Kickoff in Tallaght Stadium is at 8pm. Get the last remaining tickets here. The match will be streamed live on LOITV.
It’s three weeks since we beat Shelbourne, recently we had two other breaks of two weeks which worked for us to some extent with players coming back from injury. Was this three-week break the last thing you wanted especially after that crucial win over Shels?
“I felt the Cork away game should’ve been played on the Monday after the Shels game and I still feel that way. I don’t understand why it wasn’t, the international break is the international break and there’s nothing you can do, but I was really disappointed we didn’t get to play that Monday. But it has given us a chance to have more training time with the players and get them ready for what will be a difficult end to the season.”
Skipper Ronan Finn chalked up his 400th appearance for Rovers in that Shels game. How impressive has it been that the stylish central midfielder completely reinvented himself as an all-action wing back and was it a big ask from you for him to do that?
“Ronan has to take a lot of credit in that scenario in terms of change of position. When we got him he was one of, if not the best central midfield player in the country. Ronan came in and saw how we were involved with the team and how we wanted to play, we had a good chat and he was all for it, he was the one pushing to go wing back as he understood it was for the greater good of the team. I think that sums up Ronan, his mentality and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the team. That’s why he’s our captain and has been an incredible player for this football club. So much of the credit has to go to Ronan.”
We have over 750 away tickets sold for next Monday’s game in Cork and our away allocation for St. Pat’s next Friday sold out very quickly already. The fans are really stepping up to roar the team to a huge prize this season.
“The fans have been incredible this season. They’ve supported us in their numbers, but more so when we’ve gone through sticky patches. They’ve been there, stayed with us, stayed with the group. The players and staff appreciate that as you need that backing throughout the season and they’ve given us that in bucketloads. Hopefully, we can finish the season strongly and they’ll be celebrating at the end of the year. But we have to stay focussed and that’s our aim and make sure that we give the fans something to celebrate.”
Drogheda are the opponents this weekend at Tallaght Stadium. They won here last time out and we’ve drawn the other games away with them this season. What has made them our bogey team this season?
“Drogheda are very efficient in the final third of the pitch, they’ve shown that and we saw it throughout the season. Kevin Doherty has done a brilliant job and they have a really honest and hard-working group of players and they have good quality in the final third. So we know it’s a difficult game and we have to be ruthless when we get our opportunities against Drogheda.”
Jack Byrne made his long-awaited return against Shelbourne three weeks ago. How did he come out of that return and have we any injuries to report for this weekend to add to Graham’s suspension for his red card against Shels?
“Seán Kavanagh has a knock so he’ll struggle. Jack Byrne has just had an operation so he’ll be out for the rest of the season. He came through the Shels game ok, but he felt the injury again in training so we sent him back to London and the surgeon wasn’t happy, so they’ve operated on him. To be fair to Jack, he did everything possible to get back on the pitch, most other players might have opted for the operation very early on. But Jack was adamant he wanted to get back on the pitch and help the team even though he knew in his heart that he wasn’t 100%. With a player of Jack’s quality you give him every opportunity to do that, but it got to a point he just couldn’t function properly so unfortunately he’s now out for the last games. Everyone else is fit and available.”