FOOTBALL: Kenny's a Gypsy Who Is Now Sticking around; BOHEMIANS BOSS WANTS TO END 20-YEAR WAIT FOR BACK-TO-BACK EIRCOM LEAGUE TITLES
Byline: Paul KEANE By Alex McGREEVY
BOHEMIANS boss Stephen Kenny is the manager with the midas touch but he's only got eyes for more silver in 2003.
Kenny and his jubilant Gypsies bring the down the curtain on a near perfect season this afternoon when they play host to Derry City at Dalymount Park, the final match of the campaign.
In truth, the result is largely insignificant for Bohs and the occasion will be more about kick-starting a party that will go on long into the night in Phibsboro.
Bohs were crowned champions a fortnight ago when they finished off a glorious season in some style at Tolka Park, beating second placed Shelbourne 1-0 to claim the title.
Since then it's been all handshaking, back-slapping and heaped praise on the Gypsy heroes.
Of course, Kenny has no problem with that but he's quick to point to the future too - and he wants it to be full of silverware.
It's a future he hopes will see Bohs take over as the undisputed kings of League of Ireland football, just like Shamrock Rovers did back in the 1980s under the legendary Jim McLoughlin.
Kenny told the SP: "We're absolutely delighted to win the league, it's a great thing to have done.
"But we're not gloating about it at the same time. There's a strong determination here to go on and do even better.
"No manager since Jim McLoughlin with Shamrock Rovers back in 1983 has managed to win back-to-back titles.
"It's something we're all aware of. "Teams generally struggle the following season after winning a title and the plan now is to go and win the league next season and prove we're not just a good team but something much better."
Even though Kenny is talking about a rare two-in-a-row, and possibly even more beyond, you find it hard to pick flaws in his argument.
The ambitious Dubliner has proved he's not just the top young manager in Ireland - but the top manager outright.
At just 31 he was even tipped by his former goalkeeper at Longford Town, Stephen O'Brien, in a recent interview to someday manage the Irish national team.
From small acorns grow great oaks. Teak tough Kenny has enamoured himself every step of the way as a manager since he took over at Tallaght Town in the mid 1990s.
After that, he won an U-21 league title with St Patrick's Athletic in 1998 before departing to the midlands and Longford Town where he put in motion one of the great Irish soccer stories.
From the depths of obscurity at the bottom of the first division, Kenny put a squad in place that amazingly brought European football to Longford for the first time ever.
In 2001 fans, players, club officials and even Kenny himself helped get the new look Flancare Park ready for their UEFA Cup tie with Liteks Lovech of Bulgaria against all the odds.
The scenes in the run up to the game were hugely emotional for locals, who all dug in to finish their new stadium in time and make the impossible possible. …