There is a great opportunity for Gortnahoe / Glengoole’s Shane Long to be Ireland’s main striker, according to FAI chief John Delaney.
The Tipperary Town-born soccer boss made his remark about the West Brom player at a fundraising night in Nenagh for Nenagh FC and before Long was again on his team’s scoresheet on Monday night with two goals against Aston Villa.
“When Martin O’Neill came in with Roy, it was a clean sheet. Anything in the past, there was a line drawn in the sand,” he said. “I know Robbie Keane is our best scorer, but I have always admired Shane as a player. When he scored that goal at Wembley I was in the Royal Box and I jumped about 10 feet high. It’s great to see him back.”
Mr Delaney said: “I am glad to see he has scored a couple of goals in the Premiership. We’ll see what happens in January whether he moves. There is a great opportunity for Shane to grab that No 9 shirt.”
As a fellow Tipperary man, he he was proud that Shane was not only from the same county, but had also played with St Michael’s, the club Mr Delaney played for.
And not only that, but “he has always got a lovely smile on him. He is not only a great athlete but he is a terrific person.”
I relation to soccer in North Tipperary, The FAi chief said it was important that the clubs keep progressing.
“James Scott (the county’s development officer) is doing a terrific job. I am delighted Killavilla are back in the league because North Tipperary needs a strong league. It is terrific to have two Roscrea teams back in. The best players in North Tipperary should be playing the best players in North Tipperary,” he said.
With eirtricity planning a new underage national league, Mr Delaney said there was “no reason” why Nenagh shouldn’t aspire to be part of the planned U17 national league. However, he warned that clubs had to be careful that such a team did not become a local team and take players from other clubs.
Mr Delaney was also optimistic that Nenagh could host an underage international at its grounds at Brickfields, probably at U15 or U16 level.
Mr Delaney offered tickets to the next Ireland game to the best question from the younger members at the briefing, but probably didn’t expect the one from Cillian Scully who bluntly asked: “Are you glad Trappatoni is gone?”
However, the FAI boss didn’t duck the ossue and told Cillian that he had got very close to Trappatoni and reminded the gathering that he had brought him to Nenagh to open the facilities at Brickfields when Aoife Kelly was the Rose of Tralee.
“There is always an end with a manager. You can’t play football for life, you can’t manage for life and I was sad it had to come to an end because the results hadn’t been good.
“I’d love him still to be with us and we going to the World Cup, if you know what I mean, but I have a responsibility then, along with my fellow board members, that when the results aren’t going well and we haven’t achieved qualification to obviously come to a discussion with him.
“I must say it was very amicable. There were a few tears in the airport in the room that we met and it was very quickly worked out.
“I swapped a few text messages with him and I’ll certainly text message him at Christmas to wish him well. He’s a legend in the game. He’s a great man. He has achieved huge things in football. Absolutely. In Europe. In the world. He played against Pele, he won two European Cup medals and has achieved everything that could be achieved as a manager so I have great respect for him. But there does come a time when you have got to change the manager, and I am delighted with who we have got now in Martin O’Neill.”