01 Oct 2022

O’Donnell pours cold water on Dundalk departure rumours

O’Donnell pours cold water on Dundalk departure rumours

Dundalk FC Head Coach Stephen O'Donnell

Stephen O’Donnell has addressed unfounded speculation that he was close to resigning as Dundalk FC head coach after their recent 3-2 loss at UCD in the SSE Airtricity League.

In the aftermath of that defeat in Belfield, rumours began to circulate that O’Donnell had met with the club’s ownership, and even offered his resignation during that discussion.

However, the Dundalk boss has moved quickly to pour cold water over such suggestions, insisting that his remit for the season was to return an element of stability into the club.

“I heard that,” he laughed in response to recent speculation. “It’s absolute nonsense. I won’t be walking away, without a shadow of a doubt. Look, we’re in our first season. The talk at the start of the season was, let’s get our club back and let’s consolidate.

“We’ve got our club back and make no bones about it, we will be successful. We have people involved in the dressing room, in the club that will go 150% and leave no stone unturned for us to be successful, and we will be successful.

“These things take a little bit of time. Maybe it’s a false dawn in regards our second and third quarter, when our trajectory was so good. We’ve dipped off it, but these things take time to build. I’ve been at St Pats and it took a little bit of time to build. We ended up coming second last year and winning the cup, so I’ve no doubt, we’ll build something really, really good here.”

The Lilywhites suffered another devastating 3-2 defeat last Friday night in the FAI Cup, as they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Waterford in The RSC.

Although disappointed by that latest mishap, O’Donnell reaffirmed that he isn’t feeling any pressure, and instead challenged himself and his players to come out fighting.

“I’m a Dundalk person in everything but where I was born. I lived in the town. I had the worst weekend possible last weekend. This is going to eclipse it this weekend. It tears the gut. It’s from a disappointment standpoint and just a frustration standpoint.

“If anything, I’m so really, really invigorated by the challenge, without a doubt. When you suffer nights like tonight, it makes a challenge greater, much greater, and makes the good times that much sweeter.”

The 36-year-old captained Dundalk throughout the club’s halcyon days under Stephen Kenny and returned at the end of last year following a spell as St Patrick’s Athletic boss.

And, the Galwegian has absolutely no intentions of walking away from the club he holds so dear to his heart, as he bids to emulate the successes of Kenny over the coming years.

“I love the club, I love being here, I’ve really enjoyed the season, I love being around the place, I love Oriel, I love the reporters, I love the supporters, I love everything about it.

“We will be successful. We’re third in the league with six games left. We’ve lost five out of 30. It’s disappointing tonight and disappointing last week. Will there be frustration with the supporters? Will there be expectancy to win last week, to win tonight? Without a doubt.

“I’ve been here when it has been winning leagues, winning cups and that. We wouldn’t have come here if we didn’t think there was scope to really make us a force again.”

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