Fenlon feeling nostalgic ahead of date with Linfield
FEW Dubliners are idolised on the Shankill Road and, in mid-1990s Belfast, it was extremely unusual for a man from down south to be honoured by a picture in a shop window.
But such was the impact that Pat Fenlon made during his time in the colours of Linfield that religious matters were put to one side. The Bohemians manager is a hero to Blues followers, and will receive a warm reception from the visiting fans ahead of today's Setanta Cup semi-final first leg.
Fenlon was in nostalgic form as he looked ahead to the match, reflecting on his decision to join Linfield in 1994 where, along with Dundalk's Dessie Gorman, he played a role in league title success.
"We had a trip up the Shankill after we won the cup to do the double," smiled Fenlon. "And when you see your picture in the windows of shops on the Shankill Road, it's hard to explain to people. It was a fantastic time.
"I went there after my dad had died, and I felt like I wanted something a little different to do -- a new challenge. Financially it was a good move as well, and it got me going again from a football point of view. I spoke to people in my family as it was still a little bit scary up there at the time but I never had a problem there or an issue when I was playing for Linfield. It was a great two and a half seasons."
Fenlon had a good relationship with Linfield boss David Jeffrey, who returned to the club as a coach shortly before Shamrock Rovers lured the midfielder back to the League of Ireland. They have a healthy appreciation of each other's abilities. This two-legged clash promises to entertain.
Bohemians v Linfield
(Dalymount Park, 12.30,
Live, Setanta Sports 1)
Last result: Bohemians 0 Sligo Rovers 0, Institute 0 Linfield 3
Betting: Bohs 5/6 Linfield 11/4 Draw 9/4
Referee: T Connolly (Dublin).
Team News: Steven Gray, Gareth McGlynn and Ruaidhri Higgins are cup-tied for the home side, while Killian Brennan (ankle injury) and Anto Murphy (shoulder) are doubtful.
Talking Point: The top dogs north of the border face the kingpins of the south this afternoon in what is set to be an intriguing clash, but while Fenlon's men stumbled at home to Sligo last week, the Blues have momentum with them as they edge towards another JJB Premiership title.
Verdict: Home win.