Dundalk suffer another big blow as Rovers unveil Ronan Finn

The 28-year-old playmaker will make a surprise return to Tallaght Stadium for the 2017 season.

Ronan Finn was named man of the match following Dundalk's defeat to Cork City in last month's FAI Cup final.
Ronan Finn was named man of the match following Dundalk's defeat to Cork City in last month's FAI Cup final.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated at 13.39

IT HAS ALREADY been a busy few weeks for Shamrock Rovers in the transfer market but the Hoops have unveiled their most significant new addition today.

A press conference took place this afternoon at Tallaght Stadium where Rovers confirmed Ronan Finn as their latest signing and his appointment as club captain.

Manager Stephen Bradley described the midfielder as “one of the best players in the league,” while Finn added: “I’m coming back as a better player and I want to be successful here.”

Finn, who was a Premier Division winner during his previous spell at Rovers, departed Tallaght for Dundalk in 2014. The 28-year-old has been a key player for the Lilywhites in the meantime, but his contract expired at the end of the 2016 season.

Finn impressed throughout this year, during which he helped Dundalk to win their third consecutive Premier Division title. The Dubliner started in 11 of their 12 games in the Champions League and Europa League this season. His campaign concluded with a man-of-the-match display in the FAI Cup final defeat to Cork City.

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The former UCD and Sporting Fingal midfielder isn’t the only player making the move from Dundalk to Tallaght for 2017. Stephen Bradley’s side have already announced the capture of Darren Meenan from Oriel Park. The Hoops have also added the likes of Roberto Lopes, David McAllister, Ryan Connolly and Paul Corry to their squad for next season.

Following a hugely successful season, which saw them become the first Irish team to taste victory in the group stages of a European competition, Dundalk are subsequently finding it difficult to retain their top performers.

Ronan Finn Ronan Finn during his previous spell with Shamrock Rovers. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle have left for Preston North End in the English Championship. St Patrick’s Athletic defender Sean Hoare is the only new arrival for Stephen Kenny’s side so far. In an interview with the Dundalk Democrat, Kenny said yesterday that more departures are likely.

“We’re in negotiations with a few players but it’s a very strong possibility that we’ll lose players to other clubs, maybe in the UK and the League of Ireland. It’s something we’ll have to contend with,” Kenny said.

“Success can change people,” he continued. “People start thinking about their jobs and their life outside of football and they start to look at other factors. From my point of view, we have to look and see why we were so successful and one of the reasons for that is that we don’t take shortcuts or we don’t compromise.

“When I was in my first year at Dundalk we turned down players because they wouldn’t come and train here. We might lose a few quality players but we won’t compromise or change our way of thinking.”

Ronan Finn will have the opportunity to play Europa League football again next season after Shamrock Rovers finished fourth — 22 points behind champions Dundalk — in 2016.

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Paul Dollery

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