Tuesday 12 December 2017

Hoops keen on an Indian take-away

Pat Fenlon. Photo: Sportsfile
Pat Fenlon. Photo: Sportsfile

Pat Fenlon believes that a pre-season trip to India is the ideal way for his Shamrock Rovers side to prepare for the 2016 campaign.

A decade ago, pre-season trips to outposts like Spain and Turkey were all the rage for Celtic Tiger-era clubs in Ireland, but since the crash, foreign jaunts have been off the menu. But Rovers have been invited to an all-expenses-paid trip to India to play in the Sait Nagjee tournament for games against the U23 sides of Ukrainian club Volyn Lutsk and 1860 Munich as well as Argentina's U32 side, flying out today ahead of the first game next Monday.

For Fenlon, this brings back memories of exotic trips from his playing days in the late 1980s, when a joint Bohemians/St Pats squad were invited to play in Iran and Libya, and also calls to mind those pre-season tours of the 2000s.

"I did it a fair few times at Shels and Bohs, taking the team away for pre-season, and it always worked really well, so I feel this will be of great benefit to us," he said, ahead of today's flight via Abu Dhabi.

"The main reason we're going is that we have good quality games, it will be great to play against someone like Argentina's U23s. But we also have two training sessions a day and, given how bad the weather is in Ireland right now, to have two sessions a day in the heat will be great.

"You can spend more time coaching the players, I think all the clubs in Ireland are struggling with training at the moment so being away in good weather will really benefit us," added the Hoops boss.

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