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'It's ludicrous' - Croly calls for longer domestic season

The Shamrock Rovers boss says it is ‘impossible’ to continue with the current format due to fixture congestion.

Croly's men trail Dundalk 2-1 in the Setanta Cup semi-final.
Croly's men trail Dundalk 2-1 in the Setanta Cup semi-final.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS BOSS Trevor Croly has called for the length of the domestic season to be increased as he is unhappy with the current congested fixture list.

The Hoops have played 11 competitive matches so far and sit third in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division after losing out to St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.

They turn their attentions to the Setanta Cup this evening as a semi-final second leg with Dundalk at Oriel Park awaits.

Eamon Zayed kept the tie alive with an 84th-minute goal after Richie Towell’s double three weeks ago while the winner will face Sligo Rovers in the final after their 5-1 win over Pat’s last night.

Speaking ahead of a busy few weeks of football, Croly said: ”We’ve got eight games in 23 days, it’s virtually impossible to keep playing. It’s ludicrous really to ask players to play that number of games.

“I think we need a longer season, absolutely. I’ve said it before. We played seven in 21 days a couple of weeks ago and then had a week’s break where we played Friday-Friday, and then we’re into eight games in 23 days. It’s not possible.

We played 52 games last year which is a hell of a lot of games — 52 games in 36 weeks. There are very few weeks to prepare teams. You’re basically just recovering, playing, recovering, playing.”

As well as taking its toll on the players, Croly believes it is a lot to ask fans to attend more than one game a week.

“It’s not financially possible for people. Do people have enough money to go Friday, Monday, Friday, Monday, Friday, Tuesday, Friday? I don’t think they do looking at some of the gates. You have to expand it. The FAI need to take control.

“The other thing is that you get more quality. If you can prepare properly, there’s more chance of quality games to try promote and sell the league. I think it’s something that really has to happen to be quite honest but I think it’s just diluting the quality.”

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