John Delaney reflected on the draw with Scotland when he officially opened the new clubhouse at Ben Wadding Park on Sunday, June 14th. He also spoke about the new coaching structures the FAI have put in place in recent times to try an improve matters at underage level.
“It’s brilliant to be here in Waterford,” said John Delaney. “Waterford Bohemians is a great club with a very proud history since its foundation back in 1941. They have had some great people including the great Ben Wadding and many Internationals like Eddie Nolan, the Fitzgerald brothers and obviously John O’Shea.
“When you come here today, you see a wonderful facility. I remember coming here a couple of years back when my son was playing for Villa and the dressing room were ok but not what a club would have wanted however you see it today – it’s like an Oasis.
“Great credit must go to the committee and in particular their chairman Richie Elliott for the fantastic work that they’ve done to ensure one of the top facilities in the country. They’ve done a tremendous job with a wonderful stand and top class dressing rooms that are second to none.
“It’s a very proud day for Bohemians and it’s a very proud day for Waterford football.”
Delaney admitted that the Republic of Ireland did enough in his view to win against Scotland. “It’s disappointing but I think that we probably did enough to win it to be honest. We played very well in the first half and were a goal up but you’re never confident when you’re only a goal up.
“I think that conceding early in the second half didn’t help us and I don’t think we recovered from that but all that said, we’ve two games in September that are must win games for us now so hopefully we can get the results in these games. We have Georgia at home and Gibraltar away.
When asked was he ok after the week that he had, he said, “I’m fine. Listen football is football. There is always going to be ups and downs with it but when you can come down to something like today it makes it all worthwhile. You see so many familiar faces and the reception that I’ve received from a wonderful committee, it’s great.
“When you see Paul Power from Tramore and Paddy Kirk from Kilmeaden then you know that football is going well in this country. I think that the grassroots football development is going well but listen well done to Waterford Bohemians because it’s a very proud day for them today. I congratulate them on where they are today”.
Speaking on the debate that Ireland haven’t the players coming through at International level, the FAI chief said, “I think that it’s more difficult because of the British system. There are less players getting the chance to play in the Premiership because close to 70% are non-British players which is an amazing statistic.
“It comes with its own challenges but we’ve just launched a development plan. We went around the country and met with 700 coaches and administrators at grassroots level and two of these developments will be implemented this August.
“It’s really about introducing more touches and more fun to the game. We all use the same size football – size five, less competition up to the age of 12 , 5v5 7v7 9v9 so kids get more chance to play the game and have more fun once doing so.
“We are making strides at emerging talent and development level. We will have our academy opening soon and this will give more players the chance. The grass pitches are just ready at Abbotstown and although there will be a debate – let me tell you that there is a player development plan and I’m happy to see this implemented over the next couple of years.