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Kenny Praises Magnificent Support

First Team News
// 9 Nov 2017

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was full of praise for the supporters who turned out in great numbers on Sunday afternoon for the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup final. Speaking to dundalkfc.com Kenny was delighted with the show of support in the local community also but was disappointed that they couldn’t reward that with victory over Cork City.

“We had brilliant support on Sunday at the AVIVA Stadium. It was incredible to see the level of support. Reports are that we brought between 12-13,000. Considering that the population of Dundalk is 35,000. That’s over a third of the population of the town and to travel to Dublin from Dundalk like that in that ratio is brilliant.

“We started with hundreds here. It’s fantastic to see that. Everyone in the club did a terrific job encouraging everyone in the community. With the flags and the banners everywhere throughout the town. It was great to see.

“It was brilliant to see that level of display. It was fantastic. It gives everyone a real feel and it shows the value of community with the town being decked out in black and white. We are a quintessential community club now.

“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t win the game. We are all disappointed. To lose on a penalty shootout is the cruellest way to lose. The players give everything for 120 minutes so to lose in that manner was harsh.

“Overall we had the majority of the play and were quite unfortunate.”

The boss also addressed the speculation of Karl Sheppard’s speculated move to the club and revealed the timeline of events before he decided to have a change of heart and remain on Leeside.

“Karl Sheppard approached a member of our staff to say he was moving to Balbriggan and would we be interested in signing him. He’s a good player. He can play in a number of positions. Negotiations were concluded quickly and a pre-contract agreement drawn up by the club’s solicitor in September.

“Karl travelled up to the City North Hotel to sign the pre-contract agreement. A pre-contract is a big commitment both ways as, for example, the club would have been liable for this salary for the next two years if he had got injured for Cork. However, we undertook to do that.

“At that time, we could have announced that signing as a pre-contract signing however out of respect for Karl we didn’t. There had just been persistent questions in the weeks leading up to it. We didn’t confirm it but we just couldn’t keep denying it.

“It was like a situation with other players in the league. It wasn’t any different – like Greg Bolger going from Cork City to Shamrock Rovers or to Tobi Adebayo Rowling going to Cork City. There was a lot of speculation about it but we didn’t confirm or deny it.

“After the Cup final, Karl had a change of heart. It’s always difficult for a player to leave and go to a rival to be fair and as a manager there’s nothing you can do in that situation. It’s in the club’s hands now. The club will deal with it as they see best. ”

Kenny also responded to John Caulfield’s claims on Newstalk’s Off The Ball programme last night and found it strange that the Cork City manager went on the airwaves to address issues when he had a chance to talk about it in person with Kenny on Sunday.

“In relation to John Caulfield’s accusation of lies on Newstalk’s programme where he claims I made the situation up about a phone call to Stephen O’Donnell, it is common knowledge that Stephen O’Donnell got the phone call.

“We had a meal in the AVIVA on Sunday after the FAI Cup Final. I shook hands with John Caulfield, John Cotter and Liam Kearney. I congratulated them on their FAI Cup win and John could have brought anything up with me then but he chose to go on to Newstalk and attack me personally, accused me of lying and all of that which is completely out of order.

“To suggest that anyone could make something up like that is absurd. It’s bordering on the ridiculous. ”

Moving onto the future and the Dublin native feels that there ‘are positive developments’ around Oriel Park and Dundalk Football Club this winter and declared it a great place to play over the coming years.

” There seems to be positive developments happening at the club. There’s a lot of reasons for optimism I feel. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. A lot of people are working hard to make the club better and improve many aspects of the club.

“We are working hard in the off season to improve. It is going to be a dramatically different set up for us next year I feel.  Behind the scenes there’s a lot of reasons to be excited and it’s going to be a great place to play football over the next few years.

“All support structures around the club are being improved to make the set up much better than it already is and we are striving to do that.”