DUNDALK HAVE ANNOUNCED that manager Stephen Kenny is extending his stay.
Dubliner Kenny has signed a new deal that will see him stick with the Lilywhites until the end of the 2020 campaign.
“It has been a privilege to manage this Dundalk team over the last four and a half years,” Kenny said. “The team has been in one of the most successful in the history of the league. Some great players and brilliant people have been here in that period.
“We started with absolutely nothing and it has been a great journey. We are still on it. We have had a great consistency over those few years in the backroom team. We have had minimal changes. Vinny Perth has been the assistant manager for the whole time during that time.
“I have had Noel Walsh, Steve Williams and Graham Byrne for that time too. Sam Rice and Fearghal Kerin have been there for a good bit of that too Ruaidhri Higgins has been the addition this year. We have had the same youth coaches also. By and large I have had the same backroom staff since day one.
“Everyone has really played their part behind the scenes in our success. ”
The 45-year-old took over the Louth side in November 2012, after they had narrowly avoided relegation to the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
In the past five years, he has overseen the most successful period in Dundalk’s history — winning three consecutive Premier Division titles, the FAI Cup and League Cup.
Last season, the club captured the imagination of the Irish public during a remarkable European adventure. After qualifying for the Europa League group stages, they earned four points from their opening two matches but eventually missed out on a place in the knock-out stages.
“We are a provincial town,” he added. “There’s just a population of over 30,000 in the town. We are battling against the bigger cities in Ireland – Cork, Derry, Dublin. To go then and compete against the bigger cities in Europe.
“Zenit St Petersburg, Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Legia Warsaw to name a few. Not only compete but beat them and get results against them. There has been a lot of very special nights in that period for Dundalk Football Club, domestically and in Europe.
We want to create more of them.”
2017 has been a difficult campaign thus far. Dundalk have struggled to cope with the loss of Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Ronan Finn, while Cork City are running away with title.
However, news of a new deal for Kenny will be a welcome boost for all involved with the club.
“We have had to rebuild the team this season,” Kenny went on. “We have lost some good players but I am excited by the players that we have brought in this season. We have some excellent talent under the age of 22 at the club.
“Sean Hoare, Michael Duffy, Jamie McGrath, Dylan Connolly. Steven Kinsella has been injured so we are yet to see the best of him. He is only 18 but they are all exciting players. Next season we will see a big improvement in them all. They are all settled in now and starting to excel.
“These players will be better over the next few seasons.
“I am excited by the way the team is shaping up. I think we are shaping up very well. There’s going to be a tough challenge over the next few seasons from several clubs. There will be several clubs in contention for honours. ”
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