With Martin O’Neill in attendance on Thursday night, Michael Duffy did his call up credentials no harm with a goal that set the old Oriel Park alight. The Republic of Ireland boss has name checked the winger in recent times and its something manage
With Martin O’Neill in attendance on Thursday night, Michael Duffy did his call up credentials no harm with a goal that set the old Oriel Park alight.
The Republic of Ireland boss has name checked the winger in recent times and its something manager Stephen Kenny is delighted to see.
“Michael has come a long way in a short space of time, when he came in first for the first few months of last season people were of the opinion that he wasn’t good enough for us. So he has come a long way and is in a rich vein of form and long may it continue.
“I didn’t manage him at Derry, he was 16 and I didn’t actually manage him and he was very young when he went away. He is having an exceptional season.”
Despite the plaudits heaped on Duffy, Kenny was quick to point out one of the clubs longest serving players has come into his own. Chris Shields has become ‘Mr. Dependable’ for the Dundalk manager as he approaches the mid year point to his seventh year at the club.
“I’m his harshest critic but he was incredible tonight with a tremendous performance. His passing has improved every year, he is always tackling and is quick all over the park. Now his passing is terrific and he has a full range of passing and he is playing the best football of his career. He played well in Europa League, but he is playing much better now. He is a tremendous player”
With Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan, Richie Towell, Ronan Finn and David McMillan just a few to mention few who have departed Oriel, the fear at present is that Dundalk might be cherry picked again. This is something Kenny believes might not necessarily happen.
“I don’t think players want to leave this team now, thats the impression I am getting now, players such as Michael are very happy here now and he is enjoying his football here and we just want to do well in Europe now and look to next week.”
Dundalk have already got their homework done ahead of this weeks match in the Europa League against AEK Larnaca with Dundalk’s coach and opposition analyst Ruaidhrí Higgins making a strenuous journey to see the Cypriot side.
“When we were in Tallinn, he (Higgins) was in Poland to see AEK. He took two flights and long train to a training camp to see them play AEK Athens. We have our prep done the last week or so and that isn’t disrespectful to Levadia Tallinn because we knew we could go out, but there was no point in going through and then worrying about it, we just said we had to do it.
“Obviously they are the Cypriot cup holders, APOEL who have been in the Champions League they have won the cup against them, they have qualified through the league as well. The coach is Spanish and he has signed a lot of Spanish players who have played in La Liga, they are a very experienced team so it will be a different type of game next week. They are a more controlled team than Levadia, but we are looking forward to it.”
“We certainly won’t fear anyone and we will look forward to next week. It’s very rare to win two matches in Europe home and away, its only the second time Dundalk have done it in its rich vein of history. It’s such a hard thing to do.”