Kenny confident his Dundalk squad can produce future senior international
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny, left, and Ireland manager Martin O’Neill at the launch of the Dundalk FC/Dundalk Institute of Technology partnership at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
believes his current group of players at Dundalk can produce the club’s first senior international since Steve Staunton but, he says, the players have to believe it too.
“There hasn’t been a player who has gone on to play for Ireland, never mind one who has done so while at the football club (since Staunton), which is an indictment as it’s a football town.”
Kenny, who was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Dundalk Institute of Technology which will yield four third level scholarships a year, pointed to Derry City, where he had players like James McClean, Connor Sammon and David Forde, who all went on to play senior international.
“Derry hadn’t many internationals for a long period but I was at Derry for four years and we had eight players who became full internationals. I think with the proper infrastructure players can get opportunities to progress and do well.
“I managed Glen Crowe when he was picked, the first since Pat Byrne, in that period. Nobody thought he could.
“The likes of David Forde, who is there now, was really driven and would talk regularly about his desire to become an international even then. Players have to absolutely think like this.
“I’d be disappointed with the group I have now if I didn’t get an international out of the group. I’m not saying they’ll play for Dundalk and Ireland in the one year but what I will say I would be genuinely disappointed [if one didn’t reach senior international level].”
His players’ prospects would not be hurt, he suggested, by the appointment of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane as the management team as both have experience of the club game on the island.
O’Neill was at yesterday’s event too and while he declined to speak to the media he was later quoted, in response to a query regarding his view on Aiden McGeady joining Everton as saying: “He has moved now to the Premier League and I think it’s absolutely terrific for him. I’ve no doubt it will be beneficial for him and for Ireland and I expect him to take the place by storm.”