Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dundalk take no solace from bigger picture

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The Dundalk dressing room has long since passed the stage where the players take any satisfaction from praise following a defeat.

Thursday night's loss to AZ Alkmaar was a punch in the stomach for Stephen Kenny's side as it takes their Europa League destiny out of their own hands.

The outside observer will tell them that having a chance of qualification heading into their final match is laudable.

But they go to Israel knowing that their result will matter if group winners Zenit St Petersburg are motivated enough to beat AZ away in Holland.

"I understand the sentiment," said Kenny when a visiting journalist suggested that Dundalk should still be proud.

"We haven't achieved what we wanted - to put ourselves in a position to qualify. Certainly, we want to make sure that we go to Israel and give ourselves a real chance of winning. Whether it's enough, we don't know. For the first time, it's not in our hands."

Midfielder Ronan Finn was in similar form. "I hate moral victories," he said. "You have them throughout your career. People are proud of you. 'Yis did great' and the family are great, the girlfriend's great. But nobody is going to tell me to enjoy being beaten. You can't be proud of getting beaten.

"But it would have been the worst feeling ever if we were going to Maccabi with nothing to play for. It's still game on."

Dundalk will travel to England next week to play a friendly and Kenny reckons they have another big game left in them. "You wouldn't bet against us," he said.

Irish Independent

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