Shamrock Rovers European odyssey hasn’t produced the outcome that many Rovers fans would have anticipated.
Rovers are currently bottom of Group F in the Europa Conference League after a draw to Djurgården and two consecutive losses against Molde and Gent, respectively.
Many of the Rovers faithful were unhappy with the TV coverage as it appeared that Manchester United’s fixture against Omonia was prioritised over Shamrock Rovers.
Speaking on The Football Show on Saturday, McDonnell discussed the controversy with John Duggan, Johnny Ward and former Drogheda player Graham Gartland.
‘There is an Irish club in the group stage of a European Competition, and this should be front and centre,’ said McDonnell. ‘This should be to the foremost of the news agenda. These Europa League games, in the grand scheme, do not matter much to Manchester United. Yet, when you turn on the radio or look at the newspapers, Manchester United are getting so much more coverage.’
‘I know that Manchester United have more fans, but we still live in Ireland. I would completely understand that argument. But, I would make the point that if we were talking about League of Ireland game but when you have an Irish team, your champions, representing your country at the same level.’
‘If you had an Irish tennis player going well in a major but more people wanted to watch Nadal versus Federer, you would say no, we have to support the Irish player. But if that Irish player said no, this isn’t very important, then it would be pretty hard to get behind them. If it isn't a distraction to them, then how can you distract everyone else.’
‘Dundalk in 2016, you’ll remember, Stephen Kenny was the sports manager of the year! They had games that clashed with Manchester United at the time, but there was a huge buzz around the Dundalk games as well as a huge discussion around the Dundalk games because they were competitive.’
‘And you could see that for their players, it meant everything, it meant the world. But Shamrock Rovers are making a business decision. From their perspective, if they can get into the Conference League again, again and again, they will eventually have the money in the bank and the funds to be more competitive. It is a bit of a project. It is a step in the road. There’s an element of grinning and bearing it, but it was hard to grin and bear it on Thursday.’
Shamrock Rovers will continue their search for their first win in this year’s Europa Conference League against Molde in Tallaght Stadium on the 13th of October.
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