Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has heaped praise on his team’s relentless pursuit of league leaders St Patrick’s Athletic.
The Lilywhites moved to within one point of the Saints following Friday night’s 3-1 win over Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park and Kenny said that his team had the bit firmly between their teeth as they approach the business end of the season.
“We’re relentless every week in the effort that we’re giving and in the pursuit to win matches”, said Kenny.
“We are trying to build from the foundations up. Everybody at this club is on a journey and where it takes us we will have to find out. We have come a long way in a short period of time but we don’t want to stop now.”
Kenny’s side have taken 16 points from a possible 27 out of fixtures against their other title contenders and he feels this return could prove crucial come the end of the season.
“The difference with us and other cubs around us is that we’ve beaten the top teams”, he said.
“Other teams that have flattered to deceive in recent years have maximised their points against the bottom teams. We’ve beaten all the top teams now and we don’t fear anyone.
“We took 21 points from our first series of games and 22 from our second but we didn’t win the opening game of those rounds so this result has given us a great fillip.”
A brace from Patrick Hoban and a clinical strike from Kurtis Byrne saw off Kenny’s former employers on Friday night.
The duo, who had never kicked a ball in the League of Ireland top flight before this year, have now scored 16 league goals between them this season.
“Pat pounced on a mistake and it was a really cool finish for the first goal”, remarked the Dundalk boss.
“His second goal was a real number nine’s goal. He has great heading technique and he really buried it, he lifted the net with the header.
“Kurtis is also getting amongst the goals at the minute. He has scored some really important and big goals for us this season including two winners against St Patrick’s Athletic, the winner against Bray and now one tonight.
“The players were magnificent”, he continued. “It was a very convincing win against a very strong Shamrock Rovers side. We were worthy winners, created a lot of chances and fully deserved to win the game.”
Kenny also lavished praise on his side’s defending on the night with makeshift left-back Chris Shields at the forefront of his thoughts.
“Earlier in the season we were conceding goals but we are much better defensively now. Everybody put their body on the line. Shamrock Rovers went quite direct and hit a lot of balls into the penalty area but we dealt with it very well.
“I said to Chris Shields after the game that I was putting together a montage of his spectacular tackles tonight and I was going to get him a move to Italy! There was a collection of spectacular tackles from him, he was very courageous.”