Fenlon had reportedly been on the brink of joining Dublin rivals Bohemians, but it’s now back to the drawing board for the newly cash-rich Gypsies in their search for a manager.
Acknowledging that the past week has been a difficult time for the club, its supporters, players and staff, Fenlon said: “We’ve a job to do here and I intend winning the title this season and staying in the job in the foreseeable future. The players have been phenomenal in sometimes difficult circumstances, as have our supporters, and I’d like to thank them for that — and the best way we can do that is by collectively bringing the silverware to Tolka Park this season.”
The first piece of silverware is up for grabs on Monday when Shelbourne face Derry City in the League Cup final, but tonight the goal will be to extend their lead at the top of the eircom Premier Division as Shels visit Richmond Park to play mid-table St Patrick’s Athletic in a game which will be screened live on TG4.
Striker Jason Byrne is expected to be back for Shels, who are currently four points ahead of Derry — although, after tonight’s action, the Candystripes, will have three games in hand.
For Pat’s, John Frost, Mark Quigley and Stephen Quigley should all be available for selection and the club also hope that Michael Foley will be back after missing the game against UCD with a slight hamstring problem.
For Bohs, the failure to land Fenlon is a significant blow, and former Cork City boss Pat Dolan has now been installed as the new favourite to take over from Gareth Farrelly. Former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr, who had previously been linked with the job, recently ruled himself out of a return to League of Ireland football.
But while the Dublin club can look forward to a healthy long-term future on the back of the sale of Dalymount Park, they will be wary visitors to Turner’s Park tonight where they face a Cork City side buoyant after ending a string of draws by winning 3-0 away to Sligo Rovers — the club which, in their previous game, had inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Bohs.
While Bohemians are struggling in the middle of the table, champions Cork are back up in fourth place, with manager Damien Richardson still insisting his side can make up the eight point difference with Shels to claim back-to-back titles.
That seems like a tall order, with Derry and third-placed Drogheda United — neither of whom play tonight — also looking to push Shelbourne all the way in the run-in.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Waterford United will be looking for only their third win of the season at home to UCD while Bray Wanderers, who are currently helping the Blues prop up the table on 10 points, play host to Longford Town.
All tonight’s games kick off at 7.45pm.