Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has praised his penalty takers for the practise that they have put in over the past year however spoke of how they haven’t had a chance to put that work into competitive action. Speaking to dundalkfc.com the manager feels it is ‘amazing’ that they have not gained a penalty in that time especially considering how dominant his side have been.
“Quiz question: Who is Dundalk’s penalty taker? Our penalty takers have been practising their penalties every Thursday for the last year. They have spent the last calendar year practising penalties
“For the last year our penalty takers have been working on their penalties with no reward. It’s hard to believe for a team that dominates like us.
“Would you say that the league champions in any other country in Europe who dominate their games would have no penalties in a full calendar year? It’s really hard to believe.”
Kenny was keen to mention that it is indeed an anniversary of sorts this weekend with the champions not being awarded a penalty in a full year in league competition since the visit of Sligo Rovers last year and with the foul on Ciaran Kilduff during the recent clash with Cork City being ignored, he also referenced how Daryl Horgan had never won a penalty in over 100 games for the club.
“It’s a year anniversary this weekend since we had our last penalty kick in the league. We haven’t had a penalty since April 15th last year, which is amazing when you consider that we are the most successful team in the modern era and we dominate the majority of games.
“To not have a penalty in the league in a full calendar year is amazing. We have seen Ciaran Kilduff in Turner’s Cross a couple of weeks ago denied an absolute certain penalty which would have made the game 1-1. We have seen countless other situations in that regard.
“Daryl Horgan will do well for Ireland for Martin O’Neill however an amazing statistic is that in the three years he was at Dundalk is that he was the best dribbler in the league but he never fell for a penalty.
“It’s an amazing statistic and it is hard to believe in that period that Cork City have had THIRTEEN penalties the beginning of last year! THIRTEEN penalties. There’s a huge disparity there. Thirteen penalties is outrageous. “
The Dublin native now feels that a trait which originated in the English Premier League of ‘manufacturing penalties’ has migrated to the league of Ireland stating that it is a problem for referees to contend with now and feels players go down with the slightest connection.
“Our players have been very honest. The problem now is that there is a tendency to have manufactured penalties. You see in England where the likes of Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy and so forth, you can see it now in Ireland that where there is minimal contact the player is manufacturing the penalty.
“We have seen it several times this season. It’s difficult for referees. Sometimes it is the assistant referee who gives the decision when there’s minimal contact. They say that there’s even though there’s minimal contact it’s a penalty but not enough to make the player go down because they are manufacturing the foul.
“We have seen that consistently and it is difficult for referees. What do I do a as a manager? When we don’t get a penalty for a year do I encourage my players to go down? “
The manager returned to the penalty not given against Cork City and spoke of how that decision subsequently led to Kilduff’s dismissal that day however reiterated that he won’t be encouraging his players to deviate from the values instilled in them of being honest.
“Ciaran was dragged down in the box by the jersey by the Limerick goalkeeper also and the Cork City one as well was unbelievable. It was hard to take in front of the shed end it not being given. That was a pivotal one.
“Ciaran has been having a good season to date and not getting that decision compounded itself as he has ended up getting sent off because he got involved in the pushing in response to the incident. Whereas had the correct decision been made he wouldn’t have been sent off.
“To not get a penalty in a full year when another team gets thirteen does that mean I tell our players to go down all the time? I encourage my players to be honest.
“The values that are in the team means that we have won the league three years in a row and we have also won the ‘Fair Play’ award in each of those years.
“We are not going to encourage our players to go down. We have our values. In terms of the manufacturing of penalties the referees have to see through that. We have seen with the penalty Cork got against Shamrock Rovers a few weeks ago where Rovers lost 2-1 in Tallaght. That sort of manufacturing of penalties has to be stopped. They are being given too easily.”
Kenny believes that Dundalk FC as a club have to and will ‘rise above’ the current disparity, questioning why there is such an imbalance and has asked for a fairness in decisions.
“As a club we have to rise above all of that. There is a massive disparity in the decision making process. Is it Turner’s Cross? Why the disparity?
“We have been the dominant team over this period. We won the league by seven points last season and dominating games. It’s a question which has to be asked.
“As a club we must rise above that and we have had to contend with other things go against us this season. We must rise above that and win, be successful regardless.
“We want some evenness in that regard and there has to be a fairness attached to everything.
“I think the referees and assistants are in a difficult position but they have to see through the current trend of manufacturing penalties. “