Roddy Collins was unapologetic about his controversial League of Ireland comments. James Crombie/INPHO

'This whole conversation's been an embarrassment' - Off the Ball's LOI chat gets heated

The furore from Roddy Collins’ recent controversial comments is showing no sign of relenting.

THE BACKLASH FROM Roddy Collins’ recent controversial League of Ireland comments continued last night, as Stuey Byrne and Ger O’Brien weighed in on the issue.

Speaking on Off the Ball, Collins reiterated his belief that last weekend’s FAI Cup final was a decidedly unimpressive spectacle.

“I expected so much more from Pat’s,” he said. “From certain individuals in the team and one or two in the Derry team, and when it didn’t materialise, it was just disappointing.

“I talked up three Pat’s players and two Derry players in particular and on that display, [Luton manager John Still] went away disappointed and said he couldn’t take them

“On that particular performance, it was horrendous. The individuals you expect to stand up and be counted just didn’t do it. The other disappointing factor was that there were only 17,000 people in the stadium — it’s an absolute disgrace, it’s a joke. Surely to God, with a team from Dublin, and a team from Derry, we can put 40,000 in that stadium.

“There’s something every week [in the League of Ireland] — floodlight failures, problems with the pitch…”

However, Collins, while acknowledging that there were problems with the league, believes the cup final was not necessarily an accurate reflection of Irish football’s general standard.

“If I thought it was typical of the league, would I have brought someone over? Thank God, Christy Fagan bagged a brace and showed something,” Collins added.

Meanwhile, Pat’s player Ger O’Brien — while acknowledging Collins had a point in some respects — took issue with certain comments

“Roddy’s entitled to his opinion. Obviously we’d love 30,000 or 40,000 there. The league and the FAI should be doing more.

“But if he feels the likes of Keith Fahey, Chris Forrester and Christy Fagan aren’t good enough to play in the League Two…”

Meanwhile, Stuart Byrne defended the quality of the Pat’s-Derry game.

“It was a good game, it wasn’t a classic,” he said. “It was a good tactical affair. This conversation has become the world and Irish football against Roddy Collins.

“This whole conversation’s been an embarrassment.

“I don’t like the tone of the debate from the start. We never get an opportunity to put forward where the league is going to go.”

However, Collins remained unapologetic about his controversial comments, emphasising his love and passion for the League of Ireland while doing so.

“The lads that played most are going to be on the dole [between now and next season]. If Aston Villa want a young player, they’re not going want to wait until January.

“I’ll say what I feel and I think the league is going backwards. But if you try to make a difference, you’re this, that or the other.”

Listen to the full conversation here>

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