| 12.5°C Dublin

Rovers windfall

SHAMROCK ROVERS are celebrating a 3300,000-plus windfall ahead of Thursday's Europa League qualifier against Italian giants Juventus at Tallaght Stadium.

As thousands queued yesterday for tickets, which means the third qualifying round first leg will be a 5,800 sellout, Hoops chiefs put their thinking caps on to cash in on the event, with television rights making up the bulk of the club's profit.


Rovers put another 350,000 into their coffers yesterday by selling 500 season tickets for the remainder of the season at 3100 each.

The club suffered a blow when UEFA rejected their advances to secure 4,000 more temporary seats at both ends of Tallaght Stadium, but this setback will be tempered by the money they will get from Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset company, who will stump up 3200,000 for live broadcasting rights, while RTE have also paid to secure the rights to beam the game live on both television and radio on Thursday.

Rovers have also produced special merchandise for the occasion and are looking into a pre-game Fanfest area, which -- if it goes ahead -- will offer food, drink and entertainment akin to the recent World Cup.

In what will be Juventus coach Luigi del Neri's first competitive game in charge, the Turin club are likely to include many of their top names, although goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is out having sustained a back injury at the World Cup.

Buffon's Italian team-mate Vincenzo Iaquinta will also miss the game through injury, but legendary Italian Alessandro del Piero is likely to figure for the Old Lady.

Former Sampdoria coach Del Neri ran the rule over his new side in the 2-1 friendly victory over Lyon on Saturday.


Among those familiar to Irish fans will be French striker David Trezeguet and Brazilian star Felipe Melo, while Liverpool supporters will remember that Momo Sissoko left Anfield for Turin in an 311m move in 2008.

Italian players who played against Ireland in last year's World Cup qualifiers were Mauro Camoranesi, Giorgio Chiellini, Simone Pepe and Fabio Grosso.

Juve also paid a whopping 324.5m for the services of Brazilian playmaker Diego from German club Werder Bremen, while the experienced Bosnian star Hasan Salihamidzic was a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich back in 2001.

Rovers manager Michael O'Neill will have to engage in some guesswork as to which team Del Neri plays on Thursday as the Hoops have had only a week to prepare for the game after last Thursday's excellent win over Israeli outfit Bnei Yahuda in Tel Aviv.