Friday 24 February 2017

Crossing codes paying off for former Kerry ace Dennehy

Neil Ahern

WITH September just around the corner, Billy Dennehy may well be the only Kerryman still in the hunt for a championship title -- but not the kind they are used to in the Kingdom.

The Tralee native was in flying form for Shamrock Rovers on Monday night with a man-of-the-match performance as they took another huge step towards a first League of Ireland Premier Division title since 1994 with a facile win over UCD.

Dennehy was once an extremely promising Gaelic footballer in a county that lives and breathes the GAA sport of the bigger-ball variety.

But the 23-year-old feels that his experiences this year with the Hoops have justified his decision to pursue a career in Association football.

"I was a Stacks man and played with the Kerry minors and stuff," said Dennehy. "But it came to the stage where I got offered the chance to go to Sunderland and when you are a young lad and you are offered the chance to go and play in England, it's not a hard decision.

"But since I've come home I'm enjoying my football now more than anywhere else I've been.

"At Cork City and now here I'm enjoying my football, off the pitch as well and that shows in training and on the pitch. All the lads get on great together. There is a great team spirit there. We need that for the run-in and hopefully it will continue that way."

Dennehy's boss Michael O'Neill was lavish in his praise for the former Cork City player, claiming that there is no better left-winger in the league, and stating that players of his ilk are crucial as the Hoops face a tense title run-in.

"He is a fantastic professional who works hard, and he's positive every time he gets the ball," said O'Neill.

"It's what gets the people excited; it's important here because sometimes the atmosphere here is quiet and you need players to generate that. Billy is one of those players."

Irish Independent

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