Friday 24 November 2017

Hard-working Lilies deserve to end trophy famine - Kenny

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny will complete a full set of domestic honours if he can steer the club to Setanta Cup glory in Tallaght this afternoon, but he will find stern resistance from a Sligo Rovers dressing-room where several players have the same ambition.

While Rovers have perhaps become accustomed to picking up silverware, Kenny is determined to get Dundalk into the habit.

Their 2002 FAI Cup was their last major trophy – the First Division title in 2008 doesn't come into that category – and the Dubliner is aware of the desperation to end that wait, paying tribute to the current ownership that have brought about improvement.

"I think the club hadn't been in the top four in almost 20 years up until last year (since Dermot Keely's title-winning side of '95) and it's 12 years since a major trophy," he says.

"Credit to the people running Dundalk. They took on a club with an amount of debt and they didn't go into administration, drop into the First Division and start again.

"They're ordinary, hard-working people (led by local businessman Ciaran Bond). They start their own business every day at 6.0am and work late, and we have that work ethic right through the group.

"For a lot of players, it will be a first final. My main motivation would be to see this group of players – the starting XI last week, none of them have won a trophy – to see the work they've put in and how far they've come to be rewarded.

"The town itself and surrounding regions have really got behind the team in the past year or two and we'd like to see how far we can go with it. The best way to do is to try and bring a bit of success, and bringing a trophy home to Dundalk would be great for all the people who've put a lot of time and effort into trying to rebuild the club."

The hierarchy at Oriel Park are irked by persistent criticism of their artificial pitch and are considering a range of options to improve it. In the short term though, they believe that achieving good things on the pitch can be the catalyst for growth.

SLIGO ROVERS V DUNDALK,

LIVE, SETANTA IRELAND, 4.0

Irish Independent

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