Wednesday 13 November 2019

Shock UCD European call rests on national behaviour

A dejected Chris Mulhall and Robbie Creevy after UCD are relegated from the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
A dejected Chris Mulhall and Robbie Creevy after UCD are relegated from the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

UCD will qualify for next year's Europa League if Ireland's international teams are on their best behaviour between now and April.

The students, who were relegated from the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division in November, could be in line for a cash windfall and a stunning qualification for European competition through the medium of UEFA's Fair Play League.

Three countries earn an extra place in Europe from the table which closes on April 30 and Ireland are currently on top ahead of Holland and England.

UCD came third in the League of Ireland's Fair Play charts in 2014 behind Dundalk and Cork but stand to benefit as those two sides have already qualified for UEFA competitions after battling out the title. UEFA regulations permit a relegated team to qualify.

No Irish club side will play a European game between now and the deadline but the bottom line average also counts all international competitive matches both at senior and underage level.

Therefore, if Martin O'Neill's Irish side lose their heads in March's Aviva Stadium date with Poland, it could have a negative knock-on effect for the Belfield club. Similar comments apply to underage teams scheduled to play meaningful games in that window.

Fair Play assessments in these matches are judged by criteria such as positive play, respect for opponents and the referee and the behaviour of the crowd and team officials as well as cautions.

Irish Independent

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