Niall Quinn believes Dermot Desmond's influence can boost Irish football

Niall Quinn believes Dermot Desmond's influence can boost Irish football

NIALL QUINN feels Dermot Desmond’s financial commitment to Shamrock Rovers will raise standards throughout the domestic game. 

Desmond is the largest individual shareholder in Scottish champions Celtic and has committed to become a major stakeholder at Shamrock Rovers in the coming weeks.

It was revealed back in June of this year that all obstacles had been cleared for the billionaire to pump around €3million into the Hoops in return for a 25 per cent stake.

That investment is expected to support Rovers’ ambitious plans to further develop the club’s Academy and infrastructure.

And Quinn feels other clubs in the League of Ireland will now follow his example.

“Getting Dermot Desmond involved is great news for Shamrock Rovers and great news for Irish football,” he told The Irish Post.

“The FAI didn’t treat the league very well by their own admittance over the years.

“It deserves better attention.  Dermot is investing now and that will help the academy and will help develop the next generation of player. That will rub off and other clubs will have to match it.”

The former Manchester City star is an avid follower of the domestic Irish football scene and the form of Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne has caught his eye this year.

“Jack Byrne has fully deserved to play for the national team,” he said.

“He has been playing brilliantly week in and week out for Shamrock Rovers. I love what’s happening with the young players. There is belief in the air. Players like Aaron Connolly are knocking on the door fighting for a first team place. They’re carefree about it.

“There’s a buzz about Irish football at grassroots level at present. Our ladies had a great win in October. Our U21s are going some.

“The League of Ireland is a very good spectacle these days. Football in Ireland is back on the up almost in spite of the FAI, not because of them.”

He added: “We have to look at countries with a similar size population to ourselves. It’s a cop out to say we don’t have the population when you see what Croatia have been able to do.  Belgium have a bigger population than us, but relative to the size of the bigger footballing nations what they’ve achieved these last few years has been incredible.

“I’m not saying we should be pushing for World Cup semi-finals and anything less than that is failure.

“But for so long we have lacked the structure at the very top to give ourselves a real chance. That culture is changing now.

“It’s a very exciting time for Irish football in the post-Delaney period.”