Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Morgan Treacy/INPHO Kenny: "Nothing in life comes easy. "
# mind the gap
'It is a big gap and that's the reality. We can't fixate on that'
Cork City remain nine points clear of Dundalk at the top of the Premier Division table.

STEPHEN KENNY WANTS his Dundalk players to stay focused on their own performances, not the gap between themselves and table-toppers Cork City.

Goals in either half from David McMillan and Michael Duffy helped the defending champions to a 2-0 win against Bohemians on Friday night.

But Cork continued their 100% start with a 3-0 win over St Pat’s in Inchicore, making it a perfect 10 wins from 10 and keeping that nine-point cushion between themselves and the chasing pack.

John Caulfield’s men are now just one win away from matching Shamrock Rovers, whose 11 wins in 1965/66 is the best start in post-war history.

But with trips to Galway United and Shamrock Rovers to come in the next fortnight, Kenny knows that Dundalk need to concentrate on their own games rather than waiting for Cork to slip up.

“It is a big gap and that’s the reality,” Kenny said after Friday’s win. “We can’t fixate on that. We’ve just got to concentrate on trying to win matches, that’s all we can do.

“You’ve no divine right no matter who you are to win anything. Nothing in life comes easy. I think you really have to earn things the hard way and we’ve done that here, coming in here with nothing. We had to do that.

That’s the scenario. We’ve no divine right to qualify for Europe. We’ve seen teams winning leagues in recent history and then do completely nothing in Europe. You’ve no divine right to do that so you have to earn the right to do that first and foremost.

Dundalk dominated for long spells in Oriel Park but it was only with Duffy’s goal on 66 minutes, capping a man-of-the-match display, that the three points were made safe.

“You have to continue to work hard and I think we have to improve on tonight’s performance overall,” Kenny added.

“We created a lot of chances, you know. We could have won more convincingly but at the same time, at 1-0, the game’s always in the balance still, so we’ll take it.”

Cork ran out 2-1 winners when the title rivals met in Turner’s Cross last month, and the sides won’t face off again until the first weekend in June.

That was one of three defeats for Dundalk so far this season, with the most recent coming last week against Bray Wanderers in a controversial match which saw the visitors awarded two penalties.

“There’s nothing we can do — if (Cork) win every game, they’ll deserve it,” Kenny said.

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“Last week… we had no control over that, but ok, we lost to Derry and could have got a result. We lost fairly. We lost to Cork as well, a narrow game, a tight game, we came out the wrong side of it, so we can’t complain.

They’re winning every week. If they win every week, they’ll have deserved it.

“From our point of view, we can only focus on trying to win a few matches because we’ve got tough games.”

– Reporting by Barry Landy

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