Monday 5 December 2016

Louth GAA counting cost of Dundalk's incredible rise

Tom Rooney

Published 20/10/2016 | 02:30

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has led his side to great success Photo: Sportsfile
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has led his side to great success Photo: Sportsfile

Dundalk's recent success in the Europa League has thrust Louth into the wider sporting consciousness but, closer to home, the exploits of Stephen Kenny and Co have sparked a battle for young hearts and minds.

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Should Dundalk defeat Zenit St Petersburg at Tallaght Stadium this evening, they will move one point clear of the Russian outfit atop of Group D in the Europa League.

Furthermore, as the Lilywhites close in on their third consecutive Premier Division title, they have made a town boasting a population of less than 35,000 the unofficial capital of Irish domestic soccer.

Subsequently, young sports stars across the county are chomping at the bit for a place in their expanding academy, and sometimes to the detriment of previously held ambitions to represent Louth in Gaelic football.

Tutor

Colm Nally is a tutor with the Leinster Council, and has availed of the coaching awards offered to former players by the body.

Part of his remit is ensuring that promising young players graduate to the senior level.

An increasingly difficult task when the prospect of lining out Dundalk is a viable option for some footballers with dreams of emulating Messrs Horgan, Kilduff and Gartland.

"You'd have a lot of players part of Louth minor squads that are part of the Dundalk under-19s. They have the full first pull on them at the minute.

"They are following the dream. They have access to European football and are hoping to make the breakthrough.

"There would be four or five fellas that would have played on our recent minor teams who are now playing with Dundalk."

Irish Independent

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