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Dublin: 9°C Monday 26 October 2020

'We were unbelievable' - Bradley insists title race is still on after Dundalk loss

The Rovers boss was bullish after his side lost ground in a 1-0 defeat to the Champions.

Stephen Bradley.
Stephen Bradley.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS MANAGER Stephen Bradley insists that there remains a title race in the SSE Airtricty League after his second-placed side fell eight points behind Dundalk after a 1-0 defeat at home to the Champions. 

Rovers dominated vast tracts of the game at Tallaght, particularly in the first half, but ended up with nothing to show for their efforts as Sean Gannon scored a decisive goal 20 minutes from time. 

“100%” was Bradley’s response when asked  by The42 whether the race was still on. 

“It’s no problem, there are points left to play for. We won it here on the last day of the season [in 2010], beating Bohs on goal difference on the last day of the season.

“If that team perform like that they’ll be right there come the end of the year.” 

Rovers dominated much of the game, with Jack Byrne and Dylan Watts impressive in midfield, but were undone by Dundalk’s resolve and ruthlessness. Byrne crashed a shot against the crossbar in the first half, while Ronan Finn saw an effort blocked in front of the line by Dane Massey and substitute Aaron Greene spurned two late chances to equalise. 

“We’re frustrated and disappointed”, reflected Bradley. 

“We deserved to win the game but obviously we haven’t.

“There were six chances. You tell me the last team who created six chances against Dundalk.

“You need to take them. But there was nothing wrong with how we played and the chances we created. They had one chance and they took it.

“I thought we were unbelievable. I thought we dominated the game, we created chances, we were by far the best team. Yeah, we need to take one of them, but there were so many positives. It’s hard to take negatives from the game.

“We’re angry we’ve lost the game, but nobody can question that performance other than scoring a goal.” 

The most controversial moment of the game came on the hour mark, when Gary Rogers rushed from his goal and fouled Trevor Clarke as he was bearing down on goal. Referee Robert Harvey flashed a yellow card in Rogers’ direction as the stadium was cloaked in ambient howls for a red. 

“I think it’s a clear red card”, said Bradley. “We’ve had players sent off this year for little or nothing. I think it’s a red card – Trevor’s pace gets him there, it’s a red card.” 

Dundalk’s John Gill, meanwhile, told eir Sport that he would “plead the Arsene Wenger” on the incident, having not seen it live and had yet to review it. 

Rovers were without new signings Neil Farrugia and Gary O’Neill – both will only be registered in time for next Friday’s game with Sligo, but Farrugia faces another couple of weeks out with a hamstring injury – and Bradley confirmed interest in signing Graham Cummins from Cork City. 

“I don’t know [if Cummins will join Rovers].

“There’s a lot of interest in Graham. We like him, but I know there’s a lot of interest in him throughout the league and further abroad, so we just have to wait and see what Graham decides.” 

There is another round of fixtures next Monday, as Rovers travel to St Pat’s and Dundalk host Waterford. 

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Gavin Cooney

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