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Dundalk won't go down quietly, says boss Stephen Kenny

By Daniel McDonnell

Published 23/08/2016

Going for it: Stephen Kenny will throw caution to the wind in Poland
Going for it: Stephen Kenny will throw caution to the wind in Poland

Once bitten, twice shy? No chance. The Dundalk players were caught out upon their arrival in Poland on Sunday when they were unprepared for the mosquitoes that interrupted a training session. All the proper precautions are in place now.

But, when it comes to the second leg of their Champions League play-off with Legia Warsaw tonight, Stephen Kenny will throw caution to the wind.

From 2-0 down, he feels there is no other option in their attempt to become the first Irish side to qualify. Keeping it tight until the last 20 minutes and going for it then is not on his mind.

"My attitude is get the first goal and see where it takes us," he said. "There could be consequences playing that way, I'm not naive. It could leave us exposed.

"We have to do something remarkable. We are going to have to play brilliantly."

That could well be an understatement. In the course of his musings, Kenny acknowledged that a stunning comeback would not just represent one of the best results in Irish history; it would be up there with the best Champions League results given the significance of the game for the lowest-ranked side in this stage.

The odds are stacked against them. No other Irish outfit has ever retrieved a tie from this position; it's this Dundalk group which came closer than anyone.

They travelled to Croatia two years ago trailing 2-0 from a first-leg Europa League loss to Hadjuk Split. Hadjuk were 3-0 up on aggregate at the break but a pair of quick Dundalk strikes before the final 15 minutes set up a nervy ending.

That took Hadjuk by surprise. Legia are taking no chances, with manager Besnik Hasi making it clear that they have work to do to end a 21-year wait for Champions League football by making 10 changes for a 3-1 loss at home to Arka Gdynia on Saturday.

Kenny said: "If they were complacent, they wouldn't have rested their whole team. Their coach knows there was nothing in it."

Whatever happens, this week will end on a high for Dundalk with a draw for group stage football. They are refusing to contemplate the Europa League options when they still have an outside chance to dine at the top table. It would be a surprise if they went down quietly.

Belfast Telegraph

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