Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny, centre, with Gary Rogers and Michael Duffy after his side clinched the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title in Oriel Park last Friday.
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VINNY Perth believes the current Dundalk side will be remembered as one of the best the League of Ireland has ever seen.
Some critics have claimed that the current side are not as good as the one which reached the group stages of the Europa League in 2016 despite the fact they have won the league with more points and by scoring more goals, even with three games to go.
Worryingly for the chasing pack, Stephen Kenny’s assistant also feels that there are more titles to come from this group too.
‘That feeling has been annoying me of late,’ he said of the criticism.
‘You can’t compare eras and you can’t compare different teams. I’d love to see the team of 2016 against this team because it would be some game and I don’t know who’d win. There are different styles.
‘People look back with rose-tinted glasses at stuff from previous years but we’ve won the league this year in a manner which says this team has to be up there with all the great teams that have won a league.’
While Dundalk will undoubtedly add to their squad in the off-season, Perth insisted the basis for the side’s success was hard work and nurturing talent.
‘We’ll strengthen if there is someone that can improve the team,’ he said.
‘People outside the club have almost stopped talking about the football. It’s all about the money and the Americans and so forth but ultimately our back four is made up of Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland and Dane Massey who have been there from the very first day and no one else wanted them at the time and we did so that whole argument is nonsense. I suppose it’s the world of social media where people are voicing more opinions than we’ve ever heard but this team and this manager are right up there with the best there has ever been.
‘We play a slightly different way than we did in 2016 and in that year we didn’t have Richie Towell who had been phenomenal the year before so how can you compare all the teams? It’s a great discussion but it ultimately makes no difference. We’ve got to keep adding league titles to our list and get closer to being the best club in the country.’
After missing out on the title last season, Perth said this year’s success was one of the best he has enjoyed.
‘The first one meant so much because it was the start of everything. The style in which we won the 2016 one in terms of having to go to the well meant a hell of a lot but I think this one is special.
‘I think good managers win leagues and I think great managers win many leagues. I don’t know the right word for someone who rebuilds a team and wins a league. Apart from the big night here when we beat Cork this is the next best for me.
‘I’m really lucky because in my opinion I work with the best manager there ever has been. People talk about coaches and how good or bad they are but I’ve worked with potentially the best group of players who have ever been at this club so I’m a lucky boy. We’ve got the rewards for that over the last four or five years but it’s not over.’
This Friday Dundalk return to the RSC to face Waterford at a venue where a major turning point came in their season following a team meeting after the 2-1 defeat in early May - a result which was soured further by captain Stephen O’Donnell’s leg break. For Perth it was just one of many turning points in a long year.
‘I don’t think it’s any secret that we had a big chat that night where a lot of people spoke up but I think there has been a lot of key moments.
‘There was a winner here against Waterford late on in the season and a lot of other key moments. I have my own where I think I know where the league swung.’
Asked what that was, the former Longford Town player said: ‘It’s something that happened within the club and I think that’s when I knew we were going to win the league but there are a lot of turning points over a season.
‘We are the best team in the country. The league table backs that up but I have felt that for the last five years. We just left one league title behind us but we’ll kick on again now,’ he said.