Thanks for the memories Stephen

Dundalk supporters are mourning the loss of the club’s most successful manager following the news that Stephen Kenny has left the club to take charge of the Ireland U21 side. Kenny will also have responsibility for all underage national teams and in 2020 it has been agreed that he will succeed Mick McCarthy as the senior national side’s boss.
The news comes as a hammer-blow to Lilywhite supporters who have enjoyed some of the finest nights in the club’s long and storied history under the guidance of the popular Dubliner. Rumours began circulating last week that the race to succeed Martin O’Neill as national senior team manager was a two-horse race between Mick McCarthy and Stephen Kenny.
Dundalk supporters breathed a sigh of relief when it became apparent that McCarthy was odds on favourite to take up the role. However, that relief turned to shock on Saturday when reports began to leak that Stephen Kenny would take over the U21’s before succeeding the Yorkshireman in 2020.
Fans have been quick to fill social media with tributes to their now former manager with the vast majority thanking Kenny for bringing the glory days back to Oriel Park. The story is well told at this stage but when Kenny arrived just over six years ago he found a club on it’s knees who had just avoided relegation thanks to a victory over Waterford in the playoffs.
Kenny, who had been sacked by Shamrock Rovers two months previously after just eleven months in charge of the Tallaght outfit, rebuilt a Dundalk side from scratch and surprised many with a second place finish in his first season. From that point on the side only got better, winning three league titles in succession as well as a league cup and FAI Cup. His finest achievement with the club was yet to come however with qualification to the group stage of the Europa League following a sensational 3-0 victory over BATE Borisov in Tallaght Stadium. (That victory led them to a Champions League playoff with Legia Warsaw but a 3-1 aggregate defeat parachuted them into the Europa League group stages).
Dundalk failed to qualify from Group D but won many admirers with some wonderful performances including an away point in Alkamaar (First points by any Irish side in Europa League group stages), victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv, two narrow 2-1 defeats against Zenit St Petersburg, and narrow one goal defeats against both Alkamaar and Tel Aviv. Dundalk lost their league title to Cork in 2017 but bounced back superbly in 2018 winning the double to cement their reputation as one of the leagues finest ever sides.
Stephen Kenny leaves Dundalk a hero having delivered four league titles, two FAI Cups and two league cups as well as that memorable Europa League run in 2016. Dundalk fans will wish him well as he departs and talk will now turn to who will replace the Dubliner as the Lilywhites look to retain their title as well as getting ready for a Champions League campaign. Whoever gets the job will have big shoes to fill.
Dundalk FC wishes to congratulate Stephen Kenny on his appointment to be the Republic of Ireland Manager in 2020.
The Club would like to take this occasion to thank Stephen Kenny for driving the amazing success achieved during his tenure. We understand that his next opportunity is one that he was going to find hard to resist, once offered, and everyone connected with Oriel Park wishes him the very best. His achievements at Dundalk FC have merited this opportunity and it is fully deserved.

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