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Is the League of Ireland starved of appreciation?

“Debutant Richie Towell scores last minute winner for Rotherham.” The headlines that most will have read on the 9th of September with the significance gaining the former Dundalk man a mention.

Over the past couple of years several players have moved across ‘the pond’ and once established, fans seem to forget about where they come from, so should they move onto another club, their roots in the league of Ireland in my opinion are disregarded.

Sean Maguire and Daryl Horgan who are in exceptional form at the time of writing with Sean also scoring today for Preston at home to Barnsley.

With a rather poor result recently at home to Serbia, one I had the disappointment of witnessing, should there have been a different style of play maybe the outcome would have been different and at this current point, anything must be attempted to have 23 players in green shirts on a plane to Russia.

Rory Gaffney also scoring today for Bristol Rovers, many in England only knowing him for being a Pirate or a former Cambridge United player, forget that the man in question is a Galwegian and was unstoppable in the blue of JP McManus’ Limerick.

Overshadowed by the quality and money in the present day, I feel that rather than praise the likes of Seamus Coleman for his great talent but look beneath his adventure.

Starting out playing GAA for Killybegs before relocating to Sligo Rovers, praise and applause surely has to go to those involved with the two clubs in mention for developing a world class right back and now Irish captain.

By all means I’m not infringing that Seamus Coleman doesn’t deserve recognition, Stepping up to lead out your country and play top flight football in ‘one of the top 5 divisions’ is a huge task, however rather than give all the appreciation to the Killybegs man, consider where he started out and how few succeed to get where he has.

Trying to put myself in the shoes of a Premier League manager it’s very hard to think where the potential could be, contemplating should I change my ways of discovering players or stick to the conservative way which is going to be the likely outcome. Sign a player who terrorised us last year because he’s an established Premier league player however there are prime examples of players progressing.

Simon Grayson who has a lot of Irish fans thanking him surely for giving the Irish contingent at Preston their breakthrough but it’s evident that they were signed for their quality. If you consider the quantity of Irish players exist at Preston it was a rather likely destination.

With a lot of players returning home after spells in England, there could be a possibility that they were over-looked due to English alternatives, I could be wrong but think that the chance isn’t granted unless you have history within the UK football ladder, Rory Gaffney as mentioned before.

Fees for League two players range from around £300,000 upwards but with undisclosed fees for League of Ireland players, how do we know what their value is?

Hopefully the league with more publicity can be given the stepping stone to better recognition for our ‘exports’ rather than hide the facts, figures and details and keep their roots unknown.

Connor McGinty

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