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Ireland would benefit more from hosting an under-21 tournament - Football Show

Upgrading Ireland's stadiums for an under-21 tournament makes a lot of sense.



Journalist Dan McDonnell joined The Football Show on Wednesday to talk about the FAI and the Euro 2028 bid.

Turkey and Russia are attempting to thwart it, but Ireland's bid for the 2028 European Champions will be successful.

Ireland and the United Kingdom will host the tournament. Although it realistically means Dublin will host a couple of games and maybe a team or two will stay in a hotel somewhere else in the country. Ireland are passengers in the bid. It could still prove to be beneficial in different ways.

It will be a boost to the economy and it solidifies relationships between the FAI and the government. That could be helpful in getting future funding for more important upgrades around the country.

While the skeptic view will highlight how this bid can be used to overshadow more important issues, it's fair to point out the bid is separate to those issues. Ireland can upgrade stadiums and training facilities as well as host the Euros. Whether those decisions are made or not is to be determined.

Dan McDonnell suggested that Ireland would benefit far more from hosting a youth tournament.

"I'd love to see Ireland go for a European under-21 Championships," McDonnell said.

"There was talk, ironically during the Delaney years, of a cross-border bid with the North for an under-21 Championships. I thought that would be brilliant. That would be terrific. You'd see some of the best young players from some of the top teams in Europe.

"But also you'd have a real excuse to upgrade a lot of your small to medium size facilities. That would be a dual purpose move, but that's not as exciting."

Government officials can't sell the bid for an under-21 Championships the way they can for the senior tournament.

It's the more practical, beneficial move because Ireland have plenty of League of Ireland stadiums that can host those games. There are smaller crowds and less demand for top-level facilities for underage teams. The likes of Turners Cross, Tallaght Stadium and Richmond Park could be used.

Other League of Ireland stadiums could be upgraded and used.

Ireland benefits most from an improved domestic game. An improved domestic game helps the international team. If the international team qualifies for more tournaments, more money is available to grow the game. There is a long-term vision that needs to be applied to Ireland that is too often overlooked for short-term celebrations.

McDonnell's point about the under-21s isn't even overly nuanced. It doesn't take a lengthy discussion to break down the benefits. It's just not flashy so it's not likely to happen.

Michael Obafemi is making things difficult for Stephen Kenny

 

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Dan Mcdonnell Euro 2028 FAI Jonathan Hill Stephen Kenny

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