Cabinteely FC are joining the SSE Airtricity League for the long haul according to vice-chairman Pearse Toal, but the addition has already drawn criticism.

The league’s newest club was confirmed yesterday, replacing Shamrock Rovers B in the First Division after being awarded a licence, pending completed paperwork.

Cabinteely will play their home matches at Blackrock Rugby’s Stradbrook ground.

Toal told RTÉ Sport: “We're really excited about it. We're a little bit daunted but very excited. We've been around a while, 50 years, it took us a while to get here but now we are here.

“We intend to be around for a long, long time. We'll start off small with reasonable expectations of what we can do in the first number of years. We'll start off slow and build on the success of the underage club.

“There are 950 members playing at all levels. We'll leverage off that. We've done it as a schoolboy side and we'll continue to do the same.

“We have some very good football people involved. Eddie Gormley is on board. Eddie knows the ins and out from all his experience. We will have a squad in place. It'll be a mix of (players currently with the club and outside).

“It has been a natural progression, particularly over the last 10 years. We probably formulated and started discussions on this about 18 months ago to two years. We are not in it for the short-term whatsoever.”

However, Soccer Republic analyst Alan Cawley believes the south Dublin club could struggle in a division that is notoriously difficult to prosper in.  

Cawley said: “It's not so much the question marks I have over them. If they are showing the ambition to get involved, then good luck to them, I wish them well on that. It's more so from the league.

“We have the longest close-season in Europe - four months - which I think is ridiculous. The league has had every opportunity - the word before Christmas was that Shamrock Rovers B were probably going to drop out of the league.

“Even if it has only been a month or two months ago, they've had time to get a team in place or a structure in place for the First Division. It seems to me they are trying to fill a gap, like they did with the Shamrock Rovers thing. There is no long-term view as usual. There is no strategy in place. It's filling a gap so the league makes up eight teams and obviously the league goes a lot better with eight rather than seven.  

“It is a third team on the south side (with UCD and Bray Wanderers). UCD get no fans. Bray Wanderers struggle to get people to the matches. Who is going to watch Cabinteely? No disrespect to them, but who is going to watch Cabinteely against UCD? There’ll be nobody at the matches.  Are they going to bring something new and fresh? It remains to be seen.

“If you were a First Division chairman, and I include all the clubs in this, what incentive do they have to be pumping money into the club?”

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