'It was difficult for any team to live with us' - Kenny

By Stephen Leonard

DUNDALK FC manager Stephen Kenny has cited the level of consistency his side has shown as the primary factor behind their latest successful Airtricity League campaign.

The Tallaght man has now led the Lilywhites to an amazing four titles in five seasons with the prospect of a double still very much alive as they prepare for their FAI Cup Final showdown with Cork City in the Aviva on November 4.

Stephen Kenny DSC 3511

The title was secured with three matches to spare on Friday night when they clinched 1-1 draw with a battling St Patrick’s Athletic team after Patrick Hoban served up a last minute equaliser.

Yet even had they not earned that point, the title would have been theirs given that Cork - the only team to have the remotest chance of catching them - were forced to settle for a scoreless draw with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium that same evening.

It was a great night for Kenny, his coach and fellow Tallaght man Vinny Perth and local players Brian Gartland, Dane Massey and Chris Shields all of whom have been integral to the success of side.

Delighted at seeing his team secure the prize, Kenny told The Echo: “It was fantastic to win the title again and the manner in which we did it.

“It [losing the title last year] was a big motivation for us to go and win it this season.

“It was pretty even up to the halfway point of the season, but to go 16/17 games unbeaten, being so consistent, it was difficult for any team to live with us

“Every season is different. You have to earn the right to lift the title. One year we lost just one game on our way to the title in 2015, then in 2016, when we had that run in Europe, we won it having lost six matches.

“This season Cork stayed with us up to the midway point, but they couldn’t sustain that and we kicked on and showed the quality that we have in this side.

“Dundalk does stack up with the great teams in the league. We have lost some players who have gone on to play for Ireland, and brought in new players some of whom have now won their first league title,” he pointed out.

Looking back on this season’s campaign, Kenny pointed to their encounters with Cork as pivotal in the title race.

“The three wins out of four that we got against Cork were so important, particularly that victory in Turners Cross.

“The win we had in Oriel Park was very important. It was a last minute goal and it put us top.

“We’ve now got three league games left and the [FAI] Cup Final. The opportunity to play in the Aviva Stadium has been a big motivational factor for these players. We’ve won and lost it there so hopefully we can go a win this time,” he added.

As for the coming season, Kenny is hopeful he can keep his title-winning outfit intact insisting “We won’t be making wholesale changes. Continuity is very important.”

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