Thursday 23 November 2017

Richardson adamant the future is bright for Irish clubs

Neil Ahern

DAMIEN Richardson believes that the Airtricity League is on the brink of something big in European football, in the wake of a week that ranged from the disastrous to the glorious for domestic teams in Europe.

On Tuesday night, Bohemians suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Welsh champions The New Saints to crush their dreams of a Champions League third round tie with Anderlecht and a bonanza of over ¿500,000, while Dundalk and Sporting Fingal also bowed out to superior sides in the Europa League.

But all hope was restored for Irish football when Shamrock Rovers produced a superb win in Israel against Bnei Yehuda to set up a mouth-watering two-legged clash with Juventus.

And Richardson, who named his Airtricity League representative squad for next month's Aviva Stadium friendly against Manchester United, thinks that the overall outlook is positive for Irish football.

"Bohs could have and maybe should have had the tie out of sight in first leg, so that's how precarious European competition is," said the former Cork City and Shamrock Rovers boss, who has been forced to exclude any Hoops players from the squad due to their participation in the Europa League.

"They didn't perform in the second leg and they've put their hands up and accepted that, you just get nights like that, thankfully not too frequently.

"There are difficulties and problems there that have to be faced up to. But I would still think that despite what happened this week, if we stand back and look at it objectively, the clubs are very close to something of substance."

Commenting on Pete Mahon's statements this week on the viability of full-time football in Ireland, Richardson continued: "I disagree with Pete, I think we can afford full-time football."

Airtricity League Select squad -- G Rogers (St Patrick's Athletic), G Doherty (Derry City), B Shelley (Bohemians), G O'Brien (Sporting Fingal), K Oman (Bohemians), G Peers (Sligo Rovers), C Powell (Bohemians), C Kenna (St Patrick's Athletic), P Keegan (Bohemians), S Williams (Sporting Fingal), A Kirby (Sporting Fingal), J Ndo (Sligo Rovers), R Ryan (Sligo Rovers), S O'Donnell (Galway United), K Brennan (Bohemians), P Madden (Bohemians), K Sheppard (Galway United), R Guy (St Patrick's Athletic).

Stand-by: P Cherrie (Dundalk), A Keane (Sligo Rovers), P McEleney (Derry City), D Mulcahy (St Patrick's Athletic), C Kilduff (UCD), P Amond (Sligo Rovers), F Kudozovic (Dundalk).

Irish Independent

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