Rovers are back at Tallaght Stadium for the first of two consecutive home games starting with Derry City on Friday night.
Shamrock Rovers v Derry City
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Friday March 9th 2018. Kick off 8pm
The team will be lead out by a colour party from the 7th Battalion, based at the barracks in Rathmines, who are proud to support the Tallaght community and Shamrock Rovers F.C.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, Hoops Head Coach, Stephen Bradley said:
“It was obviously the right decision (to call off last week’s games) and it was good that the League made the decision so early as well. The week gave us all a chance to plan and not be panicking to try and get training venues and everything else. We knew we had a lot of games come the start of the season, in the first 10-12 weeks and this obviously piles another one in midweek. But it’s no problem, we get on with it.
I live in Kildare and we were basically snowed in, like most of Tallaght and in and around Dublin, we couldn’t get out for 4 or 5 days. It was great for 2 or 3 days and then it’s like, let’s go, you want to get back to work. We found an indoor dome out in Santry which has been brilliant, it’s allowed us to get some good work in and train properly. But no excuses because we didn’t miss much in terms of work, we had the Monday game last week.
I don’t think Bray was our best performance overall, we’ve lost games here and played better. What was pleasing for me was last year when we had teams there ready to be beaten 3 or 4-0 we didn’t take it and we ended up winning 1-0 and having a nervous last 5 minutes. Whereas on Monday we recognised that we had a team that were on the ropes and we went and punished them and really hurt them and we looked like we wanted to score more than six.
That’s what you have to do, you have to be ruthless so that showed a maturity in the group. And our back five looked hungry not to concede a goal. When you get 4 or 5 up you can get complacent so that was a positive. Clean sheets is an area we needed to strengthen from last year, we know that. If you want to win games you have to be able to keep clean sheets, you can’t be expected to score 2 or 3 goals every game and we didn’t do enough of that last year. It’s something we looked at and wanted to improve massively. We wanted to be stronger at the back and be harder to break down, to stay focused and concentrated for 90 minutes.
Our squad is smaller in numbers than it has been for a number of years but I believe that the quality throughout the squad is the strongest we’ve had and that showed against Bray. We had a tough game against Dundalk on the Friday and then we changed it up on the Monday and didn’t look weaker for it. I think that showed that there’s nothing between the players in a lot of positions. Our age profile is young. It’s not something we look at and think ‘we have to have young players’. When we look at a player we look at the whole package, what fits this club and what we’re trying to do, whether he’s 32 or 22. If he’s the right fit he’s the right fit.
Hopefully Dan Carr will become a fan’s favourite if he keeps his head down because the ability is there. You saw how calm he was in front of goal. We’re trying to get him to stop doing the back flips because he’s doing them all the time in training and we’re afraid he’ll injure himself! He just has to work hard and understand that scoring one goal isn’t one enough here, you have to repeat it and repeat it throughout the season. Sean Kavanagh has been brilliant since he came in. He played three positions on Monday and it was no problem to him. His free kick was top class as well. He’ll be a big player for us this year.
Derry will come and play like they always do. They’re an attacking threat. They can cause problems going forward but we believe we can go and hurt them. We’re a better team than we were last year and if we play to our levels we’ve got everything to go and win the game.
A lot of teams last year would have looked at us and said they can hit us on the break. I don’t think they can say the same this year. I know it’s only early but we have different attributes to our team now. We’ll be ready for whatever game plan Derry come with.
You can read a lot into results but the games between us really could have gone either way last year. When they won 2-0 here it was one of our best performances for 60 minutes, how we dominated the game, we were excellent at times but we just weren’t ruthless at both ends and got punished. I think we’re more efficient at both ends of the pitch now.
I think outside of Cork, everyone has started OK if you look at the points. We don’t get carried away when we win or lose, we’ll wait and see where we are in the last round of games.
We know it’s a big six weeks coming up so we’ve got to prepare right. Ronan Finn is fine, he’s trained the last three days and he’s back at it and ready to go. He could have played against Dundalk and Bray, he wants to play every game. It was us holding him back because it was so early in the season and too big a risk to have him out for 3 months rather than 2 games.
Joey O’Brien is in full training so it’s a full squad other than Greg Bolger, we’ll have to wait until Thursday to have a look at him and get the doctor’s opinion on it.”