Football/Soccer

Dundalk can continue to dominate as League of Ireland kicks off: Stephen Kenny

Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth lifts the cup after the Unite the Union Champions Cup Second Leg match between Dundalk and Linfield at Oriel Park

REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 international manager Stephen Kenny sees no reason why his former club Dundalk can’t continue to win more league championships – but feels Shamrock Rovers could push them close this season.

The Airtricity Premier Division kicks off this weekend with Dundalk keen to make it five league titles in six seasons – four of which were won under Kenny and last season’s triumph negotiated by his former assistant Vinny Perth.

"The squad is very, very strong and has great strength of depth and there is great infrastructure behind the scenes and great resources.

"I think it will be a period of sustained success for Dundalk over the next few years,” said Kenny, who still lives just outside the border town.

"With Peak6 getting involved in the club so much, they look geared to be successful over a period of years.

"It's five out of six but that could go on for a number of years. You see the teams in Europe that win, you get used to winning.

"Once you get passed your second title and get three - you look at Juventus, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Celtic - you can go on and dominate.

"That's more usual than unusual these days. When you do well in Europe, you can reinvest that and it gives you greater opportunity again.”

Kenny was the first man to guide the Lilywhites into the Europa League group stages a few seasons ago where they competed admirably with the likes of top-ranked Zenit St Petersburg.

Kenny, who will assume the Republic of Ireland senior reins once the team’s interest in Euro 2020 expires, added: "Shamrock Rovers have a lot of good resources too behind the scenes, with good players and they will challenge.

"[Former Dundalk midfielder] Stephen O'Donnell is at St Pats. It's a little transition period there and may need time to rebuild and may have to rebuild again in the summer as you don't always get who you want straight away.”

Cork City have run into financial difficulties and were forced to sell their sell-on clauses for Republic of Ireland internationals Alan Browne and Sean Maguire to Preston NE in order to secure their Premier Division license for the new season.

The much-needed cash injection from Preston is believed to be in the region of €500,000 which has eased the Leesiders’ immediate financial worries.

"Even though Cork's resources may not be what they were, the size of the city and the pull of support, you always have a great chance of having a good side, but it's not easy.”

"But Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers look a lot stronger than anyone else this year.”

 

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Football/Soccer