Kenny's right you know

David Lynch


David Lynch

Kenny's right you know

You have to admire Stephen Kenny's passion for Dundalk.

He's a Dub who has taken the Town to his heart and now wants to ensure a sustainable future, not just for the Lilywhites, but for many other sports in the area too.

He now, justifiably, has the right to make public comments such as the one he made last week regarding the lack of support from the local council towards the creation of a suitable sporting arena in the county.

If he wasn't a particularly handy football manager, he'd make one hell of a politician too. One to be proud of having in your constituency. But then again, Kenny's not the right sort for that particular arena.

He's dead right too. There's a malaise among those in authority towards the achievements of Dundalk FC in recent times. Winning the double last year was one hell of a thing to do. The subsequent 'home coming' was less than thrilling and there's little doubt that Kenny felt let down by it all.

Lets look at all this through the hypothetical frame of another sporting success which might, some time in the future, emulate something similar.

It's a fictional scenario, but it's worth entertaining for a second or two.

Say Louth won the Leinster GAA championship in the not too distant future.

Now lets imagine, for a moment, the home-coming the players and backroom team would receive here in Dundalk. It would be quite something. Very little expense would be spared by the authorities and few if any would begrudge them it either.

There'd be bunting and banners. Open top buses no doubt and a general feeling of a street carnival about the whole enterprise. It'd be brilliant for the town and the region of course. A moment to be proud of the county and a moment to remember and reflect on for years to come.

Cut to the reality of what Dundalk FC were welcomed back to Dundalk with when they won the Airtricity League of Ireland title and the FAI Cup last year. Does it live long in your memory? Can you actually remember it? The answers to those questions are probably a stuttering 'no'.

Last Monday morning, and Tuesday too, proud Dundalk FC fans, off their own backs and seemingly without official support, set about the task of pinning black and white check flags to poles around town ahead of the club's make or break UEFA Champions League qualifying clash with BATE Borisov. It was an admirable effort by all, but surely they deserved more?

The eyes of the nation (and quite a few further afield too) were on Tallaght Stadium last Tuesday as Stephen Kenny's side dismantled a European heavyweight and in the process made sporting history for Ireland.

To be sure it was a night of unbridled celebration and complete joy; but there's a tinge of sadness shadowing all of this. And it goes back to Kenny's comments last week.

Why aren't these games - and the subsequent, possibly four more European games to come - being played in Dundalk?

There has simply been no joined-up forward thinking here in Louth. Kenny's sporting arena suggestion is a valid and completely practical one. Imagine having football, GAA, rugby etc. combined in one stadium here in town.

It would be a simple way of solving the problem for all in fact.

Alas such joined-up thinking would, and is, invariably stymied by the politics at play within some sports. Such a pity, because this incredible moment for Dundalk could slip by without a cohesive and achievable strategy being implemented to encourage further success on and off the field, for all sports.

And all we'll be left with will be the memories of these good times.

Lets not make that sobering prospect a reality, please.