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Posts Tagged ‘ Paul Cook ’

Fenlon’s Surprise that Doyle Chose Chesterfield over Hibs

eoin doyle
Hibs’ boss Pat Fenlon has expressed his surprise that former Sligo Rovers striker Eoin Doyle has rejected the offer of a new contract to ply his trade in League Two in England rather than the SPL.

Speaking at the weekly press conference, Fenlon said: “Eoin’s decided that he wants to join Chesterfield, so we just have to get on with that as well. We are disappointed, we offered him a contract but he didn’t want to stay. When you see him playing, his effort and attitude is top class so I’ve no concerns in relation to that, but he’s made his decision and we have to move on.” Continue reading

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New Found Reputation Not Necessarily A Good Thing For League of Ireland

The international appeal of the League of Ireland has dramatically increased over the past few seasons and more and more managers are looking to Ireland in order to unearth talent.

It’s not hard to see why clubs are now looking at the league which has supplied many current Ireland stars including Kevin Doyle, Shane Long and Keith Fahey. The cost of attracting stars from the league is very little and has proven in the past the League of Ireland is a bargain hunters paradise as seen through the low cost moves of Seamus Coleman and James McClean.

The recent European success of Irish clubs and the performances of the aforementioned stars have put the league on the international stage although this is not exactly a great development as the league is constantly stripped of its stars. One only has to look at the recent shortlist for the 2011 League of Ireland player of the year. Golden boot winner Eamon Zayed (Persepolis), McClean (Sunderland) and Shamrock Rovers hero Pat Sullivan (Emigrated) were all nominated for the award and all have since left the league. The finest talent are simply been plucked from the league year after year. Indeed one could argue that League of Ireland clubs are simply a network of feeder teams who aim to bring players through and sell them on or in most cases the players are simply out of contract and free to move themselves.

This was particularly evident this year when players like Shane McFaul made his move to Finland. McFaul was snapped up by former Drogheda United star and current FC Haka manager Sami Ristila showing that the leagues stock is certainly rising on the continent and it is no longer just the English and Scottish clubs trying to attract Irish players.

Indeed the stock of our managers has also risen as can be seen by the recent departures of figures such as Pat Fenlon (Hibernian) and the much sought after Paul Cook who eventually settled for a move to his old club Accrington Stanley having turned down SPL side St Johnstone.

There is no doubt that the league can constantly reproduce itself and again this year the eyes of Europe and perhaps the wider world will keep a watchful eye over the new batch of stars that will emerge. But how is this league ever going to be deemed successful if its pure existence is based on the role of been a feeder club?

The crowds in the League of Ireland are extremely inconsistent and gone are the days when football yielded large crowds in Ireland. There is more to the league than what meets the eye ranging from the reasons as to why people don’t come to matches to why there is no significant investment. But unless the football authorities wake up and realise we do actually have a significant product with great potential then the league will forever be known as a source of bargain buys and nothing else. Sadly given the current state of affairs it looks like all involved are happy with the way things are at present. It seems perfectly acceptable to allow clubs to go to the wall and not to do anything to help them. The League of Ireland and the Football Association of Ireland need an urgent wake up call in order to save domestic football in Ireland.

Fenlon Seeks To Make Sligo Striker His First Signing

Sligo Rovers are hoping to keep hotshot Eoin Doyle after confirming Hibernian are keen to sign the striker on a free transfer.

Doyle’s contract at FAI Cup winners Sligo has expired and it has been reported that the 23-year-old has been training with SPL side Hibs, where it is believed he took part in a behind closed doors friendly yesterday.

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon, who formerly managed Bohemians, is now weighing up whether to add Doyle to his squad when the January transfer window reopens.

“Pat Fenlon has come in for him and it’s definitely something Eoin is interested in,” said Sligo spokesman Keith O’Dwyer in the Daily Record.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure he is going to sign and we would not give up hope that we can sign him for next year because he is a huge player for us.

“However, as Eoin is not a contracted player, he is entitled to seek fresh moves.

“Pat knows our manager Paul Cook very well so I would imagine he will have called him about this.”

Sligo have already drafted in numerous stars in the striking department with Mark Quigley moving from Dundalk and Danny North from St Patricks Athletic.

Kelly The Hero Again As Sligo Rovers Retain FAI Cup

Sligo Rovers have won their second successive FAI Cup by beating Shelbourne on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Aviva stadium.

The Bit O`Red prevailed 4-1 on penalties with goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly once again proving the hero. Kelly was introduced as a substitute at the end of extra time , replacing Brendan Clarke. It was Kelly’s heroics that saw Sligo overcome Shamrock Rovers in a penalty shootout last year and he saved two penalties this time to ensure the blue riband heads west again.   

Shelbourne will feel hard done by after midfielder Barry Clancy was wrongfully dismissed in the first half.

The Dublin side took the lead towards the end of the first half when top scorer Phillip Hughes found the back of the net, sliding the ball past a despairing Clarke. Moments earlier Clancy had hit the bar as Alan Matthews men went all out for the win.

The second half had barely begun when Sligo pulled level, with Iarfhlaith Davoren restoring parity with a fine finish.

The westerners piled on the pressure from their on with substitute striker Matthew Blinkhorn forcing a fine save from Dean Delaney. Blinkhorn again went close but was thwarted by Delaney.

Stephen Paisley headed over from a Shels corner while Conan Byrne`s effort from distance crept narrowly wide of Clarke`s post.

Into extra time and Shels were again under severe pressure.  Davoren, Alan Keane and top scorer Eoin Doyle all went close as Shels battled defiantly. The Dubliners held on , managing to take the tie to a penalty shootout for a second successive season.

Queue the entrance of the heroic Kelly who denied both Kevin Dawson and Colm James before Raffaele Cretaro struck home the winning penalty for Paul Cook`s side.

Sligo Manager Cook in Talks With St Johnstone

 

Sligo Rovers and St Johnstone have confirmed that Paul Cook is having talks about the vacancy with the Scottish Premier League side.

Saints chairman Geoff Brown told BBC Scotland: “We have got permission from Sligo to speak to Paul Cook and we are in the process of talking to him.

“We’ve had lots of applicants and, looking at them, we’ve made a lot of crosses and a number of ticks.”

 Rovers gave the Perth side permission to speak to Cook, who has spent five years at the Showgrounds, with compensation provisionally agreed for the Liverpudlian who is under contract with the Bit o’ Red.
 
St Johnstone, who currently sit fourth in the SPL,  have been on a look out for a new manager after Derek McInnes departed for Bristol City last week.

The move now depends on talks between Cook and the SPL side who insist the job has not yet been offered to the Rovers boss. If a move should go through it is believed it will not take place until after the upcoming FAI Cup final on November 6th where Sligo entertain Shelbourne as they look to add a second successive cup to their list of honours.

League of Ireland Preview

The League of Ireland begins tonight with anxious fans awaiting what will hopefully be a great season both on and off the pitch.

 Recent matters such as the demise of Sporting Fingal and other licencing issues have soured some people`s expectations but now normal order is set to resume as the 10 teams get set to battle once again. 

Shamrock Rovers are clear favourites to regain their crown and there is no reason to see why they can`t. The Hoops have brought in some of the best players in the league with the likes of Karl Sheppard, Ronan Finn, Ken Oman, Ciaran Kilduff, Gary McCabe and Gary O`Neill all moving to Tallaght. Michael O`Neill has also bolstered his ranks with the addition of exciting prospect Conor McCormack, formerly of Triestina in Italy.   

 The Hoops will still be smarting after last season`s FAI Cup final defeat to Sligo Rovers. It is the Bit O`Red who like the main challengers to the Hoops title ambitions. Paul Cook has worked his magic in the North West for many seasons now and the Merseysider is well aware that the club must transform their domestic cup success into the League. 

Sligo started off slowly last season but a tremendous push towards the end saw them prosper and the threat they pose cannot be underestimated. Sligo have added tremendous strength to their squad for the forthcoming season with Brendan Clarke, Aaron Greene and Jason McGuinness  all signing on at the Showgrounds. However it is the capture of former favourite Raffaele Cretaro that has many Sligo fans bursting with excitement.

 Pats and Dundalk seem the most likely to challenge The Hoops and Sligo, all though whether they can last the distance or not is the key question. Pats burst into life last season as they went unbeaten in their first six games. The Inchicore faithful believed that it could be their year under the guidance of Pete Mahon however they fell off in the final third of the season, eventually finishing 5th.

 Ian Foster`s side finished 6th last season however recent  acquisistions have the Oriel Park fans believing it is their time to shine. Striking duo Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley  have joined from Bohemians in what was a shrew piece of business. The duo will be well complimented on the wings by Daniel Kearns and Ross Gaynor, two of the finest talents in the league last term that Foster has done well to keep a hold off. 

Derry City and Bohemians will consider themselves to be in with a shout of securing European football. Derry City have been promoted as Champions of the First Division under the astute guidance of Stephen Kenny. Kenny has installed great spirit in his young side with the McEleney brothers, James McClean and David McDaid all sett to rip up the Premier Division.  The return of key duo Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn will add experience to the Candystripes while the signing of Eamon Zayed will fill the void left by Mark Farren.

As for Bohs it will be a case of restoring some pride. The 2009 champions finished second on goal difference last season however financial turmoil over the close season left the club`s future in serious doubt. Thankfully financial matters have eased and all players that were owed money have been paid. However some Bohs fans remain cautious at the club`s spending. Pat Fenlon lured Killian Brennan back to Dalymount Park after Sligo baulked at his wages. While many fans appreciate Brennan they are aware that the survival of the club is of foremost importance. The additions of Ger O`Brien, Aidan Price, Anto Flood and Robert Bayly will give Bohs a strong first time but should any injuries or suspensions occur the squad will struggle.   

The remainder of the teams will contest a four team relegation shootout. UCD played some great football last season but must start from scratch having lost their finest talents to other clubs. Martin Russell will be hoping his next batch of youngsters can produce some form of cup run.

 Bray Wanderers narrowly survived last season, beating Monaghan United on penalties in the crucial relegation play off. The Seagulls have kept hold of their prize assets such as Jay Kelly and Shane O`Neill but a relegation fight is definitely on the cards for Pat Devlin`s men .

Galway United and Drogheda United make up the final two teams, despite much controversy over the licencing system. Galway were demoted to the A Championship only to be reinstated to the league following a successful appeal. Sean Connor will again be looking to work wonders on a shoestring budget .

 Mick Cooke has taken over the reigns at Drogheda United and will do well to keep the Boynesiders up. Drogheda finished bottom last term and only return to the Premier Division following the untimely demise of Sporting Fingal.The former Monaghan United supremo has added to his ranks with some talent from the First Division, although he will be kicking himself that he brought Ryan Brennan to Monaghan before departing the club. 

Verdict

  1. Shamrock Rovers
  2. Sligo Rovers
  3. St Patricks Athletic
  4. Dundalk
  5.  Derry City
  6. Bohemians
  7. UCD
  8. Bray Wanderers
  9. Galway United
  10. Drogheda United

 

FAI Cup: St Patricks Athletic

 League Cup: Sligo Rovers

 Setanta Cup: Shamrock Rovers

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