Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has launched an astonishing attack on Cork City and what he perceives to be a growing culture of “manufacturing penalties” in Ireland.
Kenny believes that “a huge disparity” exists between his side and their fierce rivals Cork when it comes to being awarded penalties, emphasising that the League of Ireland champions have not been given a penalty in over a year.
“It’s a year anniversary this weekend since we had our last penalty kick in the league. We haven’t had a penalty since April 15th last year, which is amazing when you consider that we are the most successful team in the modern era and we dominate the majority of games,” Kenny told the club’s official website.
“To not have a penalty in the league in a full calendar year is amazing. We have seen Ciaran Kilduff in Turner’s Cross a couple of weeks ago denied an absolute certain penalty which would have made the game 1-1. We have seen countless other situations in that regard.
— Dundalk FC (@DundalkFC) April 12, 2017
“Daryl Horgan will do well for Ireland for Martin O’Neill however an amazing statistic is that in the three years he was at Dundalk is that he was the best dribbler in the league but he never fell for a penalty.
“It’s an amazing statistic and it is hard to believe in that period that Cork City have had THIRTEEN penalties the beginning of last year! THIRTEEN penalties. There’s a huge disparity there. Thirteen penalties is outrageous. ”
The former Shamrock Rovers and Derry City manager pointed to examples from the Premier League in England and suggested that more players are going down after ‘minimal contact’ in order to ‘manufacture’ a penalty.
“Our players have been very honest,” continued Kenny. “The problem now is that there is a tendency to have manufactured penalties. You see in England where the likes of Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy and so forth, you can see it now in Ireland that where there is minimal contact the player is manufacturing the penalty.
“We have seen it several times this season. It’s difficult for referees. Sometimes it is the assistant referee who gives the decision when there’s minimal contact. They say that there’s even though there’s minimal contact it’s a penalty but not enough to make the player go down because they are manufacturing the foul.
“We have seen that consistently and it is difficult for referees. What do I do a as a manager? When we don’t get a penalty for a year do I encourage my players to go down?”
Kenny’s comments have not gone down particularly well though, with Cork fans quick to ridicule the rival boss for throwing the proverbial toys out of the pram.
Stephen Kenny speaking to the media this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/B7tUUSELTo
— Cork City Rumours (@CorkCityRumours) April 12, 2017
— The Bishopstown Bar (@thebtownbar) April 13, 2017
The comments are slightly surprising, coming from such an accomplished and experienced coach, but one thing is certain: it will definitely contribute to the drama factor this season – something that can without doubt help to boost interest in the league.
What do you think? Is Kenny right? Has a culture of manufacturing penalties gripped Irish football?