Fenlon urges Hoops to take their shot at history
Pat Fenlon has issued a rallying call to his Shamrock Rovers players as they look to make history in Norway tonight in their improbable bid to stay in the Europa League.
“It would be brilliant if we can do it,” Fenlon said. “I’ve said that to the players, it would be a first for a League of Ireland side.”
Having lost the home leg, no League of Ireland side has gone on to overturn a tie in Europe, never mind a 2-0 deficit.
Though currently seventh in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, Odds Ballklubb beat Rovers by that scoreline in a tight game at Tallaght Stadium last week.
Canadian international Olivier Occéan was their match-winner, scoring both goals, the first from a harshly awarded penalty and then, perhaps more annoyingly for Fenlon’s side, following a corner.
“What I said last week afterwards still stands, there wasn’t very much in the game,” said Fenlon.
“We created a few chances that we needed to take and didn’t. It’s now no different over here. We simply need to score the first goal. If we can do that, then the tie changes.
“That will give us a chance. That’s what we’ve got to do, get that first goal. Whether that’s early or late is irrelevant.
“We will go for it. But I think going into European games you have to be aware of everything.
“If it’s still in the melting pot later on we’ll obviously have a game plan for that.
“But we’ve got to make sure we stay in the game and try to nick the first goal.
“Whether that’s after 10 minutes or with 10 or 15 minutes to go, we’ll take either.”
With a two-goal lead and at home on their own astro pitch, Odds will be bullish about easing through.
Rovers simply must do what they didn’t in the first leg – try to keep a clean sheet and score, at least twice.
“We’ve got be very compact when we defend, but we’ve also got to try to nick a goal, that’s the important thing.”
With Keith Fahey, Stephen McPhail, Damien Duff and Sean O’Connor all still out injured, Rovers work with the same squad from the first leg.
“There is obviously a first time for everything and we’ve got to try to make sure we do it.”