David Healy would study All-Island League plan but 'loves the league we're in'

Dundalk's Chris Shields battles with Linfield's Andrew Waterworth at Oriel Park
Linfield proved no match for Dundalk at Oriel Park on Monday night

Linfield boss David Healy says he will study any concrete proposals for a future All-Island League but insists that he "loves the league we're in".

Healy was speaking after Linfield's 6-0 defeat by Dundalk as the League of Ireland champions completed a 7-1 inaugural Champions Cup aggregate win.

Dundalk triumphed two weeks after the Irish FA ruled out sanctioning clubs to play in any proposed All-Island League.

"Personally, I'm happy where we are," said the Linfield boss.

"I will let the powers that be decide on that. Other people have their own opinions. Is it good, is it bad? I don't know until the contract is put in front of people.

"I love the league we're in. I'm sure the Irish guys that play in their own league love that league."

Dundalk skipper Brian Gartland receives the Champions Cup from Pat Jennings and Len McCluskey
Dundalk skipper Brian Gartland lifted the inaugural Champions Cup

'I picked the wrong team'

The Linfield manager attempted to shield his players from any blame for Monday's 6-0 thumping at the hands of what he described as a "rampant" Lilywhites.

"I picked the wrong team. Got the wrong selection. Made the wrong changes.

"They don't turn into a poor side and poor individual players overnight. I thought we were good to an extent on Friday night but tonight we got it wrong. That's on my head.

"We've seen how good Dundalk really are. If there is any positive we can take out of it tonight, it's the relentless pursuit of Dundalk to win trophies.

"They were sensational tonight and we were miles off it."

Healy makes no reference to pro-IRA chant

Despite a chastening night for his side as a heavy recent fixture programme appeared to catch up with them, Healy refused to be dismissive of the new competition and pointedly praised the reception his players and officials received from their Dundalk counterparts.

Some 30 minutes earlier, a pro-IRA chant had bellowed out from a tiny section of the home support as a Dundalk substitution was being made but if Healy had noticed the unpleasantness, he wasn't mentioning it in his post-match interviews.

"I've enjoyed coming down here. I've come down here as a neutral watching other teams and players and one thing that you always get is a good reception. You get well looked after.

"Dundalk are the benchmark for clubs - not only in Ireland down here, but the north [as well]."

A security operation on the night meant that Linfield fans had to travel to Oriel Park by bus but the warmth of the relationship between officials from both clubs was obvious as a presentation was made to Blues chairman Roy McGivern at half-time.