SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Dundalk FC captain Stephen O'Donnell questions 'logic' behind league's fixture schedule

The Galwegian asks if the FAI have much 'grá' for the League of Ireland

Caoimhín Reilly


Caoimhín Reilly


Dundalk FC captain Stephen O'Donnell questions 'logic' behind league's fixture schedule

Dundalk FC captain Stephen O'Donnell. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)

Dundalk FC captain Stephen O’Donnell has questioned the FAI’s “grá” for the League of Ireland following criticism of the current, relentless fixture schedule.

The Lilywhites are in the midst of playing 12 times in just 42 days and O’Donnell, who started his first league game of the season against Derry City on Friday night, has questioned the thinking behind the glut of games

“It seems very lob-sided,” the Galwegian told RTÉ Radio One's Saturday Sport programme.

“I think we have 24 league games before the break and then 12 after the break so, I don't know, the FAI must be expecting some Irish clubs to go on a hell of a run in Europe or something.”

O'Donnell also alluded to the strain the current format is putting on the league’s part-time players, before pointing out the financial aspect involved for supporters attending matches.

“It’s going to hit the gates. Fans are going to have to prioritise which game they go and watch... and that’s going to continue for the next four or five weeks.

“There doesn’t seem to be much logic there whatsoever and I don’t know if there are many people, organising the league, who care. That’s the bottom line.

“If you put this furore to them (the FAI) in the off-season, if they knew this was what was going to be kicked up, they still would have made the fixtures the same way. That’s the way I see the league being run at the moment.

“I just don’t know if there's much of a ‘grá’ there for it in the upper echelons.

“That’s (the fixture list) a prime example that if you’re trying to promote a league, a league that get’s a kicking as it is from the general soccer fan, 80% of sports people in Ireland wouldn't even know the matches are on.

“For promotion purposes even, if the people behind the scenes really cared about it, they’d be able to make a far better product and a far better spectacle of what the league is at the minute.”