UEFA Champions League

President Michael D Higgins congratulates Dundalk FC on their Champions League progress

UEFA Champions League

Caoimhín Reilly

Reporter:

Caoimhín Reilly

Email:

caoimhin.reilly@dundalkdemocrat.ie

President Michael D Higgins congratulates Dundalk FC on their Champions League progress

Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins has written to Dundalk FC to congratulate the club on last week's Champions League victory over Riga. (Pic: Sportsfile)

Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins has written to Dundalk FC to congratulate the club on this week's Champions League victory over Riga.

The Lilywhites progressed to the second round of the competition's qualifiers following their penalty shootout triumph over the Latvians.

In his letter, which he addressed to head coach Vinny Perth, President Higgins said: “Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, as President of Ireland, may I send my heartfelt congratulations to you and to the entire squad on Dundalk’s impressive victory over Latvian champions Riga FC.

“The team’s positive display means that they thoroughly deserved to go through to the second qualifying round of this year’s Champions League tournament. I commend the players for their tenacity throughout both games. These performances will give great heart to Dundalk supporters and indeed all those who love Irish football.

“I wish you every success as you, the players and the staff prepare to meet Qarabag FK in the next qualifying round of this year’s tournament.”

It's the second major credit Perth received in the game's aftermath. Two-time Champions League-winning manager Jose Mourinho got in contact with the Dundalk boss shortly after full-time at Skonto Stadium.

The Portuguese supremo is friendly with Andy Burton - an influential figure at Oriel Park under Peak6's ownership - who is believed to have beckoned Perth to a FaceTime call with Mourinho in the minutes after Dundalk's penalty shootout triumph.

"Jose just rang, I was a bit emotional and then that added to it because he's a hero of mine," Perth said.

"I know people question what he has done in the last couple of years, but, for me, he has always been a hero so for him to ring and congratulate me was a surreal moment, a weird moment.

"We felt pressure tonight as a staff. Not from the club, but from ourselves. It was a real special moment."