Sport Soccer

Friday 24 March 2017

Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny regrets decision not to play Europa League ties at the Aviva

Manager of Dundalk Stephen Kenny in attendance during a Dundalk Press Conference at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Manager of Dundalk Stephen Kenny in attendance during a Dundalk Press Conference at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

DUNDALK manager Stephen Kenny has admitted that he would prefer if his side were playing their Europa League group games in the Aviva Stadium.

The League of Ireland champions welcome Maccabi Tel-Aviv to Tallaght tomorrow as they seek to build on their impressive opening night draw away to AZ Alkmaar.

Kenny's side had to move away from their Oriel Park base because it failed to meet the necessary regulations and Tallaght needed significant refurbishments to bring it up to the required level.

Those changes have cut the capacity to a figure in the region of 5,200 with extra VIP and media seating reducing the quantity of general admission seating.

The cost of renting the Aviva in addition to fears about attendances led to the conclusion that the smaller venue was the right fit with UEFA part of that consultation process.

But the Dundalk boss wanted to go back to Ballsbridge despite the fact that the Lilywhites did suffer a crucial 2-0 loss to Legia Warsaw there which ultimately cost them in their Champions League play-off.

"The bigger venue the better for me," said Kenny speaking in Tallaght today ahead of his team's pre-match training session. "I feel the players I have belong on a bigger stage and they've showed that in this run.

"I know the train of thought which thinks that it (Tallaght) is a tighter stadium and could have a better atmosphere but I don't agree with that. They played very well there against Legia even though we were beaten."

Kenny will have to cope without suspended captain Stephen O'Donnell tomorrow evening but he expect that injury doubts Sean Gannon and John Mountney will be available to play the Israeli side.

Maccabi warmed up for the game with a hugely impressive 5-0 win over local rivals Hapoel at the weekend. However, they sit bottom of the group after giving away a 3-0 lead in their dramatic clash with Zenit St Petersburg that ended in a 4-3 success for the Russians.

"We've earned the right to be here and we're fully aware that a win will put us first or second in the group," said Kenny. "That is our intention."

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport