When this reporter spoke to Stephen Kenny six days prior to Saturday night’s clash with Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds, the Dundalk boss spoke about the value of perseverance and playing right up to the final whistle.
“You can’t underestimate the value of persistence,” he said from behind his desk at Oriel Park. “The ability to get late goals is a real positive trait to have in your team,” he added.
Positive indeed. That trait is fast becoming a badge of honour of this Dundalk side and Kenny could have used those words again following his team’s late winner over the Bit o’Red. Dane Massey’s 92nd minute goal was Dundalk’s third late winner in as many games and gave them a significant win over one of their title rivals.
“The late goals are not an accident,” remarked Kenny outside the dressing room. “The players have the belief in themselves to keep going.”
It looked like Dundalk would leave the west with just a point to show for their efforts. After Ross Gaynor’s 10th minute sending-off, Sligo made themselves hard to beat and it almost paid off.
“It wasn’t our best performance,” said Kenny. “We started brilliantly but we found it tough when Sligo went down to ten men. Credit to them for the way they defended against us, they went deep and we couldn’t break them down.
“We created some good chances. John Mountney hit the post and Pat Hoban saw one saved on the line and then we got the goal in the end. It’s a big win for us.”
The victory moves Dundalk into third place. Two wins have come on the back of the derby loss to Drogheda United and Kenny is hoping to keep that momentum going when Bohemians visit Oriel Park on Friday night.
“We have a really big game coming up now on Friday night. I’ve been very impressed with Bohemians. I was at their game with Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park on Friday night and I haven’t seen such a big Bohs crowd in four or five years. It will be a good game.”