REACTION | Kenny: ‘We showed a different side to our game’

Lilywhites boss hails two-goal hero McMillan

Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny congratulates David McMillan at Finn Park on Friday night. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN

Stephen Kenny hailed his Dundalk side’s ability to dig in and grind out a result against Finn Harps in Ballybofey on Friday night.

A dreadful playing surface meant that good football was at a premium in Finn Park but Dundalk still had enough in their locker to secure a 2–0 win thanks to David McMillan’s brace.

And speaking afterwards, Kenny was thrilled that the new players in his team had shown plenty of heart for the battle.

“It was a game that concerned me. Finn Harps have had some good results recently and the pitch was unplayable at times so we had to show a different side to our armoury,” said Kenny.

“We’ve brought a lot of younger players in this season, the likes of Jamie McGrath, Sean Hoare, Michael Duffy and Conor Clifford.

“They are all good technical players but we had to see what they were like coming to Finn Harps away where they had to battle it out, go toe to toe and come out on top. They answered a lot of questions tonight and that was the most pleasing thing for me.

Injuries to Sean Gannon and Paddy Barrett forced Kenny into changing the composition of his back four yet again but Dundalk looked comfortable with Sean Hoare catching the eye on his first start and Gary Rogers looking very assured with his handling.

“Gary was excellent,” said Kenny. “Some of the criticism of him has been completely wide of the mark. He has made over 450 appearances — which is incredible — and he is younger than the other goalkeepers at the top three clubs.

“People have been writing him off but he has been terrific and tonight again, he didn’t have too many saves to make, his general handling at crosses was excellent.”

Kenny also heaped praise on McMillan who has returned with a big bang following the niggling knee injury that kept him sidelined in pre-season.

“I don’t think people realise the sheer toll that last year took on the players. At the end of it there was a run of games that was unprecedented in almost any country throughout the world,” said Kenny.

“David McMillan and Chris Shields didn’t participate in any pre-season training. Tonight was just David’s second start but he’s already got four goals and he hit the woodwork twice aswell.

“It was a real leader’s performance from him tonight and we needed that. There were other leader’s missing tonight but David stepped up and gave us leadership in abundance.”

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