Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has dedicated his PFAI Manager of the Year award to his coaching and medical staff at Oriel Park.
Kenny became the inaugural winner of the award, which was voted for by the 20 Airtricity League club managers, when he picked up the gong at the Hilton Hotel in Ballsbridge on Friday night and speaking on Monday afternoon he said he was honoured to have been recognised by his fellow managers.
“It is special when you are given an award by your peers and it is an honour to be voted Manager of the Year by my fellow coaches”, he said.
“It is reflective of the season we just had and more than anything, it is a reflection of the fine staff I have at Dundalk.
“This award is as much for the likes of Vinny Perth, Gerry Spain, Graham Byrne, Paul Cheshire and Dr Samir. I’m the manager but we are a collective team.”
Kenny was present to see Richie Towell collect his PFAI Young Player of the Year award while Patrick Hoban and Andy Boyle were named in the PFAI Premier Division Team of the Year.
New Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill stated on Saturday that he would be keeping an eye on the League of Ireland for potential new recruits and Kenny believes those three Dundalk players certainly have the potential to break into the international set-up in the future.
“In a four year period when I was at Derry City we had eight players go on to become full internationals. A lot of them are making a living by playing professional football in the UK so I think I am well placed to make an assessment of who can go and play at that level. The lads we have here at the moment certainly have potential so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Regarding new additions, Kenny said that nothing was imminent but that he expected ‘another three or four’ players signed before Christmas although he had still yet to decide on the size of his squad for 2014.
“That will depend on economics”, he said. “I think we will have less, numbers wise, than the season just finished but we have a number of players in the U19s who we are hopeful of bringing through. We have continuity, which is very important, so we don’t need a radical overhaul.”
Players like Mark Quigley and Eamon Zayed have been linked with a move to Oriel Park but Kenny said that any additions will be down to the size of his playing budget.
“When we signed a lot of the players at the start of the 2013 season they would have come in in relatively low wages. Naturally they have earned better terms with their performances so that automatically increases the playing budget straight away.
“We have extra competitions next year with the Europa League and the Setanta Cup so we could play up to 50 games. That poses difficult challenges but we should be thinking ambitiously about being in those competitions”, he added.
The Dundalk boss also spoke about members of last season’s squad such as John Dillon, Tiarnan Mulvenna and John Sullivan who have still to decide on their future.
“Players don’t really want to sign on if they are only going to be peripheral figures and I can understand that. They want to know where they are in the pecking order so some of them are waiting to see what happens.”