Stephen Bradley praised the bravery of his players as they dominated champions Dundalk from start to finish during a 2-1 win at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. During the first half, Rovers showed pace, guile and confidence that their game had bee
Stephen Bradley praised the bravery of his players as they dominated champions Dundalk from start to finish during a 2-1 win at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
During the first half, Rovers showed pace, guile and confidence that their game had been missing for large parts of the season so far. Dundalk arrived in Dublin needing a win to keep their title hopes alive but they were met with a young side that has the potential to eventually dominate the league as their opponents have for the last three years.
Ronan Finn has had a slow start to his second spell at Tallaght Stadium but he was excellent against his former team and opened the scoring after some good work by Simon Madden. David McAllister then scored a headed effort to give Rovers a 2-0 lead going into the break. In previous games, Rovers may have thrown away such an advantage but this time they showed bravery to close out the game during the second half.
“I thought overall Ronan was unbelievable; his energy from the first minute set the tone for us for the whole game,” Bradley said after the game. “I thought the players were really brave because we spoke about last week (conceding a last minute equaliser against Limerick) and conceding late on, and the reason why was because we dropped too deep for the whole of the second half. At half time, we said no matter what happens stay high and press them high.”
Luke Byrne returned to the fold against Limerick after missing the last year with a cruciate injury. Trevor Clarke has been deputising at left back for Byrne this season but he got to play higher up the pitch against Dundalk, and he was probably the best player on the pitch.
“Lukey is a top pro and a top professional. Somebody who has been out over a year and can come back and play at that level against John Mountney, who in my opinion is one of the best wingers in the league, just shows how well he has looked after himself when he has been away.
“That allows us to free up Trevor, who I think at one stage ran by three players like they were statues - and they’re big strong men. That just shows you what this kid has in his locker,” Bradley concluded.