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Dundalk boss Perth - It's not about TV, it's about facilities


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Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth believes League of Ireland discourse should concentrate on improving facilities, not TV deals. 

He was speaking after his side produced one of their gutsiest displays of the season, drawing 2-2 away to Vitesse Arnhem in the 3rd qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

Patrick McEleney scored twice in the second half to put Dundalk ahead, after they'd conceded a Matus Bero goal in the first half.

But an equaliser from Lois Openda leaves the tie in the balance ahead of the second leg at Tallaght Stadium next week.

Much like Bohemians' marvellous win over PAOK on Tuesday night, and Shamrock Rovers' game with Teuta, Dundalk's match wasn't televised.

Both the Bohs manager Keith Long, and his Rovers counterpart Stephen Bradley hit out at the lack of coverage this week.

The Irish Independent's Aidan Fitzmaurice reported this week, that Bohemians had offered to forego streaming the game for a fee on LOI TV, and allow RTÉ show the game for free.

But speaking from the GelreDome in Arnhem - ironically the template for the ill-fated Eircom Park - Perth said TV coverage needs to take a backseat to sorting facilities at home.

"I heard Keith's [Long] interview, and I agree with it, and I think he also mentioned the Olympics to be fair to him," the Dundalk boss told OTB Sports, "Where I fall on that is slightly different.

"I think we're all on the same page. The difference is, it's not about the media coverage.

"This week's about Kellie Harrington - or these next couple of days are about what she's achieved for inner-city Dublin.

"The last couple of days were about what rowing has achieved for Skibbereen, and they all - and sport - has such a huge part to play in Irish society.

"So I understand where the difficulty for RTÉ is. The difference is not TV coverage, the difference is these arenas [GelreDome etc].

"Vitesse don't own this arena. Players are inspired by these pitches, by these stadiums, and while Dundalk have to improve our own stuff - and we're culpable - the Government, the FAI... the whole lot of us need to [get] together and give these arenas to the League of Ireland.

"Because, look what Bohs have achieved. Look at the great night we had last Thursday in Tallinn in that stadium.

"I think our players are inspired by these arenas, and I think that's the biggest challenge we have - improve our facilities."

Indeed, Dundalk just last month announced a Stadium and Facilities Redevelopment group focused on developing a Category 3 stadium for the North East.

Perth added, "There's no doubt, if Bohs had've had a stadium like this on Tuesday night, it would've been 20-odd thousand [in the ground].

"So many of them inner-city young people would have been at that game, off our streets, and supporting our local football because we've got quality in our league. We need a hand.

"I think that's the biggest difference for me. It's not all about the television, and I understand the television argument because we can't get people into [stadiums], give us these stadiums!

"Give us these stadiums, and work together on them."

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Conference League Dundalk Europa Conference League Keith Long League Of Ireland RTE Stephen Bradley UEFA Europa Conference League Vinny Perth Vitesse Arnhem

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