Kenny was dismissed less than nine months into a three-year contract on Tuesday, a day after a home league defeat to bitter rivals Bohemians.
“Absolutely, yes,” agreed player-coach Hawkins when asked if the players had let Kenny down. “Without a shadow of a doubt. I’d have absolutely no problem at all saying that and I suppose I’m one of them. I was here to play.
“So, yes, lads have under-performed all year long, with the exception of one or two. Finner [Ronan Finn] has been outstanding for the last couple of months, but there’s not many that can hold their hands up and say, ‘I’ve done myself justice this year, performed as well as I can’. That’s not just for the manager, but for themselves and the club.
“Without a doubt the lads have not stepped up to the levels that they can or that they showed last year.”
But Hawkins dismissed suggestions Kenny lost the dressing room at Tallaght Stadium, as had been mooted earlier in the season.
“To be honest, I think that’s rubbish. It’s something that’s always going to get asked, but for me I think it’s nonsense.”
Stephen Glass, Kenny’s former assistant, has been placed in charge for tonight’s FAI Ford Cup quarter-final at Shelbourne. The 36-year-old Scot hinted yesterday that he would like the job permanently.
“I’m willing to keep going and I think I will get a response from the players,” said Glass. “I think you’ll see a good team performance [tonight]. A winning performance. If that gets me anywhere, we’ll see,” added Glass who, apart from defender Graham Gartland (back), brings a full squad to Tolka Park.
Shelbourne, who have lost their last five home league games, are at full strength as midfielders Paddy Kavanagh and Glenn Cronin return from bans.
While Tolka Park perhaps holds the most interest, the tie of the night is surely at Richmond Park where St Patrick’s Athletic host Drogheda United in a third versus second clash.
Pat’s boss Liam Buckley has left-back Ian Bermingham back fit following an ankle injury. Midfielder John Russell faces a late fitness test on a niggling ankle injury, as he hopes to help end the Inchicore side’s now 51-year wait for Irish football’s Blue Riband.
Drogheda have no injury or suspension concerns but are without their former Monaghan United players — Michael Schlingermann, Alan Byrne, Jason Marks and Conor McMahon — who are cup-tied.
Bohemians hope to have midfielder Ryan McEvoy back from an ankle injury for the visit of Dundalk to Dalymount Park. Captain Owen Heary’s back injury keeps him sidelined, however.
Dundalk defender Paul Whelan and midfielder Stephen are both cup-tied and left-back Eoghan Osborne is a doubt, though John Mountney and Mark O’Brien return.
Elsewhere, Derry City face Mervue United at the Brandywell.