Kenny: Rosenborg tie can be biggest ever
Johnny Kenny looks back on the Bit o' Red's meeting with Club Brugge and feels Thursday's tie with Rosenborg is an even bigger one than the game with the Belgian outfit 20 years ago.
Riverstown has been associated with many of the current crop of Rovers star but in eras gone by, there was only one. Johnny Kenny's electric pace and trickery illuminated many a game before the floodlights in The Showgrounds were introduced in 1993.
A vital part of Willie McStay’s treble winning side Kenny played in many big European nights for Rovers and is delighted to see the team on a great European adventure again:
“It’s great to see how well the lads are doing and I know from experience that there is nothing like a big European night in the Showgrounds. The game against Brugges was probably the biggest one that there had been given all the internationals that they had but the game on Thursday against Rosenborg will be bigger.
“The Nantes game was another big Euopean game but at the time there wasn’t the same about of interest in the Intertoto Cup as there had been for the other European competitions.”
Kenny set many of the standards for the current era of Rovers stars to surpass and one of them was the record for top goalscorer in Europe which had stood for 20 years until Alan Keane scored against Rosenborg last week. As unassuming and modest as ever, Kenny hadn’t known that he had that record!:
“I didn’t know that about the European goalscoring record. It done well to stand for that long! It’s a great achievement for Alan Keane to get especially as he is a defender and he could have it sown up for a while now himself especially if he can add to it hopefully on Thursday.”
Kenny remembers with fondness to this day the special type of atmosphere that was in the Showgrounds for those games against Floriana and Brugges and hopes to see it replicated on Thursday:
“They were special nights although I think it’s hard to get that type of atmosphere in the Showgrounds now. I think that the Shed is badly missed! Without question though the crowd can make an awful difference in games like this.
“In my day they were always behind us whereas now they seem to get edgy very quick and that can filter out onto the pitch and puts pressure on the lads. It was a great result out in Norway and the lads have done brilliant but it won’t be easy on Thursday as Rosenborg won’t come here lightly.”
The continuing development of Sligo Rovers on and off the pitch is something that gives Kenny a great sense of pride given the role he played in what had previously been the clubs most successful era:
“The ground is completely unrecognisable from when I played and the work that is being carried out on and off the pitch is phenomenal. To keep that up though you need more European nights of the like against Rosenborg. The buzz is back after the first leg win.
“When we were playing any sort of success was seen as unbelieveable as supporters weren’t used to it. It's different now but maybe this could be new territory if they can do it. There is still nothing more enjoyable than a big night in the Showgrounds. Best of luck to the lads on Thursday.”