Speaking ahead of Shamrock Rovers' first home game in the new Tallaght Stadium, Dermot Looney, a local Labour Party election candidate, has said that Rovers' move is bright news amidst the gloom for both the local community and League of Ireland football. Looney, a candidate for the Tallaght Central Ward, has congratulated Rovers and their fans for the tenacity they have shown in the 22 years since the controversial sale of Glenmalure Park.
Looney (26) is a lifelong St Patrick's Athletic fan and patron member of St Pat's, and has previously been a supporters' club chairman and fanzine editor for the Inchicore club. He was also an award-winning journalist specialising in League of Ireland football before becoming a primary teacher in Old Bawn, just a stone's throw from the stadium. But he is leaving footballing rivalry behind with a warm welcome for Rovers in Tallaght.
"The build-up to this special move has set Tallaght alight over the past few weeks," noted Looney, "both figuratively and literally! The place has been abuzz and the switching on of the new floodlights at the stadium has added even more to local excitement. As someone teaching local children I know how much the season kick-off has engaged young people, clear evidence that Rovers' community strategy in Tallaght is paying off."
"Special credit is due to Chairman Jonathan Roche and the old 400 club on their tremendous work in rescuing and democratising Shamrock Rovers. Congratulations are also due to the Council officials and staff who have worked so hard to ensure this day comes. News that a new 3,000 seat stand will be completed by June will mean a fantastic community resource in the many years ahead."
"One of the first political actions I ever took was signing and circulating a Rovers for Tallaght petition when I was in my teens. More than a decade later, I'm pledging my total support to Rovers if I'm elected to the Council in June, in terms of Council decisions and policy on the development of the stadium. The only time Rovers won't have my support is when they're playing Pat's!"