WRITTEN BY: PAUL O'HEHIR
RICHARD DUNNE once said he'd consider finishing his career at Shamrock Rovers. And Simon Madden and Stephen Bradley are praying the
The trio are all Tallaght born and bred and with the doors of the new stadium now open wide, the sense of community is strong.
After years of hype and false dawns, the Tallaght Stadium factor is gradually beginning to reap its rewards for Shamrock Rovers.
The stadium situated is in the heartland of a football-mad community inspiring a whole new group of youngsters.
"Even when I first saw the stadium going up I never thought I'd be playing here," said Madden.
"I was in the school in Old Bawn and I used to see trucks over there working." Dunne may or may not stay true to his word but Bradley for one feels such a transfer would really put Rovers on the map.
The gifted midfielder said: "I know it would be years down the line but if we got someone like him you could imagine all the kids.
"They'd be saying 'maybe we could push on and play instead of going down other routes'. "I think Rovers definitely have the best opportunity of any club in the league to really push on for years - not just two, three or four years but to be much stronger in 10 or 15 years time.
"Everyone knows the league hasn't got great publicity over the last year or two. I suppose it's just tied in with everything - the money is just hitting everything.
"But it's great to have a good news story and to see full-houses here.
Every time we go out there it's a full-house. We played Kildare in the League Cup and no disrespect to them but we got 1500 for that game. There are clubs that won't get that at a top game." Coming from Tallaght, the two see the value of having an established club bedding into the community.
Neither Bradley nor Madden had that on their doorstep growing up.
Bradley, 24, went to Arsenal as a youngster and Madden, 20, was at Leeds United.
Both reckon it's in Rovers best interest to snare the next generation of Tallaght youngster.
Bradley added: "We should be looking at kids who don't go away at 16 or 17. A lot of kids who don't go away at that age, people think they're not good enough. Maybe they're just late developers.
"I think that's where this club could really tap into things. There are a lot of players around Tallaght who don't go away and this club could get them and bring them in and look after them." For now though, both players have their attention fixed on tonight's home game with Bray Wanderers after a run of five games unbeaten has propelled them up to fourth.
And Madden has paid tribute to new boss Michael O'Neill."Michael lets us get it down and play. But it's still going to take time.
Bradley added: "We're not saying we'll win the league but we need to push on and try to win something."