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Dundalk boss digs at title rivals Cork City over 'manufactured' penalties

“We are not going to encourage our players to go down,” said Stephen Kenny. “We have our values.”

Stephen Kenny Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

DUNDALK MANAGER STEPHEN Kenny has said that his side haven’t received their fair share of penalties over the past year, while claiming that rivals Cork City have been guilty of manufacturing spot kicks.

Kenny told Dundalk’s official website that this Saturday will mark a year to the day since the Lilywhites were last awarded a penalty in the league, when Ronan Finn scored the only goal in a home win over Sligo Rovers.

“For the last year our penalty takers have been working on their penalties with no reward. It’s hard to believe for a team that dominates like us,” said the manager of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division champions for the past three seasons.

“Would you say that the league champions in any other country in Europe who dominate their games would have no penalties in a full calendar year? It’s really hard to believe.”

Kenny referred to Ciaran Kilduff’s penalty claim against Cork City in Dundalk’s 2-1 defeat at Turner’s Cross earlier this month, when the striker tangled with City goalkeeper Mark McNulty. The Dundalk boss also mentioned that Daryl Horgan, now with Preston North End, wasn’t awarded any penalties during his three seasons with Dundalk.

Ronan Finn scores a penalty Ronan Finn scoring from the penalty spot for Dundalk against Sligo Rovers on 15 April, 2016. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“To not have a penalty in the league in a full calendar year is amazing,” Kenny said. “We have seen Ciaran Kilduff in Turner’s Cross a couple of weeks ago denied an absolute certain penalty which would have made the game 1-1. We have seen countless other situations in that regard.

“Daryl Horgan will do well for Ireland for Martin O’Neill. However, an amazing statistic is that in the three years he was at Dundalk he was the best dribbler in the league but he never fell for a penalty.

“It’s an amazing statistic and it is hard to believe in that period that Cork City have had thirteen penalties since the beginning of last year. Thirteen penalties! There’s a huge disparity there. Thirteen penalties is outrageous.”

Kenny, whose side currently trail Cork City by six points in the title race, added: “Our players have been very honest. The problem now is that there is a tendency to have manufactured penalties. You see in England with the likes of Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy and so forth, you can see it now in Ireland that where there is minimal contact the player is manufacturing the penalty.

“We have seen it several times this season. It’s difficult for referees. Sometimes it is the assistant referee who gives the decision when there’s minimal contact. They say that there is, even though there’s minimal contact it’s a penalty but not enough to make the player go down because they are manufacturing the foul.

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Ciaran Kilduff is sent off by Referee Robert Rogers Ciaran Kilduff was sent off in Dundalk's recent defeat to Cork City. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We have seen that consistently and it is difficult for referees. What do I do a as a manager? When we don’t get a penalty for a year do I encourage my players to go down?”

Bringing his oration back to Kilduff, Kenny said: “Ciaran was dragged down in the box by the jersey by the Limerick goalkeeper also and the Cork City one as well was unbelievable. It was hard to take, in front of the Shed End, it not being given. That was a pivotal one.

“Ciaran has been having a good season to date and not getting that decision compounded itself as he ended up getting sent off, because he got involved in the pushing in response to the incident, whereas had the correct decision been made, he wouldn’t have been sent off.”

Kenny added: “To not get a penalty in a full year when another team gets thirteen, does that mean I tell our players to go down all the time? I encourage my players to be honest. The values that are in the team means that we have won the league three years in a row and we have also won the ‘Fair Play’ award in each of those years.

“We are not going to encourage our players to go down. We have our values. In terms of the manufacturing of penalties, the referees have to see through that. We have seen with the penalty Cork got against Shamrock Rovers a few weeks ago where Rovers lost 2-1 in Tallaght. That sort of manufacturing of penalties has to be stopped. They are being given too easily.

Sean Maguire is fouled resulting in a penalty Sean Maguire scored a late winner for Cork City after being fouled for a penalty against Shamrock Rovers. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

“As a club we have to rise above all of that. There is a massive disparity in the decision making process. Is it Turner’s Cross? Why the disparity? We have been the dominant team over this period. We won the league by seven points last season and dominating games. It’s a question which has to be asked.

“As a club we must rise above that and we have had to contend with other things go against us this season. We must rise above that and win, be successful regardless. We want some evenness in that regard and there has to be a fairness attached to everything.

“I think the referees and assistants are in a difficult position but they have to see through the current trend of manufacturing penalties.”

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Paul Dollery

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