Team news from Stephen Bradley ahead of Sunday’s game away versus Finn Harps. The match is live on www.watchloi.ie at 19:45
Qst. What was the night like when the title was wrapped up?
“We were delighted. The players were obviously happy when we were in training the next day.”
Qst. What does being champions mean to you and the players?
“It’s something that had been our aim and something that we’d been building towards. The group have worked so hard to make it happen. For all the players and staff it’s a great reward for a lot of hard work so we’re delighted.”
Qst. Was the only downside that the players and fans couldn’t celebrate together?
“I think that’s been the only downside all year to be honest, that the fans weren’t able to support the players and watch them on a weekly basis. For us to go and win it and not to be able to be with the fans, that’s obviously a disappointing aspect of it but there’s nothing we can do. It is the way it is at the moment and I’m sure the time will come when we get to celebrate with them down the road.”
Qst. To win the league with four games to spare, did that show how good Rovers were all year?
“I think the players deserve tremendous credit for that. In an 18-game season I expected it to go right down to the wire. An 18-game season brings a lot of pressure because it means that you can’t slip up anywhere, there’s no margin for error. I think the players have been fantastic at handling that pressure and playing with that pressure and they got their rewards. To win it with four games left shows how ruthless they were.”
Qst. How disappointed was everyone that the Derry game was called off as we were about to be presented the league trophy?
“We’re disappointed but we’ve got to understand that first and foremost it’s about the Derry players and staff being healthy and OK. Yes we’re disappointed but they’ve just put it back a week and we’ll get the trophy on Wednesday, which is one we’re looking forward to.”
Qst. Rovers in the 1920s are only League of Ireland team to ever go a season unbeaten, is that the aim now?
“Definitely. We know it’s going to be hard. Finn Harps tomorrow will be a really tough game and the teams we have left to play are all fighting for points. They’ll be tough games but we believe if we perform to our levels that we can win all the games and that’s definitely the target of ours.”
Qst. Finn Harps are the in-form team at the moment and have a lot to play for. Will Ballybofey be an even tougher task than usual?
“It’s always a tough game up there and they’re playing well. We know it’ll be a difficult game but we feel that if we play at our levels we can take points in every game and tomorrow will be no different.”
Qst. Having gone a month without a game where do you think the team will be fitness wise?
“You’re never quite sure until you’re on the pitch. The players have obviously trained hard but until you get onto the pitch and you get the first 20 minutes under your belt you’re not sure where you are.”
Qst. How have Jack Byrne and Aaron Greene been recovering?
“They’ve been doing well and they’re back in training. They’re coming along well and they’ve been good.”
Qst. Graham Burke is suspended. Has Pico Lopes gotten over his injury?
“He’s getting there. He’s trained a bit, including today so he’s available for tomorrow.”
Qst. How are Greg Bolger and Rory Gaffney coming along?
“Greg is back running which is great. He’s had no complications so far so he’s getting there. Rory is a little bit longer.”