Former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr has rejected claims by Roddy Collins that Sunday's FAI Cup final between St Patrick's Athletic and Derry City was an "embarrassing" standard of football.
“I wouldn’t agree at all,” Kerr, who was a co-commentator on the game for RTÉ Sport, said in response to the observations of Collins, who has managed multiple League of Ireland clubs.
“The first point Roddy made was about the crowd. I didn’t think the crowd was poor at all. There have been a lot less people at some recent Irish internationals at Lansdowne Road.
“And given the lack of real promotion of the game by the FAI, I thought it was quite a decent crowd, and they were very, very enthusiastic. And anyone I spoke to after the game enjoyed the game.
“It was a good tactical battle in the first half. Derry were quite conservative in their approach.
"There was a fear there in respect of Keith Fahey and Killian Brennan and [Greg] Bolger in the middle of the field, and Chris Forrester, Conan Byrne.
“But once they lost the goal Derry came out and showed, with the young players they have, they showed they’d a lot of ability and a lot of skill."
Kerr also also expressed surprise at Collins claim that Luton Town manager John Still felt none of the players on show would make his League Two challengers side.
“If the manager of Luton – and they are doing well, they’re in second place in division four – thinks there isn’t a player good enough, I don’t think his judgement is very good, because, for me, there were plenty of players on the pitch who could play at a higher level that League of Ireland and could easily cope with the lower divisions in England," said Kerr.
“Keith Fahey would have no problem playing at that level. Neither would Greg Bolger, on yesterday’s display. From a Derry point of view, Barry McNamee, when he came on, still a young player; Patrick McEleaney; Sean Hoare, centre-back for Pat's, who I thought had an excellent game yesterday ... there are a lot more players like that around the league, who can play at a higher level in the future.
“If you look at our current international team, so many players involved in it who have come through the League of Ireland: Wes Hoolahan, David Meyler, James McCLean, Stephen Quinn [and you can add] Stephen Ward, the goalkeeper David Forde, Daryl Murphy, Shane Long and Kevin Doyle to that.
"They’re all playing a part in our current international team and their grounding was in this league.”