Friday 28 November 2014

Fenlon calls for league summit after 'nightmare' fortnight

Published 28/08/2014 | 02:30

Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon is deeply frustrated by the image problem that game cancellations is creating for the League of Ireland. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon is deeply frustrated by the image problem that game cancellations is creating for the League of Ireland. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Pat Fenlon believes that League of Ireland clubs need to sit down together and work out a collective strategy after another embarrassing cancellation.

Tuesday's last-minute postponement of the FAI Cup tie between Shelbourne and St Patrick's Athletic followed on from last week's Bohemians-Shamrock Rovers fiasco.

Rovers boss Fenlon understands that financial issues tie clubs' hands but is deeply frustrated by the image problem it creates for the league. He thinks leadership is required to organise a group discussion.

"At the end of the day, it's a nightmare for everybody," says Fenlon. "It shouldn't happen, but it does happen. That's the disappointing thing.

"There's a lot of good stuff in the league - you talk about a good Dundalk team getting good gates, good players, good managers - and then you look at the other side of it and we're continuously letting ourselves down.

"It's frustrating, very frustrating. There's a product there and there are people that want to see it, but unfortunately we're going to the same people all the time. We're not recruiting new supporters. They'll look at it and think 'why bother?' if things like that (cancellations) happen. That's where it needs leadership.

Resolve

"It's not about being critical of anybody but how do we resolve it? Rather than saying they're at fault or he's at fault or we're at fault, just try and sit down to resolve it. For too long clubs have looked after themselves and the bigger picture is neglected a bit."

Fenlon is still adjusting to his new job in Tallaght and is looking forward to a busy period which will be heavily influenced by Dundalk after Tuesday's FAI Cup quarter-final draw set up a September clash to go with their EA Sports Cup final date and a crucial league meeting.

"Hopefully we'll have a big say in their season," said Fenlon with a smile and a nod to the treble-chasers. "We're not expected to win anything."

With plenty to be decided in the coming weeks, Fenlon has shelved talking contracts with his players for next term.

The squad are used to the uncertainty. Winger Sean O'Connor, whose deal is expiring, is looking towards doing his coaching badges to fill spare time.

"In two months' time you're out of contract and out of pocket, that's the way the league is," says O'Connor, who nearly joined Sligo Rovers in June before Ian Baraclough's departure.

"I've been poor this season," he continues. "I'm hoping with Pat coming in it will give me a new lease of life."

Irish Independent

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