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Fenlon: Euro exploits won't bring boune to domestic game

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Fenlon was in charge of Shelbourne when they scared the life out of Spanish giants Deportivo La Coruna in the final Champions League qualifying round back in 2004. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Fenlon was in charge of Shelbourne when they scared the life out of Spanish giants Deportivo La Coruna in the final Champions League qualifying round back in 2004. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Fenlon was in charge of Shelbourne when they scared the life out of Spanish giants Deportivo La Coruna in the final Champions League qualifying round back in 2004. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon is realistic.

He doesn't expect the Republic of Ireland's exploits in France to inspire fans to flock to domestic games, but does believe that a European run by his own would capture the public imagination.

The Hoops face ROPS Rovaniem at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday night (8.0pm) in the Europa League first qualifying round.

"We've seen it before," he told RTÉ Sport. "I've been involved in the league a long time. We've never got a real bounce from the national team doing well because I don't think the interest is there.

"[The league] needs a better structure, we need to sit down and work out how we can get that.

Fenlon was in charge of Shelbourne when they scared the life out of Spanish giants Deportivo La Coruna in the final Champions League qualifying round back in 2004, and believes that kind of run is the only way to get more bums on seats in the SSE Airtiricity League.

"I think you've seen over the years when some of the teams went on great runs, that seems to be the one thing that gets people interested," he said.

"The hardcore fans will go on a regular basis, but when some of the teams have progressed we've been able to attract new support. Our problem is being able to hold on to them after that.

"The more we can progress it does help, but it's a bigger picture than that for me. We need to look at the league and how it's structured and how it's run, and how we promote it to make it better."

Fenlon has done his homework on Finnish visitors ROPS as he targets a victory over two legs that would massively boost the coffers.

"The money for progressing is massive. If you win two games in Europe you win a lot more money than if you win a league title," he said.


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