herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Fenlon and Rovers should know better

Bray’s Karl Moore in action Photo: Sportsfile
Bray’s Karl Moore in action Photo: Sportsfile

So Pat Fenlon's a bad loser. What a time to be alive.

A lot has been made of the Shamrock Rovers manager's spat with his opposite number Stephen Kenny in the aftermath of the Hoops' 2-0 reverse to Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium last Friday.

'Nutsy' obviously had a few things to get off his chest, so he let rip.

But really, it was heat-of-the-moment handbags stuff and nothing else.

It begs the question, though, what manager isn't a sore loser? Every 'gaffer' needs to win. It's a requirement that keeps them in employment, unless you're Louis van Gaal. It's a results-based business they're in, so I'd love to meet a manager who isn't a sore loser. Some managers are better able to contain their disappointment than others, but rest assured, a defeat will have every manager smarting in some way.

Events during the match wouldn't have helped Fenlon's mood with an own goal and a red card in quick succession handing the advantage to Dundalk. Perhaps what wound Fenlon up most was the Dundalk 'We won it in Talla' (yes, that's how the reigning champions like to spell Tallaght) banner when the Louth club launched their new kit last December.

The message was loud and clear - and it clearly worked. It irked the hell out of Rovers. So much that it became a hot topic in the run-up to last Friday's tussle, with Fenlon labelling the taunt (or back-handed compliment, whichever way you look at it) as "disrespectful."

A couple of Hoops players also had a thing to say about it. But Rovers should have kept a lid on it, at least until the three points were sealed. Dundalk, however, are no strangers to winding up their opposition as I found back in 1988 for the Premier Division decider between the Lilywhites and St Pat's. Walking through the town on the way up to the ground, I remember seeing pubs festooned with 'Dundalk, League Champions 1988' BEFORE a turnstile had clicked, let alone a ball kicked.

Ironically, it was a Pat Fenlon penalty for Pats that put the cat amongst the pigeons at Oriel Park that evening, but Jim McLaughlin's side eventually got the draw they needed to lift the title and the window dressings in the pubs around Dundalk remained.

Revenge is a dish best served cold as the Pats manager Brian Kerr learned that day, and as Fenlon now knows after last Friday.

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