Sunday 25 February 2018

Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny: Money never discussed ahead of BATE Borisov win

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has targeted group-stage European football for a long time
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has targeted group-stage European football for a long time

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny insisted money was never the motivation after his team's victory over BATE Borisov in the Champions League play-offs secured the biggest pay-day in League of Ireland history.

The Lilywhites are 180 minutes from the Champions League group phase, but have guaranteed group-stage European football no matter what happens by overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit to topple the Belarus side 3-1 on aggregate.

Tuesday night's win is already worth around £6million to the club, and that would double should they reach the lucrative group stages of Europe's premier club competition.

However, Kenny says the prize money was never a consideration for Dundalk.

"People may find it hard to believe, but money wasn't even discussed once within the team," he told RTE Radio.

"The main motivation for us, for me, it's a lifetime ambition to qualify for the group stage of European football and it's the culmination of a lot of work and for all of the staff and players it has been an ambition for the last couple of years to try and achieve that.

"Now that we're here and we have a chance to get into the Champions League, we must believe we can actually try and get there."

The Airtricity League champions will find out their opponents on Friday at the draw in Nyon, with Celtic among the possible potential opponents along with Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiacos and Salzburg.

And, with Dundalk's Oriel Park failing to meet UEFA requirements, Kenny would like to see the home leg of the tie switched to the Aviva Stadium.

He said: "There's no place in the Louth region where you can play. It's not my decision - it's for people behind the scenes in the club - but I would like to play in the Aviva Stadium and fill it.

"It depends on a lot of reasons. We'll play anywhere. We've had that attitude.

"Our away form has been absolutely exceptional over the last few seasons. We went away to Hajduk Split and won. We've won against Jeunesse Esch away.

"We've had some good performances in Borisov. We have no problem going anywhere. To fill the Aviva or come close to filling it would be fantastic."

Press Association

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