Brian Kerr calls on League of Ireland clubs to emulate Dundalk's European success

He was speaking after the Premier Division champions were beaten in their final Europa League group stage game

Brian Kerr

Image: eir Sport

Dundalk closed the book on one of the most famous chapters in the club's history this evening, with a spirited 2-1 defeat away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

Stephen Kenny's men never let the heads drop despite going behind twice in the game and could have snatched a late equaliser through Ciaran Kilduff, but his header was wide of the mark.

They finish bottom of the group and with four points on the board, mark the best record an Irish club have had in the European competition.

A draw at AZ Alkmaar and victory at Tallaght Stadium against Tel-Aviv go down in the record books as two of the most famous results the club have ever enjoyed.

Speaking after the game, Brian Kerr urged other teams in the League of Ireland to look at the example set by Dundalk and to try and emulate the success they've enjoyed over the past four months.

"What they've done is make the marker and the other clubs in the League of Ireland have to match some of this," he said.

"It's no use if, going down the road, one team is capable of winning a couple of games in Europe and the rest are getting knocked out in the first round, second round or getting beaten by countries that we should be capable of beating. That's the challenge for all the teams to come up together to the standard."

Kerr admitted that the standard of opposition may have been slightly too high for the Premier Division champions and insisted that regardless of tonight's result, they gave a credible account of themselves in Europe.

"I said before the match I didn't think they'd quite make it. The standard of the opposition in the group was of really high quality.

"This team [Maccabi Tel-Aviv] weren't the best of the four by any means, but were still a very good team. They had 17 internationals, lots of European experience and made the Champions League group stages last year.

"It was just too much for Dundalk given the league they're coming from. Look at their overall that their European record this year - 12 games - just two wins, four draws and six defeats. Four one-goal defeats in the last few games, so it's very fine line stuff."

Dundalk, who celebrated a domestic three in-a-row just weeks ago, will now look ahead to next season and plan with the increased funding which has come as a result of their European campaign.

Despite the fact that two of their key players - Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan - look to be on their way out of the club, they will look to build on the success of 2016.