Team News ahead of Tuesday’s crucial FAI Cup semi final replay:
Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup semi final replay
Tuesday Oct 10th 2017. Kick off 7.45pm
Speaking to shamrockrovers.ie today was Shamrock Rovers head coach, Stephen Bradley:
“A game like that, sandwiched in between two big games, we could easily have slipped up but I thought we were really professional in how we approached it. The attitude from the lads was top class. I think our performance up there earlier on in the season helped us with that because we knew we’d disappointed ourselves and our fans so that was something we wanted to put right. We did OK first half without scoring or creating too much, we had a few long range shots. We knew in the second half we would create some chances.
The first goal was something we spoke about at half-time and we’d worked on the day before, getting runners off the ball to hurt the defence. We knew that was an area of weakness for them. So it was good to see that clever run by Brandon Miele and then his awareness to wait for Ronan Finn to come and play him in was excellent. A lot of players would go and try to beat the keeper but it was a great decision. Good players understand each other, they read each other very early and they’re both outstanding. You just get Brandon anywhere from goal, central or 30 yards out, left or right foot, he’s a threat and he’s as good as anyone in the country.”
“We’ve a few knocks that we need to look at, like we did when we played Drogheda on Saturday. Trevor Clarke was probably 40% fit when he played up in Oriel Park. He played through the pain barrier and got through most of the game but I think you could tell that he was struggling with injury. The same with Roberto Lopes and Lee Grace, I’d say they were 40 or 50% fit last week. They’re doing a lot better and hopefully they’ll be fine for tomorrow.
Aaron Bolger is still with the Ireland Under 19s. We’re speaking to Tom Mohan at the moment to see if we can work something out between us but right now he’s unavailable. Dave McAllister (suspended) is a miss for us because he’s been excellent this year. But we have to play without him and I believe we’ve got the quality and strength in depth to deal without any player. We’ve seen that this year when Graham Burke got injured and the group has just re-organised and pushed on.
It’s great to get Sean Boyd back because it’s been a frustrating year for him. He missed a lot of it earlier on in the season because of his shoulder surgery. He was getting back and then he had to go and get more treatment on his groin area so he was out for another 10 weeks. He’s missed a lot of football but we at the club know how good Sean has been and will be for us going forward.”
“As a player, the FAI Cup final is the showcase of the season. You want to be involved in it, to walk out on that pitch, wear the jersey and put your chest out. It’d be a massive achievement for us to play in the Aviva but we’ve got a tough came to overcome first. I’ve said all year that head to head, there’s not been much between the teams, us and Dundalk, Cork and Derry. I can’t see it being any different on Tuesday, I think it’s going to be a close game and hopefully we come out on top.
We play on the edge, with a tempo and a physicality that other teams don’t like. You need to have that about you, if you don’t then good teams will walk all over you. We didn’t do that in the first 25 minutes in Oriel Park, we stood off them and let them play. There’s no doubt they were good but we were poor. But after that we raised our game, especially in the second half when I thought we were much better. We want to carry that on into Tuesday. I believe the group is in a good place and we’re ready.
It’s a massive game, we know what it means to the club. To us and the fans. I think you saw by the response the lads gave in the second half in Dundalk, they understand how important it is. One of the things I wanted to change when I came here was that I wanted players to play for the jersey, to play for Shamrock Rovers for the right reasons. I fully believe this squad does that. It’ll be no different tomorrow night, we’ll give everything. If it’s good enough or not, we’ll see on the night but there’s no doubt they will leave everything on the pitch.”