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'Stephen Kenny was always available to call into an 80th-birthday party... Down-to-earth things like that'

In Episode 5 of Rise of Kenny, Kevin Brannigan chats to Arthur Duffy about the Irish manager’s second coming at Derry.

Stephen Kenny pictured during his time in charge at Derry.
Stephen Kenny pictured during his time in charge at Derry.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

AFTER THE DISAPPOINTMENT of losing his job in Scotland with Dunfermline, Stephen Kenny took just 20 days to secure a new role, albeit one in familiar surroundings.

Kenny previously enjoyed a successful stint at Derry City between 2004 and 2006, before a second spell there starting in 2008.

The latest podcast focuses on how the Dubliner fared in his second period at the Candystripes, giving future Ireland international James McClean his debut, as well as the difficult time where the club went into administration and were demoted to the First Division as a result. 

Host Kevin Brannigan chats to Arthur Duffy, who spent 30 years covering the club for the Derry Journal, about this memorable era.

Duffy recalls the galvanising effect that Kenny had upon his return, with both Pat Fenlon and John Robertson having previously struggled to build on the manager’s initial success there.

“It gave everyone, supporters and players, a massive lift. The attendances at the Brandywell really started to fill up again. He was accepted back.

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“He embraced life up here, unlike so many other managers. When he came here, he came up here to live. He brought his family up here. He was at school prize givings.

He impressed head teachers by talking at functions like that about the dangers of drink and drugs. He talked about the importance of PE, the importance of fitness, the importance of good mental health.

“He played the best cards I’ve ever seen in my life. So much so that Stephen Kenny was always available to call into an 80th-birthday party of a longstanding Derry City supporter, or take part in a school situation where he tested the cooking of some of the students. Down-to-earth things like that. He totally and utterly embraced the community up here and was really well respected for that.”

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