Saturday 25 November 2017

Fenlon rules out fixture switch to suit United visit

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

BOHEMIANS manager Pat Fenlon says that the League of Ireland title holders will refuse to reschedule a crucial Champions League game if it clashes with the visit of Manchester United to the Aviva Stadium on August 4.

If Bohs, who will be seeded, win their second-round qualifying match in Europe's biggest competition, then the second leg of their third-round encounter -- which could potentially be the most important domestic game since Shelbourne's meeting with Deportivo La Coruna in 2004 -- will either take place on August 3 or August 4.

A direct clash would be extremely embarrassing for the FAI, and CEO John Delaney said on Friday that preliminary discussions had taken place with UEFA to discuss the possibility of moving the Bohs game if that scenario arose.

It hasn't gone down well in Dalymount Park, considering the possible significance of that week for their future. Delaney was heckled by Bohs fans after Saturday's Setanta Cup final in Tallaght, and Fenlon is equally unimpressed.

"We won't be moving any game," he insisted. "If we get through we'll be playing on the night we're designated to play. It's as simple as that. It (the meeting of an Airtricity League XI managed by Damien Richardson will take on Man U) is a friendly match, and that won't take preference over a Champions League game for us. Hopefully we have that problem, that we get through and then it becomes a bigger problem for other people.

"Why say anything about it when you know you'll get criticised. It's another decision that baffles everybody, but how and ever. They keep making them, so let them at it. It shows that there's not a lot of faith in what we're doing on the pitch in Europe."

Irish Independent

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