Sunday 21 January 2018

Phoney war is over Kenny eyes Setanta

DUNDALK may have tasted defeat against St Patrick's in the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday night, but as far as Stephen kenny is concerned the 2014 season starts next week.

Coleraine from the Irish Premiership are the visitors to Oriel Park for the first leg of their Setanta Sports Cup tie and the Lilywhites boss isn't concerned that his team will be going into that game on the back of a loss.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, he said: 'Ultimately we are in five competitions this year - the League, FAI Cup, EA Sports Cup, Setanta Cup and Europe - and they are the main ones.

'The Leinster is a good cup for blooding players and I won it two years ago with Shamrock Rovers, but it was not an objective for Dundalk to win it. We put the players through a pretty tough training session on Sunday which you would not normally do the day before a game.

'I was very happy with how the game went. David McMillan scored a great goal which will give him a lot of confidence, Simon Kelly has come in and done well and the midfield three of Horgan, O'Donnell and Towell were very good, so we can be encouraged by that, but the real stuff starts next Monday.'

Assistant manager Gerry Spain has watched Setanta opponents Coleraine on two occasions in recent weeks and they are currently on a run of six games unbeaten in the league - the latest a 2-0 win at Dungannon Swifts on Monday night - which has boost their top-flight survival hopes.

'They play Portadown this weekend and we'll get a look at them again then,' Kenny went on, 'but I know all the players anyway from living in that part of the world and would have seen them a good bit over the last few years.

'They have quite a strong team on paper and it would be dangerous thinking to imagine that we could put the tie to bed in the first leg. We can't get ahead of ourselves, and the away goal is a factor just as it is in Europe. Clean sheets are a prerogative in the Setanta Cup.

'It will be a test going straight in against Coleraine, but we'll be looking to peak over the next couple of weeks.'

The depth of Dundalk's squad could be tested for the visit of Coleraine - kick-off next Monday is at 7.45pm - as four defensive players are currently nursing knocks. Brian Gartland (slight medial ligament damage), Andy Boyle (groin strain), and Chris Shields (knee) didn't play any part in the St Pat's clash, while Sean Gannon had to come off with a slight hamstring strain.

Nevertheless, the Lilywhites will be expected to take some sort of a lead into the second leg which takes place at the Showgrounds on Monday March 10th.

Round two of the EA Sports Cup takes place the same night, and because of Dundalk's European commitments this summer they have been handed a bye into round two where they will face either Drogheda United, Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne or Bray Wanderers.

The Argus

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