Irish League needs major changes says Tipton as Point host Dundalk

Dundalk stars such as John Mountney, Daryl Horgan and Stephen ODonnell will be playing in Warrenpoint on Thursday. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Dundalk stars such as John Mountney, Daryl Horgan and Stephen ODonnell will be playing in Warrenpoint on Thursday. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

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Warrenpoint Town manager Matthew Tipton says the Irish League would need to implement big changes to produce their own Dundalk story.

Point are set to welcome Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk side on Thursday evening for a friendly game (kick-off at Milltown is at 7.30pm and admission is £5).

The League of Ireland champions are preparing for their crunch Europa League tie away to Maccabi Tel Aviv next Thursday, when they could still qualify for the last 32 of the competition.

And Tipton reckons wholesale changes would be required in the Irish League to see a team from north of border get anywhere near that achievement.

“We have to go to summer football for a start,” he said. “It’s the only thing that will give us a real chance of getting somebody through a few rounds. Even then, it won’t be easy. The League of Ireland moved to summer football about 10 years ago and have only got a team into the group stages twice.

“We have to make sure we’re developing our younger players as well. Somebody is going to have to bite the bullet and go full time as well. Some clubs are doing three nights a week training and some still just two. There’s a lot you can get done in three nights a week but we have to be more professional, even in our attitudes to the European games. When I was playing in those games, we did take them seriously but sometimes boys are on holidays for them and things like that. Sometimes they can be treated a bit like a pre-season trip.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement for Dundalk. I played there a few years ago in Europe and since then, they had all their financial difficulties. I have a lot of respect for the manager Stephen Kenny and I’ll definitely be asking for a few tips off him.

“Thursday will be a tough match for us but the chance to come up against a side of this quality is great. We know the levels we want the players to get to and it will be good for them to see how a team like this operates. Obviously we don’t expect to be playing in the Europa League or anything like that but it will help us to set the boys’ minds on promotion and on what we want to achieve.”