Team News ahead of Friday night’s big game at Tallaght Stadium.
Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Friday Feb 23rd 2018. Kick off 8pm
Speaking ahead of tonight’s big game Stephen Bradley said:
“From the 70th minute on we got sloppy in everything we did and it cost us. Up until then we’d controlled a really bad game, with no good football or any great quality, but controlled the type of game it was. It was a second ball game, kick and rush. We looked comfortable and then for 10 minutes we lost concentration and gave away three terrible goals.
It’s very easy for people to turn around and say you should play football, to do this or that but anyone who has played in those [derby] games knows what they are. I can’t remember the last Bohs game that’s been a good football match. We knew looking at the pitch and the night it was, exactly what it was going to be. If we’d managed the game from 70 to 80 minutes right we win the game comfortably but we didn’t.
At 1-0 up we should see the game out because they did nothing to open us up or hurt us. We were sloppy and got punished. The set pieces were really frustrating because it’s something we’ve been good at for a long time now, we put it right midway through last season. And when we watched the game back, the players know the goals we gave away are not acceptable. If someone cuts you open and plays good football you take it but these were schoolboy goals and really poor.
Afterwards there were strong words said [by the players in the dressing room]. You’re beaten 3-1, and to make it worse it’s against Bohs in the first game of the season, of course there are heated arguments. But that’s football and that’s what you want. You want them to be accountable for their mistakes.
The first game was a hard one for some of them. The ball was up in the air and Joel needs it to his feet to go and play. Ally moved to left-back at late notice but I thought they [the debutants] did well and they’ll be fine going forward. Ethan was good defensively and Greg’s positioning was excellent. It was tight between Tomer Chencinski and Kevin Horgan but Kevin has earned that in my opinion. He’s been good all pre-season and trained really well. No one in the team is guaranteed to play and I think all the lads know that.
Hopefully we’ll have Sean Kavanagh cleared to play tomorrow. Trevor Clarke is still suspended and we’ll have to wait and see on Ronan Finn (calf). It’s going to be a late call but he’s getting better, it’s been a big improvement from last Friday to today.
Dundalk have been in the top two for the last five years. They’re a good team with good players so we know it’s going to be a really tough game. It’s two teams that play with a high intensity with and without the ball. But I think we showed last year that when we’re at our levels we’re more than a match for anyone in this league. We need to be right at it on Friday to give them a proper game, and we will be, we need to respond from last week because we know it wasn’t acceptable. We need to bring our maximum all over the pitch.
That people are talking about a rivalry between ourselves, Dundalk and Cork shows how far this group has come in the space of one season. It took Cork and Dundalk four years to build that rivalry. It’s a credit to the squad and we need to remember that as a club that we’re still building to try and get to where those two are. It’s great that people are talking about us like that, it shows the progress that we’ve made in a short space of time.
Dan Cleary trained with us and we really liked him. Unfortunately we couldn’t get something done in the end and he obviously went and signed for Dundalk. He’s a good kid with a good attitude. If he plays, he plays, we know where’s strong and we know where he’s weak because we’ve seen him up close.
We’re looking forward to it. If you saw the dressing room afterwards in Dalymount we probably would have wanted a game the next day to try and put it right because that was the feeling in the dressing room. We’re just really looking forward to walking out [in Tallaght] and that it’s Dundalk at home makes it a really big game for us.”