Ronan Finn will play his final Shamrock Rovers game tomorrow. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Full Circle

Shamrock Rovers captain Ronan Finn confirms he's leaving club to rejoin UCD

The 42 also understands that Shelbourne captain Luke Byrne has been offered the position of assistant manager with the First Division club.

RONAN FINN HAS made the decision to leave Shamrock Rovers and return to UCD to finish his League of Ireland career.

The Hoops captain, who will lift the Premier Division trophy for the seventh time tomorrow night, has opted against remaining at Tallaght Stadium in order to further prepare himself for life after football.

Finn, who turns 36 next month and had the option of a new contract with the four-in-a-row champions, will instead drop down to the First Division and combine football with a two-year Masters’ course in Sports Management.

The Dubliner began his League of Ireland career with the Students before embarking on spells with Sporting Fingal, Dundalk and Rovers.

The 42 also understands that Shelbourne captain Luke Byrne has been offered the position of assistant manager, working alongside Willie O’Connor who will take over as head coach from Andy Meyler in 2024.

“I spoke to the manager here about it,” Finn said of his decision. “It’s something that’s exciting at my age, the opportunity to go back and do a Masters and finish where it all began.

“It started with a degree and now hopefully finishes with a Masters and everything in between. I’ve always been interested in going back to college anyway, but never knew when I could fit it in and when could you do it.

ronan-finn Finn in action for UCD back in 2006. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“This has kind of fallen into place. It was an incredibly difficult decision in a sense, but you also weigh everything up, your age, the opportunity.

“You are walking away from such a prestigious place here and what the club will be looking to achieve next year. But you also have to look down the line which is something I’ve always done in my career, working, playing here.

“Everything is angling towards life after football. This decision is no different.”

Rovers already confirmed that veteran goalkeeper Alan Mannus will leave the club after tomorrow’s final home game with Sligo Rovers, but Finn admitted that boss Stephen Bradley didn’t try and persuade him to stay once he knew what was on the table.

“The offer [to stay] was there. I spoke to the manager knowing the offer was already in place,” he explained.

“To be honest, when we spoke he was definitely surprised, but absolutely respectful. When we had a detailed discussion on it, it felt it was the right call as well in a sense of where I’m at in terms of age and what I want to do after football.

“Even going back to play for UCD, now is the time because I can still actually contribute and that’s what I want to do as well. Once you step across the white line you have that competitive edge and it never changes.

“All things considered, the manager was very respectful and appreciative of the decision I made.”

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