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Eamon Dunphy Labels The League Of Ireland 'No Good' In Pre-Euros Chat

Eamon Dunphy Labels The League Of Ireland 'No Good' In Pre-Euros Chat
By Conor Neville
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On 2FM's Game On tonight, someone tried to kill the pre-Euros giddiness by bringing up the League of Ireland.

This sparked off a belter of a debate. One one side, you had Alan Cawley, defending the worth of the domestic game - while still lamenting its mismanagement - while lined up against him, you had Eamon Dunphy and Ruby Walsh, writing it off the league as a lost cause and a terrible product.

Cawley gamely pointed to the League of Ireland backgrounds of so many of the most important players within the Irish squad. He says the difficulties posed by the globalised scouting networks in English football provide an opportunity for the League of Ireland, but it's integral that the FAI support it so it can capitalise.

The League of Ireland yeah, we're in here to have a good time and look forward to the Euros, but it's on its knees at the moment. 35% of the players who are in the squad in France have all started off their careers in the League of Ireland and have gone on to better things and good luck to everyone of them.

But there's plenty of other lads here, if the right structures, if the right facilities were in place here, there's lads who could go over there no problem. I firmly believe that.

Why the FAI don't get involved now and put the right structures in place and actually give the people a League to be proud of, it's beyond me at this stage. Because if they ever need an excuse, the amount of lads who are going to be in France who were in the League of Ireland, it's staring them in the face.

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While Ruby approached the matter from a cold economic standpoint, insisting that the League of Ireland was being squeezed out by competing sports and competing products, Eamon baldly asserted that the League was 'no good'.

You see, Eamon returned home to Dublin with John Giles in 1978, enticed by the dream of building a club here capable of competing in the European Cup.


Dunphy played a single season with Shamrock Rovers, winning his only honour in senior football, the 1978 FAI Cup. He attaches no importance to it. Gilesy's Rovers dream died a few years later. Never mind the European Cup, they didn't even manage a domestic league title in that time.


While he only comments very infrequently on the domestic league these days, back in the 1980s, as the football correspondent of the Vincent Browne-era Sunday Tribune, Dunphy was lumped with the task of covering the League of Ireland, an undertaking he approached with an heroic level of insolence.

Week after week, he lampooned the 'Chicken League', so called on account of the League’s rather hickish sounding sponsors at the time, Pat Grace’s chain of Fried Chicken fast food shops.


It turns out that Eamon will watch the odd League of Ireland team in action, but only if he is rendered semi-immobile by a recent stay in hospital.

So limited were Eamon's opportunities for entertainment following his hospital stay last year that he actually condescended to watch Dundalk play, in the Champions League early knockout rounds against BATE  Borisov. It didn't encourage him to sit down and watch them again.

Well, I watched a match. I was in hospital this time last year and I had just come out and I was convalescing. And I watched Dundalk in a pre-qualifier against BATE Borisov in the Champions League. And it was in Oriel Park. And the ground was brown, it was mucky, it was a disgrace, it was a disgrace if you watched it on television. And I though 'wow, nothing has changed in the League of Ireland'.

I played in it for one year. It was awful to play in and they've no respect. And the kind of people that built up Connacht rugby, that kind of enterprise and entrepreneurship, getting Pat Lam in, we don't have that in soccer.

They're making a choice (people who watch games on TV), they're making a choice. What do you expect them to do. Go to these soccer matches and endure the bad facilities until it gets good.

Listen to the debate on the 2FM site.


Read more: Joxer Goes To Stuttgart - Where Are They Now?

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