Last season, Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan blooded a batch of players for their first full season in senior football, but now youngsters like Luke Byrne, Michael Barker and Lopes are more established at this level.
They had to settle for a point yesterday in front of a Bank Holiday crowd of 2,800, even though Rovers played for an hour with only 10 men as defender Derek Foran was sent off in the first half. But for Lopes it was a point gained and a point proved.
"We showed our battling qualities and proved that we won't keel over this season," Lopes told the Herald after the 0-0 draw.
"We are definitely more experienced this season. We had a very bad start to the league last year; we went five games without a win or a goal, so to start off like this, getting a good point against a very good Rovers side, proves that we will stand up and compete.
"From a defensive point of view we're happy to get a clean sheet. Given that they had 10 men for most of the game maybe we could have nicked a win but we will take a point," said Lopes.
Yesterday's game was a tight affair with lots of huff and puff and lots of work for the referee – six players booked and another, Rovers defender Foran, sent off, but not too many clear-cut chances.
"It was a real derby game, you had two groups of committed players with lots of challenges. It was a scrappy game as well, maybe a draw was fair in the end," added Lopes.
Bohs started very brightly, with left-back Luke Byrne looking more and more impressive as the game went on. Rovers did have some half-chances, with Pat Sullivan firing over the bar and Karl Sheppard forcing a save from Dean Delany, while at the other end Keith Buckley was narrowly wide after he got on the end of a Ryan McEvoy free-kick.
The game turned in the home side's favour on 36 minutes when Foran was dismissed, his foul on Karl Moore his second bookable offence.
But Rovers regrouped and refused to allow the one-man advantage to count for Bohs, and it took The Gypsies until far into the second half to get more of a grip on the game. Former Rovers player Moore almost caught out Hoops keeper Barry Murphy with a stunning shot on 68 minutes.
With the arrival of sub Ciaran Kilduff, Rovers tried to force an opening, Shane Robinson getting in a shot on 76 minutes which was blocked by Dwayne Wilson.
Rovers boss Trevor Croly, having seen his side play the second of three successive Dublin derbies, came away pleased with the point.
"I was happy with the endeavour and the effort. I thought it was a poor game. I thought the surface was really poor and how can you play on it?
"It was very disappointing because there was one shot in the game that I can remember, that was Barry (Murphy) making a save. It's not good enough," said Croly.