Saturday 17 August 2019

Bradley and Perth hit out at cancellation of fixtures over U-21 tournament

Bradley: Unhappy. Photo: Sportsfile
Bradley: Unhappy. Photo: Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley says it's "madness" and "a joke" that six league games have been postponed due to Ireland U-21 call-ups for players from Waterford and UCD.

And Dundalk manager Vinny Perth, Bradley's rival in a two-team title race this season, has also criticised the decision to call off so many games without dates being set for refixtures, even though his side have the chance to profit from the Hoops' non-involvement this weekend.

Dundalk could go three points clear of Rovers if they can beat Sligo Rovers on Friday as the Hoops are not in action again for another week. Friday's scheduled match against Waterford is one of those six fixtures called off as UCD and Waterford have more than one player in Stephen Kenny's squad for the U-21 tournament in Toulon next month.

Waterford and UCD both have a month-long wait for their next league fixtures and Perth feels it's unfair on the Hoops that they have no game next weekend.

"It shouldn't be happening, if we get the three points it's an advantage but it shouldn't be that way and I won't take pleasure in it. Rovers should be playing next Friday or else it should be refixed for a Monday," says Perth.

Rovers enjoyed their third straight win on Friday with a 2-0 dismissal of Cork City but the loss of momentum is a worry for Bradley, especially with the mid-season break on the way, and he feels that home-based players should not have been called up by Kenny for a friendly tournament played in the middle of the domestic season.

"I think it's a joke that we're not playing. By all accounts, I'm nearly sure Waterford wanted the game on. Somehow it hasn't gone ahead," said Bradley.

"You just want to play games. It's madness, it's not good enough. Toulon is a great tournament but we can't have six games off because of it.

"This isn't a proper international week where the players have to go.

"It should have been England-based players for the simple fact we're in the middle of the season. These games are going to be thrown in when we've got Europe or the FAI Cup."

Irish Independent

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