Shamrock Rovers will enter the Airtricity League First Division for 2014 with a development side, adding to their Premier Division side. The announcement was made today in Abbotstown by Fran Gavin.
Hoops Chairman Jonathan Roche believes having a B team will give young players a chance to prosper on a major stage:
“Entering a team in the First Division is a significant step for Shamrock Rovers Football Club. The First Division team will play an important part in player development at the club from next season. We feel the First Division will give our young, talented players the chance to play at a higher level and get valuable experience of this level of competitive football. The First Division team will provide an extra pathway for players into our first team in the future.”
The following parameters have been set out for the B team by the FAI for the impending season:
· The First Division team will not be eligible for promotion or the play-offs.
· Shamrock Rovers will pay the full First Division affiliation fee.
· The First Division team will not be allowed to enter the EA Sports Cup or the FAI Ford Cup.
· Disciplinary sanctions imposed on Shamrock Rovers players will apply to both teams.
· From their Premier Division squad, Shamrock Rovers will be permitted to play a maximum of three outfield players and a goalkeeper in First Division fixtures.
Fran Gavin, Director of the Airtricity League stated: “This is the first time that we have allowed a club to field a second team in a lower division of the League. However, it is not unusual in a European context as this is the norm in countries such Spain, Germany, France, Norway, Holland, Switzerland and Portugal. It was an idea that came from the club and once they embraced the parameters we required them to operate within we approved the application.”
This groundbreaking decision means that the Hoops will be the eighth side in the First Division next season, alongside, Wexford Youths, Waterford United, Longford Town, Shelbourne, Cobh Ramblers, Galway FC and Finn Harps.