Friday 30 September 2016

Dundalk's sights on €7m Euro windfall

Soccer

Published 02/08/2016 | 02:30

Dundalk's Brian Gartland and BATE Borisov goalkeeper Sergei Chernik lie dazed after a collision
Dundalk's Brian Gartland and BATE Borisov goalkeeper Sergei Chernik lie dazed after a collision

Dundalk have their sights set on hitting a Euro jackpot of €7m by overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit against BATE Borisov tonight and reaching the last qualifying round for the Champions League group stages.

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The Lilywhites are already guaranteed €1.2m for reaching the third qualifying round and that will rise to at least €7m should they advance to the next stage.

Manager of the League of Ireland champions Stephen Kenny remains hopeful his troops can take the game to the visitors from Belarus in their temporary home of Tallaght Stadium.

Dundalk have to play in Tallaght as Oriel Park does not meet UEFA's standards for the match and that has prompted Kenny to criticise the local council and politicians for a "lack of vision".

"Dundalk is a strong provincial town," Kenny said. "I think European nights should be there. They should get the benefit of a big European night.

"Sometimes it's much bigger than an event in Dublin where it can get lost. I think a big European night can have a big impact on a provincial town. It's a disappointment for any politicians in Dundalk or in the Co Louth region. It's a disappointment but do they care? Is it important to them? I don't know if it is.

Stephen Kenny on his way out to pitch for training yesterday to put the final touches to his plan to guide Dundalk to Euro bonanza. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Stephen Kenny on his way out to pitch for training yesterday to put the final touches to his plan to guide Dundalk to Euro bonanza. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

"The Louth County Council and the politicians up in Dundalk need to look at the fact that there is no stadium for any sport in the region.

"Last year, it was our intention to bring the FAI Cup home. We wanted a stage. The club went and approached the council and were told that they couldn't provide a stage but they would provide the electricity.

"I actually thought that was a joke but they were actually serious that they would provide the electricity if we wanted to get our own stage.

"When you're dealing with that sort of mentality and lack of vision, you understand. I was astonished at that comment.

"We ended up bringing the bus around the town but it was a sub-standard solution.

"That was a good chance to get 20,000 people in Dundalk in a square with the team and the FAI Cup but there was no enthusiasm for that."

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