Sport Soccer

Sunday 24 September 2017

Kenny: One of my Dundalk stars will play for Ireland

Stephen Kenny and Martin O'Neill at the launch of the Dundalk / DKIT partnership
Stephen Kenny and Martin O'Neill at the launch of the Dundalk / DKIT partnership
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

DUNDALK manager Stephen Kenny has told Martin O'Neill that he will be very disappointed if one of his young stars does not go on to represent Ireland at senior level.

The Ireland manager was at Abbotstown to pose for photos at the launch of the Lilywhites' partnership with the Dundalk Institute of Technology and invited Kenny into his office for a chat afterwards.

During his time as Derry City manager, Kenny worked with half a dozen players who went on to be capped by either the Republic or Northern Ireland - a group that includes David Forde, James McClean and Paddy McCourt.

And he believes there are players in his Dundalk squad who can also ascend to the international stage.

Kenny is preparing for the forthcoming League of Ireland season with the three nominees for last season's PFAI Young Player of the Year award in his dressing-room.

COMPENSATION

After retaining the highly rated Richie Towell and Pat Hoban, the Oriel Park hierarchy shelled out €10,000 in compensation to bring Cork's Daryl Horgan to the club.

"When I joined the club I said that one of the problems was that the last Dundalk international was Steve Staunton," said Kenny.

"I'd be disappointed if I didn't get an international out the current group.

"I'm not saying they'll play for Dundalk and Ireland in the one year, but what I will say is that I am confident one of them will play for Ireland."

Towell, who came home after coming through the ranks at Celtic and then being disappointed by his deployment on loan at Hibernian, has been tipped to go back across the water and succeed.

Kenny feels that the Dubliner has developed the work ethic to match his ability and is enthused by his potential.

"What he worked on himself, because he's driven, is the attacking side of his game," said Kenny.

"Richie showed a side of his play which forced me to change the way I think about him as a player and make sure I have to use him in an attacking sense.

"He's electric, he bursts forward and he scores goals of unbelievable quality."

Horgan (21) is a player Kenny has tracked since his teenage days at Salthill Devon. The winger's style and appearance have been compared to Damien Duff.

"He (Horgan) is not everyone's cup of tea - people have different opinions. But we wanted him to give us that extra dimension in the final third. He knows what he wants and that's a career at the highest level," said Kenny.

Kenny has added locals Mark Griffin and Simon Kelly to his squad. Griffin, who left Dundalk to join Derry 12 months ago, was among the out-of-work PFAI members who travelled to Norway earlier this month.

Another member of that squad, experienced striker Dean Kelly, is set to accept an attractive offer from Irish League outfit Ballinamallard United.

Irish Independent

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