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'Bring on the All-Island league' | Perth and McPhail

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

18:43 5 Feb 2020

A hot topic at the launch of the new SSE Airtricity League of Ireland season was the prospect of the much-discussed All-Island league.

The proposal to merge both domestic leagues north and south of the border was put forward by businessman, Kieran Lucid to mixed reactions.

Although clubs in Northern Ireland, who are enjoying a resurgence, largely reject the plan, it has been met with optimism in the south as the domestic game has stagnated.

Speaking to Off The Ball at the launch of the new League of Ireland season, Dundalk manager Vinny Perth thinks the proposal would benefit clubs both north and south.

“There’s a massive boom up there in terms of football at the moment, players are being paid well and are on long-term contracts so I would imagine that they feel like they’re alright.

“Where I feel they’ll be challenged is when you look at Linfield being close to European group stages, they need to test themselves. If that happens at a Glentoran or Coleraine then there might be more appetite.

“Certainly that is why we would consider it as a way for us to make ourselves better and ultimately the league we play in better,” Perth said.

Shamrock Rovers sporting director, Stephen McPhail is also in agreement about the merits of any potential All-Island league. 

“I think we could have a bigger league, more professional, and move this country on a bit. I think everyone sees a sort of fresh start coming their way in terms of the FAI and all that sort of stuff,” McPhail said.

Last year Linfield and Dundalk met in the cross border Unite the Union Cup to relatively little fanfare. Perth and his players though would like to have that experience more often.

“The game up in Linfield was very much like a European game, in the whole set up of it and playing against people you’re not used to.

“There was a little bit of noise from both sets of supporters, it was minor, but you’re going to get that until the novelty wears off.

But if you're going to tell me we’ve to visit Windsor two or three times a season then I’ll take that,” he said

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Read more about

All Island League Dundalk FAI Football IFA League Of Ireland Linfield NIFL Shamrock Rovers Soccer Stephen McPhail Vinny Perth

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