Shamrock Rovers lift Airtricity League trophy at Tallaght Stadium
Graham Burke guides the ball home for the equalising goal against Drogheda United in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Photos by Paddy Barrett

Shamrock Rovers lift Airtricity League trophy at Tallaght Stadium

There were joyous scenes in Tallaght Stadium this evening as Shamrock Rovers lifted the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy for the second season in succession.

Replicating the achievement of the club under Michael O’Neill exactly 10 years ago, the Hoops have claimed back-to-back top-flight crowns in considerable style. Thanks to their 2-1 victory against Drogheda United tonight – their 24th of the season – they finished 16 points clear of nearest challengers St Patrick’s Athletic in the final standings.

Rovers famously won four leagues on the bounce back in the 1980s and with some potentially lucrative pre-season friendlies in the pipeline, first-team boss Stephen Bradley is already putting plans in place for a shot at a third consecutive crown in 2022.

“We’re well down the road, we started that [planning for next year] some time ago. We’re well down the road with what we want and where we’re going. We’ve already got our games organised for pre-season. Hopefully I’ll get away for a few days, we’ll just see where this COVID situation takes us,” Bradley explained in advance of tonight’s game.

Graham Burke guides the ball home for the equalising goal against Drogheda United in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Photos by Paddy Barrett

“We’ve had a lot of clubs on from around Europe who want to play us. Whether we fly in there or they come here, it depends on the COVID scenario. We’ll wait and see. A lot of good teams have asked for games.”

Their status as a Premier Division outfit safely secured for another year, Drogheda threatened to spoil the party when a Mark Doyle penalty gave them a 1-0 interval lead. However, Rovers have been forced to dig deep on multiple occasions this year and did so once again in their final game of the term.

After getting his side back on level terms shortly after the resumption, Graham Burke shook the net with just two minutes remaining in the action to complete a perfect night for Rovers.

Shamrock Rovers captain Ronan Finn lifting the league trophy with his team mates in Tallaght Stadium

“We’ve had a lot of clubs on from around Europe who want to play us. Whether we fly in there or they come here, it depends on the COVID scenario. We’ll wait and see. A lot of good teams have asked for games.”

Their status as a Premier Division outfit safely secured for another year, Drogheda threatened to spoil the party when a Mark Doyle penalty gave them a 1-0 interval lead. However, Rovers have been forced to dig deep on multiple occasions this year and did so once again in their final game of the term.

After getting his side back on level terms shortly after the resumption, Graham Burke shook the net with just two minutes remaining in the action to complete a perfect night for Rovers.

While this game brought the curtain down on Joey O’Brien’s professional career – he is moving across the city to become Damien Duff’s assistant at Shelbourne – the Hoops began the day by announcing the re-signing of Jack Byrne.

Having comprehensively finished on top of the pile in the past two seasons, the return of the Manchester City prodigy further strengthens Bradley’s hand going forward.

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