Sunday 19 November 2017

Buckley sees role for Quinn as Saints bid to hit jackpot

Liam Buckley wants Niall Quinn to have a role in improving the League of Ireland
Liam Buckley wants Niall Quinn to have a role in improving the League of Ireland

John Fallon

Sometimes it requires a glance into the outside world to highlight the shortcomings at home.

Should St Patrick's Athletic follow the lead of Shamrock Rovers tonight by clinching a place in the second round of the Europa League, they'll be guaranteed €410,000 after just four games.

That figure is more than double the prize-money accrued by the Saints over the past two years for winning the league title in 2013 followed by the FAI Cup last November.

Ahead of Skonta Riga's visit to Inchicore with a 2-1 lead, the disparity was on the mind of Pat's boss Liam Buckley.

Niall Quinn, his friend since their childhood in Perrystown, shares a desire to extricate the domestic product from the slumber it's descended into.

Buckley didn't need tuning into the radio on Monday night when Quinn espoused his views on the opportunities the League is missing to maximise revenue to know he has much to offer.

For many years they've traded ideas about charting a course together. Quinn was close to leading a consortium to buy Shamrock Rovers in 2004 when Buckley held the manager's post.


Not long afterwards, Quinn recommended his pal to Fingal County Council as a figurehead for their Sporting Fingal project.

Quinn has since proven his administrative prowess at Sunderland, helping lift them from the bottom of the Championship to becoming Premier League regulars, and is seeking a fresh challenge.

"There may be a bit of pressure needed on the FAI from someone, or a group of people, who can do something about it," said Quinn about his idea of selling television rights to foreign countries.

"History tells you it is a fantastic league, but it needs something now. This thing isn't going to happen by itself."

At a time when the leadership of the Irish game is coming under serious scrutiny, Buckley believes the assistance of talent like Quinn is essential. "I would encourage Niall to get involved," he said yesterday. "He's a very clever guy."

Back in the here and now, just one goal from a team averaging two at home this season could be enough for Pat's to set up a second round meeting with Debrecen from Hungary next week.

"We've got to score but be careful at the back too," admitted Buckley, who is keenly aware that his spending power for the current transfer window will be framed by the outcome tonight.

"From what we hear, Skonto are confident and so might play with three up front like they did last week.

ST PAT'S (probable) - Clarke; O'Brien, Desmond, Browne, Bermingham; Chambers, Brennan, Bolger; Forrester, Fagan, Greene.

Irish Independent

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