“The chance of a double doesn’t come around that often”

By Stephen Leonard

SHAMROCK Rovers captain Ronan Finn is urging his side to grab the opportunity of completing a league and cup double with both hands this weekend.

Having already landed the Airtricity League Premier Division title following an unbeaten run of 18 games in the 2020 competition, the Hoops are now one step away from also adding the FAI Cup to the cabinet as they gear up to face Dundalk in Sunday’s decider at the Aviva Stadium.

Rovers V Sligo 02 1

Aaron McEneff celebrates scoring for Shamrock Rovers in their FAI cup semi final against Sligo in Tallaght on Sunday

The match-up is a repeat of last season’s cup showpiece, and Finn is only too aware that the Lilywhites will have the bit between their teeth having lost out on penalties to the Tallaght side in that match-up.

“The chance of a double doesn’t come around that often and we’ve got to embrace that opportunity and grasp it” insisted Finn.

“The team is full of confidence and to do a double and record an unbeaten season would be an unbelievable achievement.

“But we know it’s going to be a tough final on Sunday against Dundalk and we’ll prepare for it the way we’ve always done over the last few years.

“They’re in the Europa League and they’re not there for no reason, so it just shows you the quality they have in their side.

Rovers V Dundalk ACTION 29 1

Ronan Finn is hoping to captain Rovers to a double

“We’ll have to play to that high level and have that edge in the final, because if we don’t, we can very easily get turned over” he stressed.

Certainly cup final defeat in 2019 is not the only fuel in the Dundalk fire ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

The Lilywhites were twice turned over by Stephen Bradley’s outfit in league competition, firstly suffering a thrilling 3-2 reversal at a packed Tallaght Stadium back in February before then shipping a heavy 4-0 defeat when they met again in September.

It was a 2-0 victory over Sligo Rovers last Sunday that propelled Rovers through to this year’s cup final, Aaron McEneff serving up a brace at Tallaght Stadium

The Hoops broke the deadlock with just under four minutes gone on the clock.

Fresh from his recent call-up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad, McEneff fired home from close-range after Liam Scales had headed a Jack Byrne corner on the right-flank towards the target.

The Derry native subsequently doubled the advantage in the closing moments of the opening period.

Trying his luck from long-distance, the former Tottenham Hotspur prospect fired beyond the reach of Sligo netminder Ed McGinty.

“Semi finals are not about performances, they’re really just about the result and getting in that final” said Finn.

“I thought we did enough on the day, but we never really got out of third gear” he added.

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