Roche overjoyed as Tallaght gets Euro green light
SHAMROCK ROVERS chairman Jonathan Roche has hailed the club's "amazing achievement" of finishing the necessary work on Tallaght Stadium in time to allow the club to host the home games of their Europa League adventure at the south Dublin venue.
After their shock qualification for the group stages of the Europa League, Rovers carried out extensive renovations costing around €100,000 on the venue, including the installation of 2,500 seats to push it over the 8,000-capacity requirement.
"Realistically, we didn't plan on qualifying for the group stages this season," Roche said. "It was something we wanted to do but we still thought it was a couple of seasons away. So when we qualified, we only had a small window of time to carry out the work that needed to be done.
"When you consider the tight timeline there, it's an amazing achievement by everyone involved."
UEFA officials inspected the ground on Tuesday and granted the club permission to host the games against Rubin Kazan, PAOK Salonika and Tottenham Hotspur at the venue late yesterday afternoon.
UEFA were initially reluctant to allow Tallaght to host the games, but the club, the FAI and the South Dublin County Council drew up a plan which met their requirements. Rovers could also have staged the games at the Aviva Stadium, though renting the venue would have cost an estimated €200,000 per game.
While the Spurs match would have attracted significant interest, the remaining games would not have had the same draw for supporters.
"From when we qualified we knew we had either the option of taking the Aviva or upgrading the stadium. We wanted to play in Tallaght if at all possible. We're just delighted that it has worked out that way," Roche said.
"It is wonderful news for us as a club, but also for the Tallaght area. We were pushing hard to have the games played at Tallaght and are delighted that UEFA have given us the go-ahead."
Rubin Kazan will become the first visitors to the venue when they arrive in Tallaght on Thursday evening.
Rovers are the first Irish club to reach the group stages of a European competition and are already set to earn around €1m on the back of their qualification.
The Hoops also released details of their ticket packages for the games, with a ticket to all three ties available at €70 for adults and €40 with concessions. Ticket prices for individual matches will vary.
Sales will commence tomorrow morning at the stadium, with members-only sales from 10.0 to 11.0, season ticket holders from 11.0 and general sales from 1.0.