Persistence pays off for Kenny’s inexperienced troops

Stephen Kenny, Dundalk manager shouts instructions to his players against Drogheda United in the in the Airtricity League Premier Division local derby at Oriel Park
DUNDALK manager Stephen Kenny reflected on a topsy turvy Louth derby on Thursday night which saw his side come from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Drogheda United.

DUNDALK manager Stephen Kenny reflected on a topsy turvy Louth derby on Thursday night which saw his side come from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Drogheda United.

Kenny admitted his side ‘didn’t get going’ for long periods against the Boynesiders but still felt they could have taken what would have been an unlikely three points.

“It was a game we could have won in the end”, said Kenny. “We didn’t play well in the first-half. We made a few mistakes and we got punished. We panicked and gave the ball away which was uncharacteristic of us.

“We had a lot of players out there learning about their first derby and some learning about the Airtricity League. Some are still coming to terms with the way the game is played and what it can throw at you. Other games we have been free-flowing but we couldn’t get going at times tonight.

“We started the second-half really well and their second goal was against the run of play but we showed our fighting spirit to come back again and John Sullivan was unlucky not to win it right at the death.”

Many felt that the three points were returning south of the county when Ryan Brennan gave the Drogs a 2-0 lead after 72 minutes. Unbelievable, though, Dundalk were level within four minutes.

“We have shown a capacity to get late goals consistently over the last few games”, said Kenny. “It shows that the players have a willingness and perseverance to go until the end. You can’t underestimate the value of persistence. It’s a great value to have in your group. If we didn’t have that we would have been dead.”

The result sent many of the 2198 punters at the Carrick Road venue home happy. The aggregate attendance for Dundalk’s opening three home games of the season stands at 6850 and Kenny is hoping that will increase as the season goes on.

“The club, team and the supporters are all on a journey”, said the 42-year-old. “We want to fill the ground. Dundalk is a football town and it’s a passionate town. We prepare the best we can and we want to do the town justice.

“We’re up there with Sligo Rovers crowd wise at the minute over the first three home games”, he added. “For a club that finished bottom last years shows the potential that is there.”