Carrying out due diligence on the League of Ireland was pretty easy for Archie Davies as he contemplated a move from England.
The new Dundalk defender has enough Irishmen - including current senior internationals - on speed dial from his time at Brighton.
After all, that’s a club whose links with this country predate Evan Ferguson’s dramatic rise to fame.
Davies played and lived with Warren O’Hora, the former Bohs man now at MK Dons while ex-Shamrock Rovers ace Danny Mandroiu was another former team-mate.
Ireland ace Jayson Molumby never played in the league but he and Davies remain close friends and Molumby put him in touch with enough people.
And Aaron Connolly, the forgotten man of Stephen Kenny’s squad, trying to piece his career back together at Hull City, was another who Davies played with regularly.
Ahead of tonight’s Louth derby, Davies told Mirror Sport: “It wasn't a complete shock coming over as I asked enough people about the league.
“Warren was buzzing when he found out I was joining Dundalk and was a great help. I also know Danny did very well here for Shamrock Rovers before joining Lincoln.
“Jayson Molumby was in my youth team and we still speak regularly, so there were a lot of Irish connections to lean on.”
Davies continued: “I’m delighted to see where Jayson’s career has taken him and he has always been the same player.
“Training with him when we were 16/17, he was still running around like a lunatic! He's a good lad off the pitch, but on the pitch he's a bit of an animal.
“I always thought he could get to this sort of level and I still think he has it in him to play in the Prem. He’s an animal and very passionate.
“And that's what I expected coming here, as he gave me an inkling of the passion that’s involved in Irish football.”
Davies added: “You see it with some of the tackles you're receiving or some of the crowds you're going to and it’s great.
“It still takes you by surprise and it hits you hard. I had a vague idea what it would be like but it has definitely lived up to what I thought it would be and more.”
Unlike some of his Dundalk team-mates who are stepping into men’s first-team football for the first time, Davies has been around that environment before.
The 24-year-old played in the League Cup for Brighton before permanent moves to Crawley and Aldershot
But the opportunity to play in Europe this summer was a big selling point for Davies to pack his bag and up sticks in January.
First, though, the objective is to help Dundalk develop a consistent streak having struggled for wins of late.
Their last league victory came against tonight’s derby rivals Drogheda at the end of March and that winless run has stretched to five games.
“Day by day you're learning, especially for me where I've come into a new league and a new country,” he said.
“I don't think it was ever going to be easy to hit the ground running but week by week, we're getting better and I don't think we're far away.”
And Davies added: “I’ve no regrets coming out here - it’s been a really good decision. If there were ever lads back home interested in the league, I’d highly recommend it.”
- James Lowe out of Leinster's Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Toulouse
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