Saturday 18 November 2017

Kenny well on the way to exorcising his Rovers demons

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny

Garry Doyle

Tomorrow Stephen Kenny returns to Tallaght, his home for 18 years, his workplace for nine months.

He's a different man now to when he was there in September 2012 clearing his desk after being sacked for a third time, told he had lost the dressing-room, aware he was in danger of losing respect.

There and then he could have been forgiven for walking away from the game. After all, he had a family to consider, a family who had followed him around as he moved from one job to the next, first from Dublin to Derry, then across to Scotland and then back to Derry.

At Rovers, a stone's throw away from where he grew up, he hoped not just for glory but also to bring his wife and four children back home.


But results didn't match expectations and for three months, as speculation surrounded his future, he and his wife Siobhan wondered whether to move or stay put.

In a nutshell, his team's results were determining which schools Kenny's children attended. Yet this is the life Kenny has chosen for the last 16 years.

After being ditched by Rovers, he took a break from football for three months and considered everything. Prior to managing he ran a successful business, but selling meat wasn't a passion. Football was.

So Dundalk's invitation in December 2012 to return to the most insecure profession in the country was too good to turn down.

Prior to his arrival, Dundalk were in a mess, relying on a relegation play-off to avoid the drop and on their players' good nature to accept not being paid for a week that season.

Kenny rebuilt the team as well as the town's morale and his stature as a managerial go-to guy. Rovers, though, remains the nightmare he'd like to put to bed once and for all. Tomorrow is his chance to do so.

Irish Independent

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