Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has put his contract extension and the FAI Cup semi-final draw to one side, insisting that his attention is trained solely on Friday night’s mouth watering league clash with St Patrick’s Athletic.
It was announced over the weekend that Kenny had agreed a two-year extension to his contract, keeping him in the Oriel Park hot seat until the end of the 2015 season.
However when asked about the new deal on Wednesday evening, the 41-year-old said it was parked at the back of his mind.
“To be honest, my full focus is on the game this Friday. Beyond that, I’m not looking past the last six or seven weeks of the season. Where we are at the moment is all I’m concentrating on.”
The former Shamrock Rovers boss spoke in a similar tone when the draw for the FAI Cup semi-final - Dundalk will travel to play Drogheda United in a Louth derby on October 6 - was brought up.
“I didn’t really care about the draw”, he said. “As soon as we beat Shelbourne last Friday night we left the FAI Cup to one side. We have three league games before we can even start to think about Drogheda United and the Cup again.”
Looking ahead to the top of the table clash with Pat’s, Kenny said his side are going to Richmond Park with belief flowing through their veins.
“We have beaten all the top teams in the league, including St Pat’s twice and we have won every game since we started the last series of games. St Pat’s are a good side with some excellent players but we have great confidence in ourselves at the moment.”
Kenny must plan without the services of suspended duo Darren Meenan and Chris Shields for the televised trip to Inchicore.
Stephen O’Donnell and Dane Massey return after missing the 5-1 rout over Shelbourne last week though and Kenny said he already had a starting XI formulated in his mind.
“I have a fair idea of what team will play”, he stated. “Darren and Chris are unlucky to miss out. Darren has been an ever present since the last series of games began and Chris has been excellent in recent weeks, really exceptional in fact.
“What we have to do is prepare the team and plan accordingly and we will do that.”
Dundalk will be roared on by 1200 of their supporters in Inchicore. The club sold their full allocation of tickets in a matter of hours and Kenny said his players would draw inspiration from the huge numbers who will make the journey south on the M1.
“We have had tremendous support this season and the fans away from home have been consistently passionate. They have contributed in a very big way to us having the best away record in the league”, he said.
“It’s unfortunate that tickets are limited”, he added. “We could have sold double our allocation.
“It will be great for the players to come out and see that support cheering us on. We just have to focus on the football.”