SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny: ‘I’ve seen some of the players grow as players and as men over the last year’

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Caoimhín Reilly

Reporter:

Caoimhín Reilly

Email:

caoimhin.reilly@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny: ‘I’ve seen some of the players grow as players and as men over the last year’

Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)

Dundalk FC will become champions of Ireland for a 13th time on Friday night if they avoid defeat against St. Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park.

They entertain the managerless Saints knowing a point would be enough to crown them as Airtricity League Premier Division champions for the fourth time in five seasons.

Though, the Lilywhites, who moved into the FAI Cup final for the fourth year on the trot last Friday, are practically there considering their goal difference is 25 goals superior to Cork City’s.

“Mathematically we need a point, so we’ll look forward to getting that against St. Patrick’s, and hopefully it’s a big night,” manager Stephen Kenny said.

“It’s just been a tremendous effort from the players this season, a really amazing effort. The level of consistency, to win 13 in a row, lose a contentious game (against Shamrock Rovers) and then to come back with four victories…

“I’ve seen some of the players grow as players and as men over the last year and you can see their improvement and confidence. They’ve been exceptional, 12 points we lead, it hasn’t flattered us.

“We’ve had four (title wins) now. Two years ago we got to the (Europa League) group stages, played 12 European games and won the league, and obviously we lost some good players and it has probably taken us this long to rebuild to that level again, but I feel we’re getting there.”

Kenny pinpoints the two triumphs in Derry in the early summer months as being key to their imminent title win - a championship victory that is likely to be accompanied by several records.

Dundalk need just three goals over the remaining four games to break their 78-goal record from 2015, the year they last won the double. However, three goals on Friday would mean the champions-elect would take the record in 33 games, their total amount of outings three seasons ago.

Bohemians’ 85-point haul in 2008 remains the league’s most prolific return, but a tally which the Lilywhites have in sight. They currently sit on 79.