Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny hailed the contribution of his two goalscoring midfielders after the 2–1 win over Shamrock Rovers on Friday night.
The Lilywhites jumped ahead of Cork City and Waterford to go top of the table thanks to goals from Robbie Benson and Chris Shields at Oriel Park.
Benson has now scored eight times against Rovers and Kenny was impressed by the Athlone native’s determination to start and finish the move that broke the deadlock.
“Robbie was very much involved in the move early on. He was very tenacious, dribbled well, used the ball well and then had the wherewithal to follow up Pat Hoban’s strike and finish it off.
“He has been very good for us this season and when you get goals you get more credit. He has been quite consistent overall and I have been very happy with how he has played.”
If Benson is something of a regular on the scoresheet, then the same cannot be said of Shields.
Friday night’s goal was his first in the league since August 2013 and Kenny was as shocked as anyone in the ground to see the 27-year-old’s cross deceive Kevin Horgan and bounce into the net.
“It’s Chris’s first goal in five years. I didn’t quite realise that. It just shows you how long I’m here!” laughed the Lilywhites boss.
“His finishing in training has been very good but we’ve had to fetch a few balls out of row Z over that time!,” he added. “It was a surprise when it went in. It was a goalkeeping error but we’ll take it.”
Kenny said that the only blemish on the night was Daniel Carr’s 76th-minute strike which ended Dundalk’s sequence of eight games without conceding a goal, one short of the record set by Sligo Rovers back in 2011.
“I was annoyed that we conceded a goal from a corner kick,” said Kenny. “We pride ourselves on that and we obviously hadn’t conceded a goal this season. To concede a careless one like that made the game a bit more dramatic when it didn’t need to be at that stage but you can’t have everything.
“We enjoyed the run,” he added. “We try to cultivate a togetherness and determination to fight for each other in the dressing room. You can’t underestimate that and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to lose it.
“We gave up more chances than we should have. Rovers had runners from deep and got into our defence a couple of times but we’ll take the win and it’s a very important one.”
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