Dundalk Stephen Kenny has dismissed the complaints of rival managers John Caulfield and Stephen Bradley in relation to his side’s transfer business this week.
The Lilywhites com[leted the signings of Georgie Kelly and Patrick McEleney this week, leading to grumblings in the Cork City and Shamrock Rovers camp about the financial clout that Dundalk are able to wield in comparison to their own.
Kenny, however, has hit back at each manager individually while speaking to DundalkSport.ie – firstly, taking exception to Caulfield’s assertion that they had paid a large fee for UCD’s Georgie Kelly, and accused the Leesiders of hypocrisy given their acquisition of Damien Delaney from Crystal Palace earlier in the summer:
“We didn’t pay any fee for Georgie. He’s a young player who has come in on a modest League of Ireland wage and wants to play here. We were going to take him at the start of the year but he had a duty to UCD to finish his scholarship and didn’t feel he could leave until the summer.
“He had his own personal agreement that he could leave on a free because of that and to try and put pressure on the lad like that is unnecessary and very disappointing. They’ve signed a ‘Premiership player’ (Damien Delaney) and we’ve signed a player from the First Division.”
Kenny then turned his attention and barbs in the direction of Bradley and Shamrock Rovers, who themselves had been linked with McEleney before his recent return to Oriel Park and who are expected to complete the signings of Aaron Greene and Dylan Watts (who reportedly rejected Dundalk) in the very near future.
Bradley had argued that letting McEleney leave for Oldham for free last year, only to re-sign him for a ‘five-figure sum’ just six months later reflected poorly on the league – and argument that Kenny won’t even entertain:
“I didn’t understand Stephen Bradley’s argument.
“Shamrock Rovers sent a delegation to Oldham to sign Patrick and agreed a fee. Obviously, we had a dilemma. We wanted Patrick and Patrick only wanted to come here. He didn’t want to go to Shamrock Rovers. The dilemma was to let him go or sign him.
“What people forget is that Patrick helped us earn over €7 million. He was very influential in doing that. For us, it was without doubt great business. He is one of the most exciting players we have seen in the league in modern times. He is worth the admission money.
“His criticism didn’t make sense to me at all. It’s just a bit of bravado and playing to the gallery. I felt he wanted to criticise Dundalk to keep people happy.”
Dundalk’s victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night – coupled with Cork City’s scoreless draw at home to Shamrock Rovers – has opened up a four-point gap at the top of the Premier Division ahead of the sides’ European campaigns beginning next week.