Light at the end of tunnel for relegated Rovers

SHAMROCK ROVERS hope to play the last four home games of the coming season at their new stadium in Tallaght but could yet be lodging in Tolka Park for the bulk of the campaign.

Following Monday’s meeting of South Dublin County Council, which approved completion of the Tallaght Community Stadium, a nine-month timetable would see the Hoops installed there towards the end of their First Division campaign.

In the meantime, Morton Stadium in Santry is their designated home for the year but club officials, whilst admitting they are looking at other options in Dublin, have refused to confirm or deny that Shelbourne have already put forward an attractive proposal for the use of Tolka Park.

With the new board of the relegated Hoops anxious to keep attendance figures up and overheads low - and their former Premier Division rivals also set to feel the financial impact of the absence of Dublin derbies with the Hoops - the Shelbourne ground looks a serious contender to host Rovers’ home games next season.

To quote Bob Dylan, there was a real sense that the darkest hour comes right before the dawn, as Rovers held an upbeat press conference in Dublin yesterday.

Following a season in which the famous club was docked eight points, suspended and sacked manager Roddy Collins, was relegated for the first time in its history and, at one point, almost went out of business for good, Rovers are celebrating the arrival of a new manager and new players, the renewal of sponsorship deals (with Umbro and Woodies) and the tantalising prospect that, at long last, they can make a permanent home for the club in Tallaght.

Former Rovers player and Kilkenny City boss Pat Scully yesterday outlined his reasons for taking up the challenging job of getting Rovers back to the top flight on a tight budget.

“The main reason I was happy to take the job was I was so impressed with how honest and upfront the new board are,” he said.

“Everything we do will be for the good of Shamrock Rovers. People talk too much about budgets. We won’t have the biggest budget in the division but money doesn’t necessarily buy you success. There are good players out there if you know where to look for them.”

Scully’s squad rebuilding job has already begun in earnest with the signing of David Cassidy and Aidan Price from Kilkenny City and Ray Kenny and Robbie Clarke from Kildare County.

Goalkeeper Barry Murphy, who this year holds the unprecedented distinction of winning both the Player Of the Year and Young Player Of The Year titles at the club, has also re-signed for the club.

Veterans Trevor Molloy and Derek Tracey will stay on, but Molloy will cede the captaincy to Aidan Price.

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