For manager Liam Buckley the reward for winning this tie with Legia Warsaw was mouth watering and a money making tie with Glasgow Celtic and a possible full house at AVIVA STADIUM after a respectable 1-1 tie in Pepsi Arena, Warsaw in the first leg.
The cramped confines of the well worn Richmond Park in INCHEMORE was a no go area as far as UEFA were concerned, so the 2nd leg was switched to TALLAGHT STADIUM, home of Shamrock Rovers. I took a taxi to Tallaght to by tickets only to find that they were only on sale at Richmond Park so I went there to by some of the few remaining ones. A sell-out crowd of 5,800 would support The Saints, minus over 1,000 Polish fans joining us in the East Stand.
There are probably 100,000 Poles living and working in Ireland and many of them were in O'Connell Street earlier in the day when we visited the Post Office, one of the most historic in the world, where the 1915 rising against the English began. Last week the first leg result gave the South Side boys a chance to make a small fortune for my favourite Dublin club. With Celtic winning 4-0 (agg.5-0) against KR Reykjavik of Iceland at Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Tuesday night a win would mean a ONE MILLION EURO BONANZA. www.stpatsfc.com
It was a festive crowd with Reds fans chanting and playing the drum throughout. However, they kissed goodbye to the bonanza when The Poles ,who scored five times without reply, go through 6-1 on aggregate,and play the Scottish champions in the next round, Legia are coached by former Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers star HENNING BERG, a 100 plus Norwegian international. After being dismissed as Blackburn Rovers manager by Indian owners he is on track to win the Polish title 3 times running.
The Reds started with promise, but after Miroslav Radovic opened the scoring in the 24th minute past goalie Brendan Clarke, they fell apart with the visitors slick tiki taki passing showing a relentless attack. Most Irish lads with promises and skill are plying their trade over the pond in England and St.Pats had no magic to offer their fans. Legia scored three times in the last tean minutes...and it could have been a lot more.
At least St. Pats earned a big fee for selling the tie to Polish television with lots of advertising rapping around the pitch with electronic advertising throughout. Back to league action in the AIRTRICITY League of Ireland on Saturday at bottom club Athlone Town, hoping to reduce the nine point margin on league leaders Dundalk and Cork City and Shamrock Rovers in third.