David Healy says Dundalk are the 'benchmark' for clubs north and south of the border.
The Linfield boss was speaking following his side's 7-1 thumping at the hands of the Lilywhites in the Unite the Union Champions Cup.
Healy took full responsibility for the Blues 6-0 mauling at Oriel Park last night and was asked if there was a gulf in class between the leagues, he said he couldn't say much after suffering such a heavy defeat, but added that he felt his team had acquitted themselves well in the first leg against such a good team.
"Dundalk are the benchmark for clubs not only in Ireland but in the north as well," said Healy.
"The level of consistency that they keep winning, even after changing managers, is a credit to them.
"Other people will say what they want and have their own opinions.
"I thought we were more than a match on Friday night, this was maybe a game too far.
"I felt the two-legged nature of the competition wasn't ideal for us, that's our 26th competitive game of the season so far.
"It was a disappointing night and as the manager I have to take it on the chin, I got it wrong.
"The players have been an absolute credit since I've been at the football club.
"There was no point me going in there at the end of the game and letting rip because I've been so proud of the players and the performances they have given me.
"It was an off-night for us, we were poor against a rampant Dundalk side. We saw how really good they were.
"If we can take a positive out of it tonight it's seeing Dundalk's relentless pursuit of trophies.
"They were sensational and we were miles off it."
As for the possibility of a cross-border competition coming to fruition in the future involving more clubs from both leagues Healy said he was happy with life in the Danske Bank Premiership but he didn't rule out the idea altogether.
"I will let the powers that be decide on that," he said.
"Would it be good or bad, I don't know until such times that something is put in place.
"I love the league that we're in as I'm sure the League of Ireland clubs love their league.
"Personally I'm happy where we are, but that's not to say that things can't be tweaked."