Stuart Byrne Chronicle: Dundalk players and management need to sync up quickly

It’s no secret that Vinny Perth’s return to Dundalk won’t be universally welcomed in the dressing room.

But any player with a crooked nose has to suck it – and that goes for Vinny, too. They must come to a compromise and work together for the greater good.

Because make no mistake, this club is up and running and the threat of owners pulling out the plug is not going away.

I’ve said it before, but Dundalk was wrong to get rid of Vinny after his Champions League loss last August.

He was furious at the interference of American owners, but has managed to maintain a good relationship with President Bill Hulsizer in recent months.

That just adds to the craziness of it all.

But I felt the club had a knee-jerk reaction because there is a time to make such decisions and it was wrong.

You make those calls at the start of the season or you see it. You don’t do them at a critical time of the year.

People quickly forget that Vinny almost won the treble and I think you deserve some loyalty for that.

Perhaps the Americans felt justified in their decision as they reached the group stage of the Europa League under the guidance of Filippo Giovagnoli.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Anyone with a half-decent knowledge of the game knows that an Irish club will never have an easier path to the group stages again.

I think it’s positive for Vinny that the club he’s returning to is so different from the one he left – it’s a whole different file.

Under Stephen Kenny and then alone, there was a sense of identity and culture around the players and the team.

I’m not saying they were fending for themselves, but it was a good system that worked for everyone and took a while to set up.

All of this was disrupted after a season of car accidents.

Out of the game for 10 months, Vinny has to recognize that some players won’t jump up and down about his return.

But it’s inevitable when you’re dealing with more than 20 players.

Dundalk has half a season to get back on track and it’s going to be tough as I’m confident the owners are working on their exit strategy.

You can see the signs a mile away, but Vinny and the players can’t afford to worry about that. It’s about winning matches from now on.

Some players will be leaving this summer, some might even be leaving because Vinny is back, but you would be amazed at what a manager can do for a club.

It is in any case my experience of the League of Ireland. You don’t always have the same processes or infrastructure as in England.

Clubs in Ireland can be more flexible and managers can transition quickly and micromanage.

Vinny – my old teammate – is more than capable of turning the tide, but it will be chaos if the owners pull the plug out.

Shamrock Rovers must move upmarket in Europe

What brilliant spark within UEFA came with the desperate name “Europa Conference League”?

The new club competition will feel in every way the poor relation of the Champions League and the Europa League.

The only “conference” I know of was the former fifth tier of English football and that’s how it feels.

Shamrock Rovers will join the three other Irish League clubs in the Europa Conference League if they lose their Champions League opener against Slovan Bratislava.



Stephen Bradley, director of the Shamrock Rovers

No doubt it’s a tough draw, but I would like to think that we have moved beyond just crossing our fingers to get a gimpy team from Lithuania just to qualify.

I really hope we are past this stage. We have to embrace Europe for what it is and that is playing against the best players and the best teams.

The Rovers performed well against AC Milan last year and the gap to Slovan Bratislava is not huge. It is a winnable game and it is reality.

Take a look back at all the success stories Irish clubs have in Europe and their foundations have been built on teams beating opponents like these.

With Shels in 2004, our success didn’t just come from the wing. We went to Europe prepared after learning from our disappointing experiences.

The European progression has been the holy grail for us and for Irish football and Dundalk – under Stephen Kenny – has adopted the same attitude.

I hope the Rovers embrace it and do the same as their recent results and performances in Europe are encouraging.

It is important that they do not use the Europa Conference League – which I support, but not the name! – as a fallback solution.

I want to see them have a good crack with the Slovan and show a real desire to progress in Europe because ultimately, that’s what it is in Ireland.

Playing for pride is just bootiful

I can’t wait to hobble around Tolka Park this Saturday in support of Dublin Pride.

Every year a Shelbourne XI takes on the Dublin Devils in a charity match and it’s a great opportunity.

But after my knee surgery, I doubt I’ll get Ian Morris’ attention for a summer move to Shels. Rather, I’ll be the one limping on the pitch.

I also hurry to try all my old contacts and sponsors for boots. I’ve never paid for a pair in my life and, well, old habits die hard;)

Summer vacation – what is it for?

Can someone tell me what the summer vacation was for?

If you ask me, it’s only for guys who want to go to Torremolinos pissing – and they haven’t even been able to do that this year.

If that’s the reason we still have it, then get rid of it. Those days are over.



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Euro referees on the ball

Hats off to the referees at the Euro. They let the games go and there is no ceremony on VAR.

We don’t have VAR in the Irish League and it’s in the best interests of the game.

I haven’t seen any UEFA announcements before the Euro, but it seems there is a concerted effort to let the players play and for the officials to use common sense.

How refreshing.

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