Belfast Telegraph

I'm determined to finally beat Dundalk, says Linfield ace Bastien Hery

 

Cup fever: (from left) Linfield ace Bastien Hery, Pat Jennings and Dundalk’s Chris Shields attend the Unite the Union Champions Cup launch yesterday
Cup fever: (from left) Linfield ace Bastien Hery, Pat Jennings and Dundalk’s Chris Shields attend the Unite the Union Champions Cup launch yesterday
Referee Stephanie Frappart

By Graham Luney

Linfield midfielder Bastien Hery says he's relishing a crack at Dundalk in the new Unite the Union Champions Cup next month.

Hery, a product of the Paris St-Germain youth academy, played for five seasons in England before moving to Limerick and then Waterford.

"The standard of football in both leagues is close because it's different teams and players, but I'm really looking forward to this game because I always wanted to beat Dundalk," said the former Rochdale, Carlisle United and Accrington Stanley ace.

"I haven't managed to do that yet but this time we will aim to do that. It's a big challenge, but similar to the two games you play in Europe, and we have that experience to draw on.

"There's a great mentality in the Linfield dressing room. The players want to win every game and that's why everyone was feeling down after the league defeat to Crusaders. We are hungry to win and it will be the same attitude in this competition."

The Danske Bank Premiership champions will take on SSE Airtricity Premier Division kings Dundalk in the first ever Unite the Union Champions Cup clash.

The two sides will face each other in a two-legged tie, with the first leg taking place on Friday, November 8 at Windsor Park and the return leg at Dundalk's Oriel Park on Monday, November 11.

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Linfield will receive €25,000 (£21,617) just for competing in the game, as will Dundalk, with the winners receiving an additional €25,000 in sponsorship money from trade union Unite.

Another €25,000 will be awarded to both teams, with Linfield's ring-fenced for community-based projects in the Belfast area to encourage growth.

It is the first time teams from the north and south will compete against each other in a competitive cross-border competition since the Setanta Sports Cup ended in 2014.

Dundalk midfielder Chris Shields said: "I think it's a brilliant initiative between the two leagues. I was always a fan of the Setanta Cup as a supporter, and then when I got the chance to play we lost in the final.

"But the games were exciting and Windsor is a brilliant venue. I was there the night Linfield played Qarabag and any player would relish playing in a stadium like this.

Tournament ambassador Pat Jennings added: "Money is going back into communities in the north and south in the areas where the clubs are based, and it's always nice to see football used in that way.

"I've been involved with Co-operation Ireland for nearly 30 years. This game has given me so much and I always like to give something back.

"Hopefully this tournament will last and we can get rid of some of the hatred we see today in football. There's no room for racism or sectarianism. Football can unite us all."

Fifa have agreed that all four officials for the second leg at Oriel Park will be female, with Stephanie Frappart refereeing.

The 35-year-old became the first woman to referee a major men's European match when she took charge of the 2019 Uefa Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea earlier this year in Istanbul.

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