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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Kenny's 2020 vision for dundalk after signing new contract

Stephen Kenny has signed a new deal with Dundalk which will run up to 2020
Stephen Kenny has signed a new deal with Dundalk which will run up to 2020

After their Champions League defeat to Rosenborg last month, Stephen Kenny rued that Dundalk were still playing in "bloody Oriel Park" with its limited facilities.

And despite his admission that the club have yet to make the off-field progress needed to become a force in the European game again, Kenny has shown his commitment to the Premier Division champions by agreeing a new deal which will keep him at the club until 2020.

Dundalk have lost key members of their title-winning teams but they will at least hold on to Kenny for another spell. Their grip on the title will end in a matter of weeks, once Cork City earn the eight points they need to claim that crown, but Kenny is eager for the side to bounce back next season, in domestic football and in Europe.

"As a manager I want to manage at the highest level. In order to that at Dundalk, we have got to aspire to get back into the group stages of European competition," says Kenny.

"We have to have that ambition. I think our ambition overall to have packed Aviva Stadiums. If Ciaran Kilduff's effort off the crossbar had gone in against Rosenborg we would have been there last week against Celtic in a full Aviva.

"Last year we had it against Legia Warsaw. We want those special nights, they are tremendous. We should aspire to have that. In Ireland it's not something we have had. We should have it - our national stadium full for European games. We should have that aspiration to have that and the determination to achieve that."

A decade ago, while in charge of Derry City, Kenny was annoyed that the club's solution to his request for ice baths for the players was to fill standard wheelie bins with ice. Now, Kenny knows that facilities in Dundalk's home ground are below par and he is keen for that to change.

"Oriel Park has stood still here. There is plans for the Development Centre. We are looking at putting a sports science room in it, we are going to put in a medical department and a video analysis department. These are all new developments and we are looking at putting them in there," says Kenny.

"We want to progress as a club. We haven't moved too quickly as a club because our success has been quite rapid. I have been the only full-time member of staff as such up to now and we need to improve to get better.

"It has been a privilege to manage this Dundalk team over the last four and a half years. 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."

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