Finn and Rovers aiming to call a halt to Dundalk’s unbeaten run

Meeting of the top two at Tallaght could have a significant bearing on the title race

Ronan Finn: Shamrock Rovers captain  will face his former club  Dundalk at Tallaght  Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ronan Finn: Shamrock Rovers captain will face his former club Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Ronan Finn has stressed that, regardless of the result, tonight’s visit of champions Dundalk to Tallaght Stadium for a top-of-the-table clash will not define Shamrock Rovers’ season.

Catapulted clear at the summit on the back of 11 wins from their last 12 unbeaten games, Dundalk would open up an eight-point lead over Rovers, who’ve dropped five points in their last two outings, should they beat their rivals.

“Yes, of course, it’s a big game for us, a big occasion for the club in the context of league standings at the moment, first v second,” said Rovers captain Finn, a two-time title winner in his spell at Dundalk.

“If we win the season is far from over; a draw, it’s far from over. If we did lose . . . we’d feel we’re still in it. We want to go and get three points and reel them in a little, but, even if we do [lose], the season is far from over. There’s still a lot of football to play.”

Despite a slow start, Finn knew his former club, with the depth of squad and personnel in it, were always going to find their rhythm.

“They have that bit of experience, that they’ve been there over the last few years and they were never going to drop off or fall away, they were always going to come good.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve dropped points, but we haven’t been playing terribly. Now, we need to get back to winning games. Tonight is a great game to do it in, but it’s going to be far from easy. We know Dundalk are a top side and we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them.”

Despite their two most recent results, Finn feels Rovers are in good fettle themselves.

“We’ve been playing a really good brand of football this season, we’ve scored some goals, defensively we’ve been very good,” said the 31-year-old midfielder.

“We’ve had a couple of slip-ups of late, the defeat to Bohs, the draw to Derry, but we’re still full of confidence.

New signings

“That’s not dented, we know who we are. We know we can play and we’re going to try to play football, create chances, and we’ve got players who can hurt them.”

New signings from UCD Gary O’Neill and Neil Farrugia are not eligible to play until next Friday while fellow midfielders Aaron McEneff and Sam Bone remain out injured.

Suspended defenders Dean Jarvis and Daniel Cleary miss out for Dundalk while return signing Andy Boyle can’t feature until next Friday.

Ahead of their respective visits to Waterford and UCD tonight, Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic yesterday announced friendlies against Europa League winners Chelsea.

Bohemians will face the Premier League giants, in what will be their new manager’s first game in charge, at Dalymount Park on Wednesday July 10th with St Patrick’s hosting the London club at Richmond Park three days later.

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