Stephen Kenny said there's no reason Airtricity League Premier Division champions Dundalk should travel to Zenit St Petersburg with any fear, as they look to continue their incredible European adventure. 

The Lilywhites wrapped up the title last week as victory over Bohs, and crowned their third triumph on the bounce with a 4-1 hammering of Galway United at Oriel Park in the final league game of the season.

Now, the focus turns back to the Europa League and a trip to Russia to face a side in a different galaxy in financial terms. Kenny isn't daunted.

“I think the players have really embraced the European games and not been fearful at all," he told RTÉ'S Soccer Republic.

Yes they’ve got 18 internationals, they’ve real quality, but we shouldn’t underestimate ourselves

"We’ve had to go to tough away venues, and that’s what gives us encouragement for this Thursday.

"We’ve scored in Belarus last year, we’ve scored in Poland, we’ve scored in Iceland and we’ve scored in Holland.

"So we’re going away from home but that doesn’t mean it should be any more daunting than playing at home against Zenit, and that’s the way we view it.

"Yes they’ve got 18 internationals, they’ve real quality, but we shouldn’t underestimate ourselves.

"We’ve gone away consistently in all of the games and put in good performances, so we should take encouragement from that."

Dundalk will play their eighth game in 20 days this Thursday, a phenomenally demanding period that's seen them capture the domestic crown, keep their Europa League hopes alive and book a date in the FAI Cup final, which they'll play on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium against Cork City.  

Kenny admitted his men have been pushed to the absolute limit.

“It wasn’t right really," he said. "The players had to play through the pain barrier on several occasions.

"That was a challenge that we faced so we had to embrace it. You have to overcome it. We would have liked a different schedule, particularly playing a couple of the European games after playing league games on a Monday night.

"We sort of ran out of steam in the last 15 minutes against Zenit having played on the Monday night against Longford."

Kenny did admit that comign through those challeneges has made success all the sweeter, and paid tribute to how the side has adapted to the loss of their main man last season: "It was a great way to win [the league], to have that challenge presented to you and to overcome it.

"The standard of the European games has been so high that it’s really elevated their performances.

"We had to change somewhat this yea, losing someone like Richie Towell who was so prolific and such a talisman for us. We had to play differently and the players have managed to meet that challenge head on."