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Sunday 17 November 2019

This must be a stepping stone

Finn insists Rovers can't waste Cup final success

Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers celebrates following his side’s FAI Cup Final victory over Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium
Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers celebrates following his side’s FAI Cup Final victory over Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium

The celebrations will continue for a few more days as the Shamrock Rovers camp enjoy having the FAI Cup in their possession after a long, long absence.

But already the Hoops have set themselves a target of getting the better of Dundalk in the league title race as well as the one-off that is an FAI Cup final.

Sunday's win over Dundalk, on penalties, was greedily welcomed by Rovers but the final league table shows an 11-point gap between the clubs and for Rovers captain Ronan Finn, that has to change if his club are to be seen as a serious outfit.

"This has to be the stepping stone to go and win. You can't be just happy with this and then fall behind them again," says Finn, who rejoined Rovers from Dundalk at the start of the 2017 season.

"They're a really top side, all credit to Dundalk, they've been brilliant this season in the league. We've got to catch them.

"We've won 23 games this season. Out of the last six seasons, three times that would have been enough, so we're not a million miles off.

"It's as simple as not dropping sloppy points next season, because Dundalk don't seem to do it. It's not going to be easy because they're a really good side and we've just got to keep going.

"The manager has been brilliant. He's got fantastic players in, we're building. Over the winter, it's a case of 'Can we strengthen, can we get stronger, can we just bridge the gap?'

"It's not going to be easy, but I'd back us, I think we're going places.

"It's not about playing beautiful football or better football because they won the league.

"But we can play. We've got to believe in what we do, don't change our game for anybody. We didn't on Sunday and we've got to keep believing. That's all we can do - they're a good side but we've got to catch them."

Finn picked up the second FAI Cup winner's medal of his career on Sunday but he has been on the other side too, a beaten finalist with Dundalk in 2016, so he knows the pain of losing as well as the joy of success.

"I wasn't alive the last time the club won it," Finn says of the Rovers win.

"It was a monumental day for us. The club has been starved of this for too long, and as players we've been building towards it and hopefully now this is a stepping stone.

"Cork did it a couple of years ago - beat Dundalk and then went on to win the league. We have to do something similar to catch them,

"It will hurt them. No one likes losing a cup final," he added. "Hopefully this gives us the boost going into next season, it's all about momentum. Come next season, they'll be strong, we understand that. But we've got to catch them."

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