The build-up to last Saturday's Allianz League football final was dominated by Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice's decision to hit out at the "complete lack of balance" to the narrative surrounding their seemingly unconquerable opponents, Dublin.
Fitzmaurice addressed what he believed to be an ignorance on the media's behalf towards Dublin's participation in Gaelic football's dark arts, where so many other counties are pulled up by journalists and pundits for similar antics. He maintained that he had to say something out of duty to his players, whom he felt might otherwise fall victim - once again - to referees blinded by Dublin's perceived superiority, unwilling to penalise them for cynical play as they might the other 31 counties.
Considering the success of Fitzmaurice's decision to speak out, it would appear Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has taken a leaf out of the Kerryman's book.
Speaking to his club's website, Kenny launched a quite astonishing riposte to the narrative surrounding his own team and their nearest opponents, bemoaning the quite remarkable fact that the champions haven't been awarded a penalty 362 days.
Quiz question: Who is Dundalk’s penalty taker? Our penalty takers have been practising their penalties every Thursday for the last year. They have spent the last calendar year practising penalties
For the last year our penalty takers have been working on their penalties with no reward. It’s hard to believe for a team that dominates like us.
Would you say that the league champions in any other country in Europe who dominate their games would have no penalties in a full calendar year? It’s really hard to believe.
It’s a year anniversary this weekend since we had our last penalty kick in the league. We haven’t had a penalty since April 15th last year, which is amazing when you consider that we are the most successful team in the modern era and we dominate the majority of games.
To not have a penalty in the league in a full calendar year is amazing. We have seen Ciaran Kilduff in Turner’s Cross a couple of weeks ago denied an absolute certain penalty which would have made the game 1-1. We have seen countless other situations in that regard.
Daryl Horgan will do well for Ireland for Martin O’Neill however an amazing statistic is that in the three years he was at Dundalk is that he was the best dribbler in the league but he never fell for a penalty.
He wasn't finished, however. We should point out the following all-caps and emboldened text is transcribed verbatim from Kenny's chat with Dundalk's website. Perhaps either he or they were trying to get his point across.
It’s an amazing statistic and it is hard to believe in that period that Cork City have had THIRTEEN penalties the beginning of last year! THIRTEEN penalties. There’s a huge disparity there. Thirteen penalties is outrageous.
Our players have been very honest. The problem now is that there is a tendency to have manufactured penalties. You see in England where the likes of Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy and so forth, you can see it now in Ireland that where there is minimal contact the player is manufacturing the penalty.
We have seen that consistently and it is difficult for referees. What do I do a as a manager? When we don’t get a penalty for a year do I encourage my players to go down?
To not get a penalty in a full year when another team gets thirteen does that mean I tell our players to go down all the time? I encourage my players to be honest.
The values that are in the team means that we have won the league three years in a row and we have also won the ‘Fair Play’ award in each of those years.
We are not going to encourage our players to go down. We have our values. In terms of the manufacturing of penalties the referees have to see through that. We have seen with the penalty Cork got against Shamrock Rovers a few weeks ago where Rovers lost 2-1 in Tallaght. That sort of manufacturing of penalties has to be stopped. They are being given too easily.
As a club we have to rise above all of that. There is a massive disparity in the decision making process. Is it Turner’s Cross? Why the disparity?
We have been the dominant team over this period. We won the league by seven points last season and dominating games. It’s a question which has to be asked.
We want some evenness in that regard and there has to be a fairness attached to everything.
Kenny's frustration is totally understandable of course; it's frankly unbelievable that Dundalk haven't won a penalty in the league since this time last year. His words will no doubt raise a few hearty laughs on Leeside, however, however valid they might be.
Still, given the fact that Fitzmaurice's slightly more magnanimous words from last week were received so well, it's certainly worth a try from Kenny's perspective. Despite its explosive nature, it's an extremely carefully-worded response, and it'll be interesting to see if Dundalk reap any reward versus Bray at Oriel Park on Friday.
You can read Kenny's full interview on the matter on Dundalk's official website.