Stephen Bradley gave www.shamrockrovers.ie his team news ahead of Friday’s big game at Tallaght Stadium:
On the 1-0 win in Dundalk:
I thought were were excellent. The first five minutes Dundalk should have scored, Tomer made a great save, but after that I thought we were really good. We managed the game really well. We outfought them, we showed we were fitter and stronger and then we outplayed them. I thought we beat them in every department.
Gary Shaw was excellent all day, apart from a really good goal. He opened up really well on the edge of the box against a good defender, one on one with the keeper and didn’t panic, he just slotted it in and it was a great finish. Graham Burke was outstanding again. He was unplayable at times. I think they were doing their best to kick him and get him sent off but he kept his cool. He kept playing his game and ran the game really.
Obviously Ronan Finn was suspended but the big challenge for us was the two days’ travel. Knowing that Dundalk had the day extra after playing and recovering, and then our flight was delayed coming home. So with all of that in my mind when we were sitting in the Czech Republic I was thinking this is all adding up in terms of fatigue. But we just stressed the importance of recovery, resting on theSaturday, fueling up and getting ready to go. I thought it’s a credit to the players to see how they could perform on Sunday in terms of how professional and how fit they looked.
It was a great feeling (in the dressing room afterwards). A lot of tired bodies, they put a lot into Thursday, especially in the second half and a lot into Sunday. The lads were obviously delighted, they knew it was a big win. They weren’t surprised because we’ve beaten them already this season and we knew that we had it in us to go and do it again.
I think that win shows where this group is going. I think if anyone has watched us from the start of the season and now they see the difference in us in terms of what we’re producing. Leading into the end of the season with a lot of big games and next season, that will only get better with time because the lads will become more accustomed to what we’re trying to do and become fitter and stronger, and totally understand how to manage games.
It’s always a big game but it’s massive because we’ve beaten them three times this year and it would be good to go and do it four times and have a clean sweep for the season. It’s one as a player you’ve got a chance to put yourself in that bracket that the fans will look back at in a few years and remember we beat them four times that year.
And how nice would it be to be one of those players to say I was part of that squad. I find when you come into the stadium and the photos that I was a part of where we went and achieved things, it’s only when you look back and say ‘how good was it to be part of that squad?’ That we did this, we won that. For a player to be able to say we did a clean sweep over Bohs in one season would be massive in a few years for them.
But we know we’ve got to come and mentally be in the right frame of mind and respect them. Bohs are going to come and be dangerous and give it everything. It’s their cup final. We’ve got to make sure it’s our cup final as well, we’ve got to meet them head on. I watched them against Derry, it’s hard when you’re watching them against other teams because you know they’re always different against us. They raise their game against us. So we’ve got to go and make sure we raise our levels and be ready to go and match them head on and go further again.
Since we’ve been back from the break we’ve been excellent. This group will be stronger in time and with a bit of patience. I think the fans have been brilliant in giving us that and there’s more to come from them. I expect a big crowd. Away in Europe we bring great support, away in Dundalk straight after Europe, anywhere we’ve been this year whether we’ve won, drawn or lost the fans have been different class. I think they’ve seen that we’ve made mistakes and lost games but this group are giving everything for them. Once you give that the fans will respect that.
New Signings & Injuries
Hopefully the two lads from Collinstown (Dean Carpenter and Darren Clarke) get done this week and we have one or two in from England as well so we’re hoping to get one or two of them done by the end of the week. Tim Linthorst is a good lad but he’s not for us. We want to improve our squad so Tim went home and we have another boy in from England to have a look at. Danny Devine and Paul Corry are still out. Ronan Finn got a knock on his calf last Thursday so we’ll have to see how he is in training tomorrow.