Dundalk FC players celebrate their recent league title win at Oriel Park. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Stephen Kenny has often spoken of his team’s failure to take their achievements for granted, using the word “humble” in reference to his players, and our heroes.
Perhaps the Dundalk FC manager’s most used sentence this season has been “we’ve no divine right to win anything...”
It is that full-blooded honesty and the acknowledgement that their self-built mansion could be gutted in next to no time which has inspired them to consistent success on parallels beyond anything that the club has previously known.
Four league titles in five seasons, including three-in-a-row, four FAI Cup finals on the trot, two League Cups and a European odyssey of epic proportions, putting our small town on the continental map and attracting the attention of people who would have otherwise ignored our place of residence.
Kenny and co. have drawn exposure which no local authority budget could dream to, but it seems to have been greeted with little more than a batted eyelid.
On the night the Lilywhites sealed the title, and over the subsequent weekend, and as of the time of print, Louth County Council are yet to officially acknowledge the achievement in any form.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams took to Twitter last Friday night week, almost immediately after the match, to pass on his kudos, while another TD, Peter Fitzpatrick, has since used his social media accounts to say that he introduced the club’s CEO, Mal Brannigan, to Council counterpart Joan Martin, Joe McGuinness and Frank Pentony, Directors of Services.
That, as far as can be established, has been the only admission on the body’s behalf of a team which has been the country’s envy for much of this decade.
Dundalk has more chequered flags than Silverstone at the moment as supporters celebrate the team’s success and, night in and night out, they’re applauded off Oriel Park, given the recognition they deserve. And, no matter the outcome of next month’s FAI Cup final, it can be guaranteed that there will be a congregation at the base of Hill Street Bridge and up the Carrick Road ready to welcome them home.
Last year, Cork’s governing body turned some of the city’s buildings green to recognise the double win of John Caulfield’s team, showing a true appreciation for the Rebels’ efforts.
Louth’s Council facilitated a Civic Reception in 2016 on behalf of the club’s success, but it was really the least they could do and something similar is surely planned to go ahead towards the end of this year.
But, by their public stance on the league win and its wider impact on locals, their silence has been deafening.