DUNDALK FC

Kenny: Antiquated Oriel Park needs to be upgraded

Dundalk boss looking for hungry new recruits

Gavin McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gavin McLaughlin

Email:

gavin@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Kenny: Antiquated Oriel Park needs to be upgraded

Oriel Park. Picture: Ciaran Culligan

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has identified the kind of players he wants to bolster his squad for the upcoming season.

St Patrick’s Athletic defender Sean Hoare is Kenny’s only new acquisition thus far but the 22-year-old fits the profile that the Dundalk boss is looking for, namely, talented and hungry for success.

“There is no absolute formula but talent and hunger are very important,” Kenny told Today FM’s Premier League Live show.

“Obviously with the players we target, the technical ability has to be good but attitude is very important. There has to be an ability and a desire to get better and improve.

“We have seen that year on year. The team has lost some good players but we have managed to evolve and to raise our standards.

“That in itself is a difficult challenge and to date it has gone well. Three-in-a-row has been a brilliant run and this year we pushed our boundaries with the Champions League and Europa League run.”

Kenny also spoke about the prize money that Dundalk accumulated from the European run and said that redeveloping the ‘antiquated’ Oriel Park should be the club’s number one priority.

“Listen, none of us at Dundalk would claim that our model is a perfect model, we wouldn't have the audacity to claim that.

“There's a lot of obstacles you have to overcome, say if you're not in a major city, but certainly I think one of the things that's glaringly obvious is that our stadium is absolutely antiquated. It's from a different era.

“I think if there is one legacy from the European run this season, you'd want a new stadium, something that stands the test of time, really.

“Good arenas can inspire players to want to play in them and want to be part of that. They don't want to be playing in shabby facilities with supporters coming, so from that point of view I see that as the way forward for the club.”

The club have confirmed that they are looking to replace the current artificial playing surface at Oriel Park but Kenny said that the ground as a whole was of bigger concern.

“The pitch we have is not my preference, but it's more than just the surface, it's the ground itself.

“You see some Champions League clubs - Salzburg and some of the Russian teams - with artificial surfaces, so it's not just that.

“My own preference is grass but it's the infrastructure around it. It has to be better for the club to grow.”

The Dundalk boss spent the festive and New Year period in California and is due to return to Ireland this week.

Stephen O’Donnell agreed a new two-year contract before Christmas and David McMillan, John Mountney and Ciaran O’Connor are also expected to pen new deals with the league champions.

Teenager Michael O’Connor, however, is set for a move to Bradford City. The League One club have opened talks with Dundalk regarding compensation.

Dundalk return for pre-season training in two weeks time and their first confirmed match of 2017 will take place on Tuesday, February 14 when they play Longford Town at The City Calling Stadium at 7.45pm.