Wednesday 27 March 2019

Kenny's assistant Perth the early favourite to take reins

James Rogers

Dundalk FC are understood to be working behind the scenes to appoint a manager as soon as possible in the wake of Stephen Kenny's departure to become Republic of Ireland U-21 boss at the weekend.

The club eventually broke their silence on Kenny's departure on Monday afternoon, releasing a short statement that read: 'Dundalk FC wishes to congratulate Stephen Kenny on his appointment to be the Republic of Ireland Manager in 2020. The Club would like to take this occasion to thank Stephen Kenny for driving the amazing success achieved during his tenure. We understand that his next opportunity is one that he was going to find hard to resist, once offered, and everyone connected with Oriel Park wishes him the very best. His achievements at Dundalk FC have merited this opportunity and it is fully deserved.'

It is believed the Lilywhites want to keep a continuity going into next season, with Kenny's assistant Vinny Perth (pictured right with Kenny) understood to be Peak6's number one choice to take over the reins. While that would prove popular amongst the board, fans and players, the sticking point is that the 42-year-old has not got his Pro Licence.

An FAI official has confirmed to The Argus that Perth has applied to be on the next course but recent rule changes mean he must have completed it in order to hold a managerial post in the League of Ireland. The Irish Daily Star reported on Monday that Dundalk were set to seek a one-year dispensation from the FAI to allow Perth to take over but that would seem unlikely on the basis that it could open a can of worms for the association and also because of the fact that it's an 18 month course.

While there is sure to be plenty of interest in the vacancy on both sides of the Irish Sea, the preference for Perth to take over could mean someone appointed alongside him with the title of manager to work around the rules. One option mentioned is current Dundalk U-19 coach Mick Neville, who has a Pro Licence despite never having managed at senior level while another is Gerry Spain, who previously held the Assistant Manager title despite Perth fulfilling the role while he worked as an opposition analyst.

The need for a swift appointment is evident with pre-season training due to commence on January 4th. A number of players have already been left in limbo as a result of Kenny's departure. Dane Massey, who ironically played more under Kenny than any other Dundalk player, has been waiting to pen a new deal for more than a fortnight and is officially out of contract.

A decision on his future and that of Robbie Benson and Stephen O'Donnell is now believed to be on hold until the management situation is resolved. Kenny was known to be displeased that Massey's deal hadn't been sealed prior to his departure. Also following the new Ireland U-21 boss out of the door on Monday was Ronan Murray, who has penned a two year deal with Sligo Rovers.

The Argus