Cllr Dermot Looney, Tallaght Central Labour representative, has congratulated all involved at Shamrock Rovers FC on their qualification for the group stages of this year’s UEFA Europa League group stages. Looney was commenting in the wake of Rovers’ historic victory over Serbia’s Partisan Belgrade on Thursday night which sets up at least six further games in Europe for the Tallaght-based side.
“As a St Patrick’s Athletic fan representing a Rovers-mad area I have often had divided loyalties. However, tonight the Irish football fraternity is united in congratulating Rovers on a fantastic victory in Belgrade and in being the first Irish club ever to qualify for the group stages of a major European competition.”
“As well as congratulating Michael O’Neill and his team, many of whom are local players, plaudits have to go to the members of Shamrock Rovers who rescued their club from near-extinction just a short few years ago, many of whom are now involved in the day-to-day running of the club.”
“This is a victory not just for Rovers, but for Irish football as a whole. That an Irish team has achieved qualification to the group stages when both Celtic and Rangers were knocked out tonight shows the improvements which have been made in the League of Ireland in the past decade. Whether or not we will see Rovers playing any of their games in Tallaght Stadium remains to be seen but as a local representative I am on hand to assist, as I have been before to Shamrock Rovers and their fans.”