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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Stuart Byrne

Shelbourne need to kick on again or risk going stale

Dundalk's owners did not intend to release statements on the latest developments surrounding potential investment.

But that changed when Hull City manager Liam Rosenior forced their hand last Friday when his comments suggested a deal was close.

But keeping the fans informed - and on-side - is a basic requirement, so spare me the pity stories about it being “far from ideal”.

Those talks with Hull are now “on ice” and Dundalk claim to be no further down the road with other interested parties - and that’s fine.

But at least fans were eventually kept abreast, after one lengthy open-letter from the co-owners on Friday and then an in-house video interview on Tuesday night.

I wish Shelbourne would do the same.

It was interesting to discover that the same Hull City owner flirting with Dundalk was a guest of Shels at Richmond Park on Friday for the St Pat’s game.

Talk of investment at my old club has never been too far away.

Before the FAI Cup final, Southampton's owners Sport Republic were in advanced discussions about taking on a significant stake.

For whatever reason, it never got off the ground and in that time there have been some staff departures, with the likes of CEO Dave O’Connor opting to move on.

It’s hard work running a football club at any level - never mind one in the Premier Division.

The feel good factor surrounding Shels last season - with Damien Duff at the helm in his first season and their run to the FAI Cup final - can gloss over that.

Andrew Doyle took control in 2018 but five years on, it would be good to hear his plans for reaching the next level.

Doyle, his team and those driving the Save Tolka Park campaign have done serious heavy lifting in that time.

Trying to rebuild a club’s battered reputation is exhausting work but Shelbourne can’t afford to stand still and go stale.

This club has been shovelling s**t from under its feet for too long and people with the best intentions can eventually feel beaten down by it.

Shelbourne FC needs to move forward once again, and not be looking over its shoulder.

The Super League debate has shone a light on club ownership and how best to go about it.

But I’ve no doubt Shels need to piggyback on the Shamrock Rovers model by getting in bed with the council.

Strip it right back to the most basic facilities and you can see what the council did for public swimming pools.

I remember the pool in Finglas as a kid - what an absolute kip.

Getting in the water was grim enough, but getting out of it and having to go into those changing rooms again was worse.

Now, it’s a beacon of light and a completely modern complex that is a pleasure to visit.

It’s just a small example of how something council run can be transformed from a horrible experience to a fabulous one.

Getting back to the wider point, it’s time Shels were open and told the fans what’s really happening behind the scenes.

I love the club but I’m sensing some pushback and unless it’s nipped in the bud, negativity and discontent could set in.


You can’t win a league in the first five or 10 games, but you can certainly lose one.

And Shamrock Rovers need to be careful.

Going into tonight’s big one with Derry, they have more red cards than points.

Their first-choice back three of Pico Lopes, Lee Grace and Dan Cleary are all suspended.

I’ve been here as a player and teams can put themselves into a situation where they’re just chasing, chasing, chasing.

It boils down to the competitiveness of the league but it’ll be a closer run race this year and the warning signs are there for Rovers.

A win for Derry would put Rovers on the back foot and while it’s ridiculous to say it so early, I don’t think Rovers can afford to lose tonight.

Derry raced to the top-of-the-table last year, but couldn’t handle the pressure and fell away to finish second.

They will learn so much from that and winning the FAI Cup has given them a taste of blood.

Because the league lacked competitiveness last season, Rovers had the room to make mistakes but they won’t get that again.

Derry, St Pat’s and Dundalk are all more settled and while Rovers will never be complacent, the absence of those defenders tonight is a big concern.

They play their best stuff in Tallaght, but need to get up and running.


I had a good laugh at my pal Collie O’Neill’s comments this week.

He was saying how he has annoyed every manager in the league since taking on the Shamrock Rovers women's job.

The Hoops raided a host of the top clubs - including double winners Shelbourne - for players in the off season.

But Collie isn’t going to apologise for it - and nor should he.

If you’re a rival boss moaning about Shamrock Rovers’ having more money or bigger pulling power, well, get over yourself.

That’s football and it’s always been that way.

I was at an event in the Sugar Club last year with Ruaidhri Higgins, Tim Clancy and Stephen O’Donnell.

The three managers know each other well but Clancy and O’Donnell were ribbing Higgins about having a billionaire owner at his disposal.

All banter, but it’s a stick for people to beat you with and will always be part of the game.

Collie has a difficult job on his hands. He has a dressing room full of big characters and making it click won’t be easy.

They need to gel, and their rivals need to pounce if they don’t.

Shels may have left it late to bring in players, but the champions have signed well and are still the team to beat.


It’s disappointing that the League Cup has died with only a whimper.

Last staged in 2019, it was apparently a headache for some clubs in an already jam-packed schedule.

But you need as much competitive football as possible throughout a season.

That said, sponsorship across the League of Ireland is a joke and the prize money on offer for the league and FAI Cup is disgraceful.

If there was a good pot on offer for the League Cup, you’d be damn sure that clubs would find the time to play it.

Money talks.

We live in a world where a cappuccino costs nearly €4 and a pint is €10 in some parts of the capital.

The league needs to read the room and stop selling itself short.

We’re cheapskates!

Get decent sponsors on board, put good prize money on the table - for all competitions - and restore the League Cup.

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