It was a relatively successful season in 2017 for Shamrock Rovers even though they tripped up with their own measure of success - lifting a trophy. Stephen Bradley has proved that he is one of the League's shrewdest new managers and he is only go
It was a relatively successful season in 2017 for Shamrock Rovers even though they tripped up with their own measure of success - lifting a trophy.
Stephen Bradley has proved that he is one of the League's shrewdest new managers and he is only going to get better with experience. But Rovers are a club that wants to win now and that brings a lot of pressure.
Some players showed that they can handle that pressure, such as Trevor Clarke, while the absence through injury - Luke Byrne, Gary Shaw, Graham Burke - hit them hard during critical periods of the campaign.
The season had its highs and lows, but Rovers should be pleased with the direction in which they are moving towards. Big things are on the horizon for them.
Star Player: Gary Shaw
Many people doubted whether the flame-haired frontman could make the step up from Longford Town to lead the line for the country's most successful club. He has done it in patches and when in form he was excellent last season.
What They Need For 2018
A knack of controlling games: Too many times last season Rovers allowed games to slip away from them. Three draws and four defeats at home in the League is something that they can definitely improve on and that starts with dominating games and dictating the tempo.
Sticking to a style of play: Bradley was hit hard with injuries, but it's time for his style of play to become evident. Once that happens the Rovers supporters will surely row in behind him because the team is very close to clicking as a truly exciting team to watch.
Realistic Targets For 2018
Top Three Finish: Narrowing the gap between themselves and the top two teams (if indeed Cork City and Dundalk set the pace again) must be a priority. Rovers need to grow as a team each season and the next step in that regard is by emerging as a title contender.
Cup Final Appearance: While they achieved this in 2017 by reaching the EA SPORTS Cup Final, Rovers ultimately fell short in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup. Getting to either Cup Final would be a significant milestone.
Best Signing Made So Far
Greg Bolger: There was an absence of a grizzled midfield general last term, so the signing of Bolger is a huge boost in that regard. He should be able to protect the backline, free up space for the creative players, and chip in with the odd burst forward.