Furious Kenny turns spotlight on Cork for 'manufacturing' penalties
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny believes that title rivals Cork City have benefited from an 'outrageous' number of penalty decisions in the past 12 months and questioned why his side have not been awarded any spot-kicks in that period.
Kenny offered the views in an interview with his club's own website last night where he observed that this weekend is the anniversary of the last time his side was awarded a penalty in league action.
The Dubliner vented his frustration on the topic towards the end of last season and has gone further by running through the stats and claiming that other players in the league are successfully 'manufacturing' penalties with Kenny making an indirect reference to Cork star Sean Maguire.
And in a statement that is sure to cause a stir on Leeside, Kenny speculated that match officials in Turner's Cross were being influenced by the local crowd.
He remains frustrated over a first-half decision in the recent defeat to Cork where penalty appeals for a foul on Ciaran Kilduff were waved away.
The locals went on to win that game and extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.
In a piece entitled '13-0' - the total number of penalties awarded to Cork compared to Dundalk in the time-frame - Kenny started with the extraordinary line: "Quiz question: Who is Dundalk's penalty-taker? Our penalty-takers have been practising their penalties every Thursday for the last year with no reward.
"Would you say that the league champions in any other country in Europe who dominate their games would have no penalties in a full calendar year? It's really hard to believe.
"We haven't had a penalty since April 15 last year, which is amazing when you consider that we are the most successful team in the modern era and we dominate the majority of games.
"To not have a penalty in the league in a full calendar year is amazing. We have seen Ciaran Kilduff in Turner's Cross a couple of weeks ago denied an absolute certain penalty which would have made the game 1-1. We have seen countless other situations in that regard.
"Daryl Horgan will do well for Ireland for Martin O'Neill; however an amazing statistic is that in the three years he was at Dundalk he was the best dribbler in the league but he never fell for a penalty.
"It's an amazing statistic and it is hard to believe in that period that Cork City have had THIRTEEN penalties (the Dundalk website used the block capitals). THIRTEEN penalties. There's a huge disparity there. Thirteen penalties is outrageous."
Kenny argued that his team are being punished for honesty and referenced the late decision that went Cork's way in Tallaght recently when Sean Maguire converted a winner from the spot after going down under a challenge from Shamrock Rovers' defender Dave Webster.
"When we don't get a penalty for a year do I encourage my players to go down?" he continued. "I encourage my players to be honest.
"The values that are in the team means that we have won the league three years in a row and we have also won the 'Fair Play' award in each of those years.
"We are not going to encourage our players to go down. We have our values. In terms of the manufacturing of penalties the referees have to see through that.
"We have seen with the penalty Cork got against Shamrock Rovers a few weeks ago where Rovers lost 2-1 in Tallaght. That sort of manufacturing of penalties has to be stopped. They are being given too easily.
"There is a massive disparity in the decision-making process. Is it Turner's Cross? Why the disparity?
"As a club we must rise above that and we have had to contend with other things go against us this season. We must rise above that and win, be successful regardless.
"We want some evenness in that regard and there has to be a fairness attached to everything."