Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny has been delighted his side’s response to the derby day battering at the hands of Drogheda United ten-days ago.
The Lilywhites have recorded wins against Coleraine and Limerick since that 4-1 defeat at United Park and Kenny said both victories were very significant.
“The win in Coleraine was huge,” he said. “To retrieve the tie, coming from 3-1 down to win 4-3 on aggregate, is something that I don’t think has been done in the Setanta Cup before and to follow that up with three points against Limerick is great.
“It must be said that Limerick were without a number of their better players but we were last year when we went to Thomond Park missing Stephen O’Donnell and Patrick Hoban. It was a big win.”
Kurtis Byrne came from the bench to head home the winner with just 13 minutes to go. Dundalk were noted for their powers of recovery last season and Kenny said it was a priceless characteristic to have in a team.
“You can’t underestimate the value of persistence. The ability to get late goals is a real positive trait to have in your team”, he stated.
“It’s something we want to maintain. We got a lot of late goals last year through the ability to keep going and a belief in what we’re doing and the impact of players coming of the bench is a huge thing for us.
“We didn’t panic, we worked our openings and created our chances and it was an important three points. You saw Bray Wanderers turning Sligo over and UCD going close to beating St Pat’s so every three points is vitally important.”
Kenny also lavished praise on man of the match Darren Meenan who played an integral part in the build up to Byrne’s winner against the Super Blues.
“Darren is a player who has been a really late developer in his career. He is a very direct, fast runner and unbelievably tenacious. His crossing is accurate and he had a really good game. He, as much as anyone, too the game to Limerick in the second-half.”
Meenan and Daryl Horgan operated on flanks as Kenny deployed an orthodox 4-4-2 system, a change from the 4-2-3-1 that was in place for much of last season.
“We’re not set in stone with the way we’re going to play. It can be a good thing if you are because everybody comes in and they know their jobs but we have four strikers and we want to utilize them. Players know the 4-4-2 system best I suppose. Last year it was mostly 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 so we have flexibility.”
Dundalk’s next assignment is their toughest of the campaign to date when they travel to The Showgrounds to face Sligo Rovers on Saturday night. They do so without the services of Mark Rossiter who limped off against Limerick with a nasty looking hamstring injury.
“Mark tore his hamstring and is looking at being out for four to six weeks at least,” explained Kenny.
“It’s never good to tear a hamstring in full flight. We pride ourselves on not having muscle injuries but it’s difficult to have a perfect situation where you don’t get any.”