football, Eamonn Seydak has decided to end his career as a title winner.
It’s a case of 13 memorable years and get out on a winning note.
The experienced defender has decided to hang up his boots but revealed he’s happy with his decision after winning almost every trophy you can in the Irish League during spells with Cliftonville and Institute.
The 32-year-old, who was part of the Finn Harps squad which was relegated way back in 2005, moved to ’Stute in January 2006 where he again suffered relegation from the Irish League Premier League. However, to his credit the left-back bounced back to forge a stellar career.
“Felix Healy gave me my debut against Cork City in 2005 and he was brilliant with me. He told me to go and enjoy myself and gave me the confidence to go and play,” states Seydak.
“That Cork side went on to win the league. In fact they defeated Derry City on the final day. They had players like Joe Gamble, George O’Callaghan, Denis Behan, John Flynn and Dan Murray - that was a quality team but as I said, Felix just told me to go and enjoy it, which I did.
“Unfortunately we got relegated that season and I went to ’Stute where, yes, I got relegated again! That meant I had been relegated twice but, jokes aside, that was my first taste of senior football and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Seydak played his part the following season in helping the Drumahoe men regain their top flight status before he made the move to Cliftonville. Whilst at Solitude he won virtually everything the League had to offer and also faced Celtic in the Champions League in what was one of the memorable experiences of his career.
During his seven year spell with the North Belfast men, Seydak made 176 appearances, collecting two Danske Bank Premiership winners’ medals and playing his part in a brace of County Antrim Shield victories as well as a record-breaking four consecutive League Cup crowns.
He admits he’s now a Reds fan for life and was cheering on his old club in last month’s Irish Cup Final defeat to Coleraine.
“I really enjoyed my time with Cliftonville. The saying is ‘once a Red always a Red’ and that’s definitely the case for me,” he insists.
“I played with some great players and worked under a lot of top managers. We won everything, bar the Irish Cup, and to be honest, that cup final against Glentoran, when we lost 2-1 in 2013, is the only time I would have turned the clock back because we never turned up that day. That’s the only game which still annoys me to this day.
“Apart from that, every minute at Cliftonville was brilliant. I’m still friends with a lot players from those squads and it was a tough decision to leave but I had suffered a bad injury and was out for around 18 months, so I decided to make the move back closer to home and return to Institute.”
Seydak, who is a Consultancy Director at consultancy company ‘S3 Solutions’, admits that work commitments and spending more time with his wife Louise and son Ethan, means that football had to take a back seat.
“Work has really started to pick-up and I want to spend more time with the family, so I told Paddy I couldn’t commit fully to ’Stute and because I know what it will take in the Premiership, I just decided to call it a day,” he confirmed.
“I’ll be over every week at the Brandywell with the wee man supporting them and I told Paddy, if he wants me to maybe go to other games and get a report on teams for him, I’ll be up for that.
“Like Cliftonville, I will always have a soft spot for ’Stute. Last season, when I joined them, I said to Louise ‘This will be great. I’ll be home early and just go over the road to play and train.’ Unfortunately within a few weeks not only was the club homeless after the floods but my house was also flooded.
“After the floods, we met up as a team and stood in a circle with Paddy saying, ‘Do we lie down and accept this or do we stand up and try to achieve our aim, which is winning the title?’.
“The crazy thing was that the very next night we went to Ballyclare Comrades and got hammered 6-1 and that was probably the worst week ever.
“However I knew we had a special group at ’Stute because after that Ballyclare game, Mickey McCrudden came up to me on the bus on the way home and said the boys had done a whip-round and gave me a few pounds because my house was flooded.
“Now while I knew a few of the players having played with some of them before, most of the squad was new to me. So for them to make such a gesture was amazing and I knew then we had a special group.
“In the end I’m delighted to have won the league for ’Stute and finish by helping get them back in the Premiership.”