“You want to have something to aim for”

By Stephen Leonard

SHAMROCK Rovers’ Ronan Finn has stressed the importance of having the prospect of competitive football on the horizon in keeping players focused and motivated.

The Hoops skipper was speaking to The Echo following the team’s return to collective training this week, albeit in small groups.

Rovers Resume Training COVID19 at Shamrock Rovers Academy 1 compressor

Shamrock Rovers players returned to training this week ahead of a planned four-team tournament Photo by George Kelly

Rovers together with Dundalk, Bohemians and Derry City are back in limited preparation for next month’s planned four-team tournament and Finn is hopeful that will provide a springboard back to domestic and European competition.

“It's good to have something to aim for and hopefully then Europe will be beyond that” he told The Echo. “That will be a real focus. Hopefully that will be something that will be released soon.

“But having this little [four-team] tournament to target and matches to play, it's something that you want, competitive football.

“At the end of the day, we've come back to training, but we've come back to train because we want to play matches.

“You don't come back to train with nothing in sight, you want to have something to aim for and this little tournament will give us that and then hopefully it will be Europe beyond that and hopefully that will be closely followed by the league” he added.

Finn was pleased to be reunited with a number of his Shamrock Rovers clubmates this week saying on Tuesday “We were back in groups of five and there were four separate groups training throughout the day.

“It was good to be back, great weather and it was good to be back on the grass and getting going again.

“For physical reasons and for the mental side of it as well, it was just great to be back in training. Hopefully we've turned a corner with things starting to come back.

“We didn't see everybody because it [training] is staggered, but it was good to be back in among the squad and just getting that team comradery going again.

“You'd have missed the buzz around the place and the training ground was organised really well with the COVID regulations.

“There has been a lot of work done and the club is adhering to it [all the safety regulations]

“You can only train to a certain extent individually, but you can't replicate on your own what you can do in small groups.

“So training was good and as a player, you can't complain. We've got to do our stuff, we've got to be careful and make sure we do everything we can to get back” he stressed.

This week also saw the FAI launch a Safer Return to Training Protocol document for all adult amateur and underage football, including under-age National League clubs.

A Safer Return to Training document has also been produced for SSE Airtricity League and Women’s National League clubs who will return next Monday- a week after pilot programme  participants Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk, Bohemians and Derry City.

The publication provides a thorough and comprehensive step-by-step explanation to the Pathway that permits all adult amateur and underage football, including underage National League clubs, to return to training on or after next Monday.

Subject to Government guidelines, no matches – competitive or friendly - are allowed until further notice under the jurisdiction of the FAI.

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