"It's a culmination of your life's work" - Stephen Kenny reflects on a historic night for Dundalk

The Dundalk manager savours historic victory in the Champions League

Stephen Kenny

Image: ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

Dundalk etched their names into the history books last night after their 3-0 win over BATE Borisov, guaranteeing their spot in the play-off round of the Champions League.

The Premier Division champions overturned a 1-0 first-leg defeat in Belarus and scored three wonderfully taken goals to continue their European adventure - and in the process guaranteeing another lucrative payday.

The money, however, was not at the forefront of manager Stephen Kenny's mind after the victory and he told reporters that the triumph was for the fans.

"To me it was about the glory of the football tonight," he said. "To win a game of that magnitude with such style and to go on and to know that you're going on to play a further eight games of that magnitude... And that you're in the fourth round of the Champions League, we'll see what the draw brings on Friday. That's the beauty of it.

"I think we can take great confidence from [the victory]. We'll see who the draw brings and do our research accordingly."

To put the victory in context, Kenny spoke about how it ranked in winning the league or a domestic cup.

"For us to win the league two years ago, to come from the bottom to win it in such style in front of a Dundalk full house, was really amazing. 

"We won the league here last year and it was great to win it on the road in Tallaght. But there was an inevitability about it, we were well clear and we were always going to win it. The FAI Cup final was also special to win in the Aviva in front of 35,000 people.

"Tonight was just the sheer ecstasy, people just didn't expect it. BATE have got such pedigree and they get there nearly every year in the group. They beat Roma, they drew with Bayern Munich the year before. They consistently get good results and they've got over 600 European appearances in their squad. Everyone is an international. We don't have any internationals. 

David McMillan celebrates scoring last night at Tallaght Stadium. Image: ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan 

"We have players who have come from different parts of Ireland like Athlone, Waterford, Derry, Galway... We've got players from everywhere who have come together to get behind Dundalk FC. They really showed their character.

"It was great to see such sheer joy. It was a culmination of your life's work to get into the group stages, you have that desire. You work towards it everyday. To be in with Europe's elite, all of the teams in the fourth round are from major cities. Clubs that have major fan bases and major stadiums.

"We're a small club and what this group of players have achieved this far is phenomenal. It doesn't have to stop here, we have the fourth round of the Champions League and we want to try and get there." 

He remarked on the journey and how far Dundalk have come to reach this stage. 

"This club were seven years in the First Division, it is really a back water. The First Division is really difficult to get out of. A club can die. I've seen one or two clubs go out of existence and Dundalk went close to that the year before we came in."