Monday 11 December 2017

Rovers bullish Tallaght will get the green light to host Europa ties

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

SHAMROCK ROVERS believe they have a very strong chance of staging their Europa League group games in Tallaght after an intervention by the FAI convinced UEFA to delay their final decision.

European football's governing body initially decreed that the meetings with Rubin Kazan, PAOK Salonica and Spurs would have to be moved to the Aviva Stadium to meet requirements.

However, with the support of the FAI, and assurances from the relevant contractors that Tallaght Stadium will be brought up to scratch in time, Rovers have successfully lobbied for UEFA to inspect their home -- rather than Lansdowne Road -- when they visit this week.

Chairman Jonathan Roche has been working alongside FAI staff over the last few days in a frantic attempt to lodge a convincing proposal.

Rovers are desperate to host the games in Dublin 24.

There would be more tickets for sale in the Aviva, but rent would cost €200,000 a game and the League of Ireland champions are keen to take the opportunity to bring interested fans to their regular abode.

More than 4,000 extra seats will be installed to increase the capacity to over 10,000.

"The FAI might have pulled a rabbit out of the hat," said Roche last night. "They refused to take no for an answer. We're hopeful that we can get official confirmation to play in Tallaght."

It's been a busy time for all at the club, with manager Michael O'Neill working to bring in new faces to supplement his squad ahead of the European transfer deadline. Two or three additions could be confirmed today if all goes to plan.

A further boost is that defender Enda Stevens is set to delay joining Aston Villa until January, with the U-21 international showing a willingness to postpone his switch after Rovers booked a ticket for what should be a unique adventure.

Irish Independent

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