Phoenix delight in draw

by Stephen Findlater
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DESPITE having to move away from Scribblestown for their FAI Senior Cup second round date against Dundalk, Marc Kenny says Phoenix are delighted with being drawn against the high-flying Airtricity Premier division side.
The Dublin 15 club were handed home advantage for the tie but their home ground has been deemed not suitable for the second round date, and so the club are currently exploring the best possible options to maximise the benefits of meeting a side currently fourth in the country.
Speaking to GazetteSport about Monday night’s draw, manager Kenny said that while it will a huge test of LSL Sunday Senior side, it will be a big day out for the club.
“It’s a tough one but we are delighted; the players, the staff and the club as a whole. It puts us on the map. I think it’s three years out of the last four that we’ve had League of Ireland sides [in the cup] and it’s a nice little coup for the club.
“Dundalk are flying at the moment and I’d know Stephen Kenny quite well and the players they have. They’ve done really well, so we’re just thrilled with it.
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to host them in Scribblestown as it wouldn’t be up to an FAI standard – it’s up to intermediate standard – so we have to see what we are going to do, whether we are going to move grounds. We’d be looking at somewhere like Dalymount or Richmond Park which may cost us on the day so we may have to surrender home advantage and hopefully get a share of the gate.”
On a personal level, the former Shamrock Rovers man has fond memories of meeting Dundalk in this competition.
“I played against Dundalk 20-odd times over the year but in one of my last years with Rovers, I scored in Oriel Park in a second round replay. I’ve good memories of that!”
As for his players, the tie will come at the end of a long campaign and so Kenny is hoping to give his players as much of a chance to go into the tie as fresh as possible against a side in midseason.
“It’s another four weeks away and we have four games still to play in the next fortnight. It leaves us a two-week lead-in but I think we’re likely to rest the players for a week. Most of the lads have played 30 to 35 games to date so the rest will do them no harm and then off we go for the game.”
The second round date will be played on the first weekend in June.

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