Saturday 19 October 2019

Perth poised to take central role in Dundalk's new era

Perth: Set to become Dundalk boss. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Perth: Set to become Dundalk boss. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Vinny Perth is poised to take a central role as Dundalk recover from the loss of Stephen Kenny even though he lacks the qualifications to be officially appointed as manager.

Kenny's long-serving assistant has two years left on his contract at Oriel Park and the departed boss confirmed yesterday that he would not be bringing Perth or any staff with him to the FAI.

Instead, the Dundalk hierarchy are looking to his backroom team to drive the way forward with a view to maintaining continuity.

Former Longford and Dundalk midfielder Perth (42) is expected to assume a good deal of the responsibility but he does not have the Pro Licence required to manage at Premier Division level.

He has applied for a place on the forthcoming course, but being enrolled on that process is no longer acceptable when it comes to meeting criteria - and a special dispensation from the FAI is not thought to be a realistic option given that the course takes 18 months to complete.

However, Dundalk U-19 boss Mick Neville has the requisite qualifications and the main solution being explored at this juncture is a prominent role for the 58-year-old in a new structure.

Neville is a decorated ex-League of Ireland player who won six league titles across spells with Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Shelbourne and has gained extensive coaching experience with Shels and with the FAI where he has worked at U-17 level and as a Development Officer in Louth.

Opposition scout Ruaidhri Higgins is well regarded, and Dundalk are hoping that the strong influence of senior players will also smooth any transition. That is by far the preferred option ahead of bringing in a new number one.

Most of the double winning squad are signed up but Ronan Murray has left to sign a two-year deal with Sligo Rovers - the Mayoman was keen to move back west.

Dundalk released a brief statement yesterday thanking Kenny for his incredible six year stint. He admitted to some regret that the pace of events meant he was not able to tell players and some staff his big news before it became public knowledge.

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