Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny insists that his side won’t get carried away by last Friday night’s euphoric victory over Bohemians as the Lilywhites prepare for two huge games that will shape the outcome of their season.
The 3-2 win over Bohs, along with Cork City’s 2-2 draw in Athlone, means Dundalk are now six points clear of John Caulfield’s team with just seven games to play.
Two of those games come in the space of just 72 hours this weekend. Friday sees Dundalk take on reigning champions St Patrick’s Athletic in front of the RTE cameras at Richmond Park while Derry City visit Oriel Park on Monday night in a game that has been rescheduled because of Dundalk’s involvement in the EA Sports Cup final.
Dundalk supporters are on cloud nine following Friday night’s dramatic victory but Kenny said his players would remain firmly grounded, as they have done all season.
“We are delighted with the win and it’s a big win, coming back from 2-1 down, but we have our feet firmly on the ground,” said Kenny.
“We are not looking beyond St Pat’s. We have got to make sure we are right. We are not basking in this and thinking, oh great. That’s never been the way we’ve approached things this season and we are not going to start now. The reason we are in the position we are in is because we are very focused and we have worked very hard. We are not diverting from that.”
Five wins from their remaining seven games will clinch the title for Dundalk but, again, Kenny refused to look past Friday night’s clash with Pat’s.
“There is a belief in the group but we are not getting ahead of ourselves or making statements of when we are going to win this or that.
“We really can’t look past Inchicore,” he continued. “It’s such a big game for us against the defending champions. The players are playing with confidence, so we have to go down to Inchicore and perform well on Friday night. It will be a tough game for us.”
At one stage during Friday night’s topsy turvy fixtures, Dundalk’s lead over Cork City was down to just a solitary point. However, substitute David McMillan’s brace at Oriel, and James O’Brien’s equaliser for Athlone, meant the evening came to an end with Dundalk in pole position.
However, Kenny, unlike many of the club’s supporters, said he was unaware of events that were unfolding in Lissywoollen.
“I didn’t know any of that until after the match when someone told me. I never really ask what the score is anywhere else,” he said.
“It doesn’t come into my thinking - especially with seven games to go. Maybe in the last game of the season you might have half an idea but certainly with seven games to go, no way. We’re just looking after ourselves.”