Wednesday 28 September 2016

Dundalk can give hope to every small club in Europe - Kenny

Published 17/08/2016 | 02:30

“Champions of each country should have the opportunity to try and compete,” said Kenny. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
“Champions of each country should have the opportunity to try and compete,” said Kenny. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny believes that his team will provide inspiration to every club in Europe if they qualify for the Champions League.

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And the Dubliner feels that stories like their progression to within 180 minutes of the group stages is what the competition should be about - despite the plans of super clubs from the major leagues to increase their representation and shut out lower-profile operations.

The League of Ireland champions take on Legia Warsaw in the Aviva Stadium tonight in the first leg of a tie which will guarantee the winners €14m and progression to the big time.

"Champions of each country should have the opportunity to try and compete," said Kenny. "The wealthy clubs are trying to become wealthier. Smaller clubs can become marginalised.

"If we were to progress, that would be a sensational result and would give hope to every club in Ireland and every small club in Europe.

"In Ireland, it has ramifications not just for the league, but for people who love the game and are involved at all levels throughout the country. We are getting messages from everywhere. That's why it would be incredible to see where victory would take you."

Over 26,000 tickets have been sold and a large walk-up crowd is anticipated for the historic encounter.

Legia trained at the venue last night ahead of what has been interpreted as their dream draw as they seek to end a 21-year wait for the group stages in their centenary year.

Their domestic form is poor, but coach Besnik Hasi says Europe has dominated minds.

"When we drew Dundalk we were happy. But when Dundalk drew us, they were very happy too," he said. "Dundalk are not Juventus or AC Milan but neither are we."

Irish Independent

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