Wednesday 20 March 2019

Kenny wants cool heads

Dundalk boss insists his players won’t react in Larnaca despite first leg spitting incident

FULL FLOW: Patrick McEleney in action against Larnaca’s Nacho Cases last week. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
FULL FLOW: Patrick McEleney in action against Larnaca’s Nacho Cases last week. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny has promised that his Dundalk players will keep their heads in Cyprus tomorrow even though ill feeling lingers from a spitting incident in the first leg of their Europa League tie with AEK Larnaca.

Dundalk striker Patrick Hoban claims he was spat at by an opposing player during a penalty box row in the second half of the scoreless draw at Oriel Park which has set up a tense decider.

Kenny has backed up that view, although no action was taken and any window for retrospective punishment has passed.

“To be fair to Patrick, he didn’t react,” said Kenny, “They actually booked him for protesting against it. Credit to him, he was firmly focused and it’s important to keep your discipline and we will do that here.

“It (spit) is something that did happen for sure. It’s something you shouldn’t have to contend with.”

Hoban was actually mistakenly awarded a red card by the referee in the aftermath as he was initially under the impression it was a second booking.

Dundalk’s top scorer was bemused by the whole episode.

“A player spat at me,” he said.

“I think he was shocked at himself for doing it; you could see it in his face afterwards.

“I just went to plead the case to the referee. I didn’t go over abusing him. I actually thought I’d handled the situation well for someone who had been spat on. It’s a dirty act really.”

Hoban will be vital to Dundalk as they go in search of the away goal that would put them in a position of strength.

They will have to battle the heat for the 6.30pm kick-off (4.30pm Irish time) with temperatures expected to be in the mid thirties.

They have enquired about water breaks and his backroom staff have researched the drinks that should be taken on board to deal with heat management.

Dundalk will train at the stadium this evening to get a handle on what it’s like at that time of the day. It was 30 degrees when they landed at 9.30pm local time last night. Kenny has travelled with no fresh injury problems, but Sean Gannon will need to come through a full training session with his team-mates to come into contention after missing the first leg and Sunday’s league win over Bohemians through injury.

The Dundalk boss also confirmed that loanee Krisztian Adorjan will not be returning after he was called back to parent club Novara in Italy.

Adorjan was a popular member of the group and Dundalk were interested in extending his stay, yet it wasn’t possible to get a deal done before last night’s deadline.

The re-signing of Patrick McEleney has given the League of Ireland leaders strength in that area of the pitch.

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