Posts Tagged ‘ Monaghan United ’

Horgan Replaces Cooke As Drogheda United Manager


Drogheda United have announced the appointment of former United goalkeeper Robbie Horgan as first team manager.

Horgan replaces Mick Cooke at the helm in a decision that will cause much dismay along the banks of the Boyne.

The club has expressed thanks to all those who applied for the position and in particular the three final interviewees who were each “of a high calibre and offered a broad and varied range of experience and ideas.” Continue reading

Waterford To Learn League Of Ireland Faith

wufcWaterford United will know their destiny later this morning after a high court judge gives a ruling in a winding up order issued against the club by former manager Stephen Henderson, who is owed a five figure sum by the Suirsiders.

Local fans will anxiously be awaiting some positive news, in the hope that the club doesn’t follow the likes of Monaghan United, Dublin City and Sporting Fingal into the abyss. Instead they will be hoping their club can follow the lead of Bohemians and Dundalk who have both come back from death’s door in recent years while Cork City have also established a different model following a renaissance at Turner’s Cross. Continue reading

2012 Irish Sport Review

kbKieran Behan defied the odds to become the second ever Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics despite expectations that he would never walk again.

Connacht recorded their first ever victory in the Heineken Cup with a 9-8 win over Harlequins, but still finished bottom of their group.

Ireland kicked off their Six Nations campaign with a 21-23 defeat to Wales which was followed by a 42-10 victory over Italy.

Irish rugby fans were left stranded in Paris following late cancellation of France vs Ireland in the Six Nations.

Galway native Richard Donovan broke his own world record in Sydney, Australia as he ran seven marathons in the space of four days, 22 hours and four minutes.

The rescheduled Six Nations game against France ended in a 17-17 draw. The remaining fixtures were a 32-14 win over Scotland and finally a disastrous St. Patrick’s Day for the national side as they were beaten 30-9 by England.

Cork landed their third Allianz Football League Division One title in a row with a 2-10 0-11 victory over Mayo.

Irish-born Aussie Rules hall of famer Jim Stynes passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with cancer.

Kilkenny hammered Galway 3-26 to 0-10 to land National Hurling League Division One title.

Crusaders won the Setanta Sports Cup following a 5-4 victory on penalties against Derry City. The game was level at 2-2 after extra-time.

Katie Taylor won her fourth consecutive Amateur World Championship, beating Russian opponent Sofya Ochigava who she would later face in an historic sporting occasion.

Leinster landed the Heinken Cup after a 42-14 win over Ulster at Twickenham.

The Republic of Ireland crashed out of the Euro 2012 group stages as they failed to pick up a single point and scored just one goal. They were beaten 3-1 by Croatia, 4-0 by Spain and 2-0 by Italy.

The Airtricity League Premier Division lost another club as Monaghan United drop out due to financial reasons.

Cork, Dublin, Donegal and Mayo won their respective provincial Gaelic football titles

Tipperary, Galway and Antrim won their respective provincial Hurling titles.

Katie Taylor won gold for Ireland at the London Olympics. She recorded impressive victories over Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas and Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva before meeting Ochigava in a tightly contested Final which saw the Bray native triumph by a score of 10-8.ktJohn-Joe Nevin picked up silver while Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes won bronze in boxing at the London Olympics.

Cian O’Connor secured a bronze medal with his horse in the Individual Jumping event.

There was further success in London in the following weeks as the Irish Paralympic team returned home with a tally of 16 medals, their highest total since picking up 42 medals at the 1988 games in Seoul. They won 8 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 5 bronze medals.

jmcDonegal outshone Mayo to win their first All-Ireland title in 20 years. Jim McGuinness’ incredible year as Donegal manager did not go unnoticed abroad and he was handed a role as a performance consultant at Celtic just weeks later.

Kilkenny beat Galway in a replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final to secure yet another title.

The Republic of Ireland avoided an embarrassing opening to their World Cup Qualifiers Group as they score two late goals to take three points away from Kazakhstan.

Drogheda United won the EA Sports Cup following a 3-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium.

Sligo Rovers won their first League of Ireland title since 1977 after beating fellow title contenders St. Patrick’s Athletic in a dramatic game as Mark Quigley’s 87th minute penalty proved to be the decisive goal.

Limerick were promoted to the top tier of Irish football for the first time in 19 years.

The Republic of Ireland suffered one of its heaviest ever defeats as Germany hammered them 6-1 at the Aviva Stadium. The Boys in Green respond with a 4-1 win away to the Faroe Islands days later.

dcfcDerry City were crowned as the FAI Ford Cup Champions following a 3-2 win over St. Patrick’s Athletic after extra-time.

Gaelic football loses one of its all-time greats as Kerry hero Paidi O’Se passes away aged 57.

By Alan Finn

Five League of Ireland Stars Who Could Make It Abroad

The League of Ireland has become a haven for talent in recent years with stars such as James McClean, Seamus Coleman, Keith Fahey, Shane Long and Kevin Doyle becoming mainstays of the Irish national team.

Other potential talents such as Daniel Kearns, Ben McLaughlin and Eoin Doyle have also been plucked from the League, with the former duo earmarked as Irish stars of the future.

There has been something of a rapid transformation in recent years as the talent emerging from the League is greater than ever before.

Here Irish News Review details five potential stars that soon could be making waves abroad.  

Chris Forrester

Pats star Forrester is widely considered the most talented player in the League of Ireland and it’s not hard to see why. The Dublin native has been linked to numerous clubs in England and Scotland, with Sunderland, Hibernian and others believed to be among potential suitors. Forrester is something of a football genius and at such a young age he is yet to reach his full potential. His dribbling skills, command of the ball and overall eye for goal are something to be witnessed. Few can say they have faced the tricky Forrester and won the battle. Forrester may well be off to pastures new this off season and he will be more than ready for anything foreign soil has to offer. There is no doubt the ex Bohemians star is a future Ireland international.

 Ronan Finn

Shamrock Rovers PFAI player of the year nominee is one of the most gifted and well rounded individuals in the League of Ireland and has been for some time. The ex UCD star was linked to Hibs this week, along with Forrester but Pat Fenlon has revealed his January priorities lie in tying down three current players he has on loan. Some reports have suggested Finn recently turned down a move to Crystal Palace, the reasons remain unknown but it is a very questionable decision given the current form of Ian Holloway’s Eagles. A January move to England looks extremely likely for Finn but his destination remains a mystery. Many would argue Finn is on a different level to Paul Corry, another ex UCD star who recently moved to Sheffield Wednesday and has impressed thus far. Expect Finn to light up the Championship in the next year at least.

 Stephen McLaughlin

Few could have dreamed that Derry City would have an automatic replacement for the immaculate James McClean when the star departed the Brandywell for Sunderland. But Stephen McLaughlin stepped up to the plate following McClean’s departure and the Derry star is one of the most gifted wingers the League of Ireland has ever seen. Declan Devine will do extremely well to hang onto him and it’s widely expected he will be the subject of much interest come the transfer window. McLaughlin certainly possesses a bright future and the cup final winner is another star with the potential to represent a national side, be it Ireland or Northern Ireland, in the not too distant future.

Ryan Brennan

Drogheda United have defied expectations this season and managed to finish in a staggering second place position, thanks in large part to the Brennan brothers, of which Ryan has the most potential. 2012 was a defining season for Ryan who shone as the Drogs mounted a surprisingly serious title tilt, emerging from the shadows of his brother Killian, who endured a less than spectacular season at Shamrock Rovers. Ryan possesses everything a manager looks for in a winger. His rise from Monaghan United and the First Division to the lofty heights of the Premier Division under the guidance of Mick Cooke has been something special. But his rise to stardom is far from over. Ryan Brennan is definitely another player who will no doubt be at the forefront of some manager’s thoughts and his rise to prominence will develop further with a move abroad.

Kevin Feely

Bohemians starlet Kevin Feely has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks with Everton been known admirers of the Kildare natives talents. Charlton Athletic have also shown an interest, inviting the former Kildare GAA minor player over for a second trial in the coming weeks. The 19 year old enjoyed a solid season in the League of Ireland and has earned high praise from Bohs manager Aaron Callaghan.

The State Of Our Game

A fans survey on the League of Ireland and Irish football as a whole, run by Dr. Adam Brown of Substance, a Manchester based social research co-op has offered a great insight into the level of involvement fans have with their clubs and how it can be improved.

The Irish study formed a part of a wider European study, where fans in each country would have to answer specific questions relating to the running of their club and football in their country. The surveys, which were conducted online, took place between September and October. 1,262 Irish football fans completed the survey, the vast majority (34.2%) of which were Cork City fans, followed by Shamrock Rovers (15.4%) in second place.

Some interesting findings arose from the statistics relating to which fans completed the quiz. 1.7% or 26 respondents were fans of the now defunct Galway United while fans of Manchester United (1.6%) and Liverpool (1.1%) finished ahead of Longford Town (1%) who had the fewest respondents. Bray Wanderers and  UCD were the only two Premier Division clubs whose fans offered no views while fans of first division sides Athlone Town, Mervue United, Salthill Devon (SD Galway) and Wexford Youths did likewise.

The average age of supporters surveyed was 32 while the average length of time that fans have supported their clubs was 18 years. Unsurprisingly 95% of respondents where male.

Interestingly a large proportion of fans (59.5%) admitted that they are not a member of a supporter’s organisation at their club. Of those who revealed they are a member of such an organisation, 44.4% said the organisation is one which exists as a members group that owns shares in their club. This correlates to the fact that most of the fans who took this survey are Cork City fans and as a result this statistic is unsurprising given the recent ownership history of the famed Rebel Army. Other answers showed that there is little difference between official club sanctioned fan organisations (23.7%) and independent fan organisations (20.9%).

Fans revealed the main purposes of such groups were to get or maintain a share of ownership (30.5%), to raise money for the club (20.6%) and to improve the matchday atmosphere (16.3%). Fans are certainly more involved at club level than national level, perhaps due to the current state of the Irish national team. Only 4.9% of respondents belong to a national supporter’s organisation.

League of Ireland fans are among the most committed in the world, willing to follow their team the length and breadth of the country. It’s therefore surprising that most (41.9%) feel they have little involvement in their club, only on rare occasions. Is it a case that clubs have enough volunteers and support or that fans aren’t too interested in helping out? Clubs should certainly endear themselves more to these fans in an attempt to increase their involvement, something which will be beneficial to all and comes at a time when the League of Ireland is in great need of everyone pulling in the same direction. 22.2% professed they have no involvement whatsoever, claiming they are almost completely ignored. How can any club, be it in Ireland or elsewhere, survive by ignoring such a percentage of fans? 82.7% of fans revealed they have no involvement at national level which is of no surprise as recent trends have shown that the FAI possess little or no desire for fan involvement.

42.4% expressed an interest in joining a supporter’s organisation that had the aim of getting/maintaining an ownership stake at their club with 9.8% saying they wouldn’t be interested, with a further 16.7% believing it wouldn’t achieve anything. Fans highlighted the main benefits of such a move which includes the club board listens to fans more (69.2%), maintaining an ownership stake (55.7%) and getting representation on the board (53.7%). 39.8% of fans revealed they wouldn’t join a national supporters organisation as the association/league will never listen (37.1%) and because they are not interested (34.5%). 33.8% admitted they would join such an organisation.

One of the most striking findings emerging from this study is that 60.4% of respondents are very unsatisfied with the way football is run in Ireland. Bear in mind that the fans answering the questions in this study are by enlarge devout League of Ireland followers, fans that have watched clubs such as Monaghan United, Dublin City, Kilkenny City, Sporting Fingal and Galway United go bust in recent years. Fans that have seen endless scandals from points deductions due to financial irregularities and player registration issues. It’s no surprise they are fed up with the way the footballing authorities allow the game to become a laughing stock, something which won’t help bring armchair Premier League fans to Irish stadiums. Is it not the mission of the FAI and the league to entice such fans to League of Ireland matches? If anything their actions are forcing fans away rather than bringing them in.

51.1% of fans are however satisfied with the way their club is run, with only 8.3% saying they are unsatisfied.

Respondents were asked to list two single words which best described the running of football of Ireland. Among the top answers were shambolic, poor, amateur, shambles ,corrupt, disgraceful, terrible and unprofessional. Positive answers were sadly few and far between, with fans instead tending to focus on the unhealthy state of the game, something that has existed for such a long time yet we are yet to see any significant changes.

Irish institutions are certainly out of touch with the people, be it government or sporting organisation. They fail to see what matters at ground level, they refuse to listen to those who in reality have a far greater sense of perspective and who can build a better future. Football in Ireland is the exact same, 38.9% of fans believe greater supporter ownership or involvement would improve the running of their club a lot with only 3.1% stating it wouldn’t improve it at all. On a national level, 52.4% believe that such would improve the running of football in Ireland. Sadly these figures are unlikely to strike any chord with the powerbrokers at Abbotstown.

24.4% of fans believe that UEFA’s financial fair play rules won’t improve the running of football in Ireland at all.

An overwhelming 97.4% of fans would like to see an organisation established that would allow League of Ireland supporters to have meaningful input into issues affecting the Airtricity League. Fans were also asked what are the biggest factors facing supporter groups in securing a shareholding within their club, with answers including finance (48.9%), little support from the wider football community (33.1%) and current club owners unwilling to cede any control (21.3%).

League of Ireland supporters ranked their main priorities as ensuring the long term stability of their club (78%), being able to watch their team every week (57%) and having an active underage structure producing players (35.3%). 68.9% of supporters believe their clubs main priority is the same.

This study is one that was long overdue. It contains fundamental elements for progress at both national and club level. The opportunities arising from such a study are endless. The way football is run in this country needs a serious revamp but sadly it may take a long time for Brown’s findings to come to fruition such is the ill mannered and outdated policies of both the FAI and the League of Ireland.

The Fall and Rise of Drogheda United

“Battling Drogheda United bowed out of Europe despite twice coming from behind against Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kiev in this Champions League qualifier.”

The headline was relatively simple yet didn’t tell the full story of how the then League of Ireland champions nearly put one of the European greats out of the Champions League.

Drogheda United travelled to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev more in hope than in expectation having lost 2-1 in the first leg of their second round qualifier. It was an uphill task made all the more strenuous when the hosts grabbed a 13 minute lead. It appeared the ambitions of the Boynesiders were all but over. But then lady luck reared her head as the Irish side were awarded a 40th minute penalty which was converted by Shane Robinson. Queue the fightback or not. Paul Doolin’s men fell behind again and it looked like they were set to be put out of their misery when Artem Milevsky stepped up to take a penalty. But it was not to be and a glimmer of hope remained.

The Claret and Blue Army clearly hadn’t read the script as Graham Gartland levelled it up late on before the Drogs missed two glorious chances to steal the win, first with Adam Hughes missing a sitter before Robinson struck the post. A goal away from greatness yet their failure to convert brought a quick end to life at the top table for the Boynesiders.

That failure by Doolin’s men brought about rapid change at the club who had a huge opportunity to establish themselves as a strong force in Irish football. Doolin had brought about great change at United Park, establishing the club as a Premier Division side after their promotion in the 2002/03 season. He made all players full time at the club and this move reaped great rewards as he guided the club to their first ever FAI Cup win in 2005, and their first ever league title two years later.

Drogheda had seemingly banked on European success and their failure to advance past Dynamo Kiev almost brought the club to its knees. October 2008 saw the club go into examinership after failing to pay back a €500,000 loan to the revenue commissioners and a further €10,000 to Bohemians for use of Dalymount Park for their Champions League ties. Their ambitious plans for a new stadium and state of the art youth academy fell through and the future looked incredibly bleak. Despite a ten point deduction the Drogs avoided relegation but now there side was a far cry from the one which almost knocked out the Ukrainian giant. Gone were the iconic names of O’Brien, Ristila and Zayed and in their place were hungry up and coming kids. The club eventually found a reprieve thanks in large part to fan led fundraisers and in January 2009 the club escaped extinction.

What was to follow wasn’t pretty for the long suffering Drogheda fans. It would appear that their yo yo status which Doolin once shed was on the way back. Doolin left as the club moved to part time. The United Park outfit became nothing more than relegation fodder. A team once feared by all was now feared by nobody and the fortress that was once United Park became a fortress no more. The Drogs narrowly avoided relegation in 2009 as Alan Matthews steered them to a 2-0 win over Bray Wanderers in the relegation playoff.

Still financially crippled the claret and blue army would become a club devoid of any real expectation and their only ambition would be to avoid the drop. After a managerial merry go round in the 2010 season the club were ultimately relegated after only four wins and nine draws. However the Boynesiders where handed a reprieve when Sporting Fingal folded and they held onto their Premier Division place.

Mick Cooke took over in 2011 and was tasked with keeping a squad designed for the First Division in the top flight. The former Monaghan United manager succeeded in keeping the club up and even managed to record the clubs first derby win over Louth rivals Dundalk in 13 years. After his successful season at the newly renamed Hunky Dorys Park, Cooke penned a three year deal with the club.

Fast forward to the current season and Cooke’s side have tranformed themselves into serious title contenders by acquiring numerous stars from his old club including Sean and Ryan Brennan and the Drogs all time top scorer Declan “Fabio” O’Brien. The surprise package of the season have set about bringing the good times back to the banks of the Boyne and currently sit a point behind league leaders Sligo Rovers. With no European action this year the Drogs appear to have the advantage in the title race as both Sligo and St Patricks Athletic have faltered in the league given their European exertions. Few would now bet against Cooke bringing some silverware to Louth as the club remain in both the League Cup and the FAI Cup. It would appear the club are on their way back to the top, whether or not they can stay there remains to be seen.

Some Tweets from the @DroghedaUnited boys on Twitter showing the renewal of their fortunes.

Ryan Brennan (@RyanBrennan08) “Drogs 2nd in the league, in cup semi final and last 16 of FAI Cup. Not a bad year considering everyone wrote us off at the start!“

Declan Fabio O’Brien (@Fabster9) “Thanks for all the messages tonight, early days but another great night to be a Drog” (tweeted after Fabio scored his 100th goal for the Drogs in a 1-0 win over UCD on July 27th)

Dundalk FC On The Brink Of Collapse

It’s a football club, a bedrock of the community and the livelihood of many yet the very existence of Dundalk FC has been thrown into further doubt as a statement from the board has revealed that the club are sinking ever closer to the financial abyss.

The club whose financial problems have been well documented have released a statement showing the financial hardship they are currently enduring with many fearing the Lilywhites may well become the next Monaghan United.

The statement reads:

 This is an update from the board of Dundalk FC in regards to the severity of the financial position we currently find ourselves in. 

As the public are aware 5 weeks have now passed since we announced that we were unable to pay the players for one week of their wages at Dundalk FC. We did stress back at this time that Dundalk FC was in severe financial difficulties. 

It was also made clear at this time that anybody expressing an interest in regards to taking over Dundalk FC or who could be in a position to make a substantial contribution to help the club should contact the board directly. Today the club will meet with representatives of the DFC Trust for an exploratory discussion on a potential takeover. Apart from the Trust, we are very disappointed that no one, either directly or indirectly, has contacted us in this regard particularly when we are in a position when we need them most. 

People must be made aware that should the club not be in a position to pay another week’s wages to the players, resulting in a total of two weeks wages in arrears, that these players have the right to seek employment with other clubs. This undoubtedly may trigger our top players to leave voluntarily or other clubs knowing this situation will contact our top players with a view to taking them on with immediate effect. We have clear indications the latter will happen. If any group or individual wants to sponsor any particular player’s salary to the end of the season, this option is available and we can sit down and agree with the group/individual how this can be done. 

Since these financial situations have arisen we have initiated a number of fundraising programmes to generate money. Our Honorary Vice President and Supporter Donations programmes and letters have been sent out to over 700 people. To date 19 Supporters have donated €3,450 and the Honorary Vice President have taken in €2,500. The Board wish to acknowledge these receipts and are very appreciative to these people and other people who continue to contribute to the running of the club. However the reality is that if more people do not contribute we will be undoubtedly be fighting a relegation battle, or worse case, go out of existence. 

To give an example of how the financial difficulties have arisen we have outlined the following example; 

2011 – Season Tickets & Net Gate Receipts after 11 League games = €157K 

2012 – Season Tickets & Net Gate Receipts after 11 League games = €87K 

This is a difference of €70K year on year and does not include lost Merchandising Sales, Bar Income, Lotto Sales, Match Programmes Sales, and other match night revenue sales which are affected by reduced attendances and people coming to games. It also does not include any Setanta Cup gate receipt money and only compares league games. 

This example is only one of a number we could pick from where actual revenues are significantly below budget figures…..match sponsorship, pitch signs, lotto sales, pitch rental, to name a few are amongst others. 

In all of these matters we are continuing to work with the FAI in regards to the financial troubles and status of Dundalk FC and we will continue to keep them informed of any and all matters arising.

 Again we would appeal to the supporters and people of Dundalk that this is a very serious situation and to contact the board directly if you feel you or a group are in a position to take over the club or make a substantial financial contribution.