Wednesday 21 February 2018

'If we win league again, there should be streets named after my Dundalk players' - Stephen Kenny

Resultant drop in crowds hitting clubs in the pocket

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny admits that the cost of having matches shown live on television has presented League of Ireland clubs with a real dilemma.

The Lilywhites host Bray Wanderers tonight in a full round of midweek fixtures and, while a Tuesday round in the middle of a hectic period generally impacts negatively on attendances, Dundalk will be happy that their game wasn't chosen for live TV coverage.

Only 2,170 turned up to watch last Friday's televised win over Galway. That's in line with the average turnout for their TV fixtures this term, while the average home attendances for games not televised live is in excess of 3,000.

Last year, Shamrock Rovers estimated that gate receipts were down an average of €10,000 for every match shown live.

Kenny wants his star players to gain the exposure that comes with featuring on the box but he is bemused that clubs receive absolutely no compensation when their games are covered to offset the loss of gate revenue.


"It is a dilemma," he said. "We do need TV coverage for the profile of the players and for the profile of the league and, to be fair to Setanta (who screened Friday's match), they do a very good job of it, but it takes away from the crowd.

"I remember being at Dunfermline and every time you were on TV you got nearly £100,000. Here, there isn't a fee.

"I don't know what the answer is. We're probably one of the few leagues in the world that don't get anything for that."

The Dundalk hierarchy are slightly worried that overall crowds this year have fallen slightly below expectations, although they have yet to host any of their league rivals from Dublin who tend to bring substantial travelling support.

Kenny fears that the locals could be taking success for granted and wants the exploits of his back-to-back league winning side to gain due recognition. He even went as far to suggest that they should have streets renamed after them.

"We brought 14,000 to the Aviva last year (FAI Cup final)," he continued.

"I want this team to be recognised locally; people like Daryl Horgan, Ronan Finn, Sean Gannon - terrific players. It's an exciting team and we want to fill the ground.

"Sometimes when you win over a period of time, complacency can set in. The live TV coverage becomes a factor because people have to pay money to come and watch the games and money is scarce.

"For us, it's about getting passionate crowds in. I'm still optimistic we can get bigger crowds in the second series of games when we've a lot of big teams coming here.

"If we win the league this year - or even if we don't - it's about time we had some streets in the town named after the players.

"O'Donnell Terrace, maybe Gartland Avenue and Boyle Road and Massey Terrace - I'm not joking."

Dundalk are four points clear of Cork City ahead of Bray Wanderers' visit to Oriel Park.

The Leesiders face a tricky test against Bohemians at Dalymount Park, with John Caulfield wary that the Gypsies will soon emerge form a sticky patch during which they have lost their goalscoring touch.

"They had a tough start and, when you lose a few games, your confidence can take a hit, but Keith Long still has the nucleus of a very good team," said Caulfield.

"I'm sure that, once they turn the corner and get a win, they will go on a run, because they have the players to do that."

Third-placed Derry take on local rivals Finn Harps in what should be a lively encounter.

In-form Sligo Rovers face Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght, while St Patrick's Athletic will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they visit Galway United.

Irish Independent

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