Stephen Kenny hits out at Mark McNulty over chant
Dundalk manager also alluded to incident involving McNulty after last year's cup final
Mark McNulty jumps into the crowd at the shed end to celebrate Cork City’s league triumph. Photograph: Inpho
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has criticised Mark McNulty as lacking “respect” for starting a “F**k the Lilywhites” chant at a nightclub where Cork City players were being interviewed on stage after being presented with the league trophy at Turner’s Cross last Friday night.
Cork City boss John Caulfield has dismissed the incident as “part of the craic that goes on between teams,” but Kenny, clearly a little put out by it, said on Monday that he believes that it went beyond what should be acceptable.
“What do you associate with the Lilywhites as a football fan? You associate people like Tommy McConville, you associate people like Barry Kehoe, brilliant players. You think of people like Martin Lawlor, who was 18 years here; people like that.
“What he is doing there is he’s insulting all of those players, all of those players in the past. I think you can have rivalry, teams don’t have to like each other, that’s normal, there is nothing abnormal about that. But I think there has to be a sporting respect; you have to have a sporting respect. This was sort of out of the gutter really.”
For those at Dundalk, who are preparing to face City again in this year’s Cup final on Sunday, the incident clearly served as a reminder of another from last year when, in the immediate aftermath of that final, an unnamed person from the Cork City team bus phoned Stephen O’Donnell to taunt the midfielder about the result of the game.
“Stephen is the most successful captain in the modern times,” said Kenny. “He carries himself with great dignity. He’s won five league titles himself and been in two Europa Leagues. And ringing down the phone when we’re coming out of the stadium and going up to Dundalk, taunting him on the phone and all that kind of stuff. This isn’t a one-off.”
O’Donnell, meanwhile, just sought to shrug both incidents off himself. “There is needle there, there is rivalry,” he said. “I don’t think any of its nasty or toxic. It’s up to each of their own how they want to celebrate their achievements.
“When we win things, as a team, Cork City wouldn’t enter our heads when we’re celebrating. It’s the satisfaction with our accomplishment which matters most. You have to remember, lads want to win over fans, be a folk-hero, a bit of a legend, and they get a bit carried away.”