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League of Ireland can give footballers the love back - Damien Delaney

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

10:22 22 Oct 2019

Damien Delaney believes that League of Ireland clubs can offer young footballers the chance to reignite their love for the game.

Speaking on The Football Show this evening, the former Crystal Palace and Leicester defender said that Jack Byrne and Dessie Hutchinson's stories can offer a guide as to how the league approaches regeneration.

"We were on air a couple of weeks ago with Jack Byrne and his story was fantastic - for him to regroup and come back to not only get back to playing so well for Shamrock Rovers but for Ireland [was great.]

"In my experience in the League of Ireland, I would say that that is something the League of Ireland should look at.

"Everyone always says that we should make the League of Ireland better so that kids can maybe stay here for a little bit longer. But I think that it is impossible and unfair because if a kid is asked to go to the UK, he is going to want to try it.

"I definitely think that there is a window for players coming back like Dessie [Hutchinson], who have been through the ringer over there.

"You are treated like a piece of meat. It is not the most friendly atmosphere; when things don't go well, you really are cast aside.

"If we can improve the League of Ireland, the standard around facilities, then we can almost give them the love back that they have lost for football."

League of Ireland love

Delaney believes that this is key for the league to replenish itself, and may offer a financial incentive as older, better-developed players with a love for the game will fetch higher prices.

"Sometimes you can lose the love - Jack Byrne is a prime example. But when you have been to certain clubs, and experienced the facilities and the way of doing, then it can be a culture shock.

"When you have had the stuffing knocked out of you and you come into a situation where things aren't done right, then it can push you further away from the game.

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Damien Delaney Dessie Hutchinson Football Jack Byrne League Of Ireland Loi Premier League Soccer

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