Robbie's given us the Keane edge

Hoops ace Shaw learning from Ireland legend

Robbie Keane. SPORTSFILE

Aidan Fitzmaurice

For Shamrock Rovers supporters, the dream of seeing Robbie Keane tog out in the hoops of 'Dublin's green and white' remains that, a dream.

But the former Ireland captain is still playing a role for the club in his native Tallaght as Keane's spell coaching at Rovers has lasted longer than what was initially seen as a one-off.

"Just having him there, his finishing, what he's done as a player at club level, internationally, you can't help but listen to him," says Rovers striker Gary Shaw, his confidence high after claiming both goals in Monday's win away to Galway United.

"You have Damien Duff and Robbie Keane doing crossing and finishing drills, where else would you get that? You have to take it all on board and it's great to pick his brain. I've scored two now and hopefully many more to come."

Shaw says he has benefited from Keane's coaching, though the ex-Longford striker feels that the introduction from manager Stephen Bradley was unnecessary.

"I walked in towards the dressing room and Stephen McPhail was walking up. Robbie walked out and he just introduced us saying 'Shawsy, this is Rob'. I was like 'I know who that is', It was a bit surreal," he jokes.

Shamrock Rovers striker Gary Shaw has benefited from the presence of Robbie Keane in training recently. SPORTSFILE

Keane had initially been taking only the Rovers forwards for coaching but Shaw says the defenders have had a lesson from Keane too. He'll get defenders to mark him and he won't say what he's doing. "He's getting old, but his sharpness is still there. It's unbelievable. You have to be there playing with him to realise how sharp he is. You look away for one second and he's gone across your shoulder," Shaw added.

To date, the season's been a mixed bag for the Hoops, two wins and two draws, but for boss Bradley, today's game at home to league leaders Cork City will show whether his side, who finished 22 points off the pace last term and were beaten 5-0 by Cork in the FAI Cup, are genuine contenders.

"I don't know if these games will decide it (title) but what they will tell us, as the season goes on, is where we are, how far off them we are," says Bradley.

"We said at the start of the year that those two were leading the pack and we all need to get closer. It will be interesting to see where we are.

"Cork are a good side, the key for them is that they all understand each other's game, you can see that when they play, who runs where and when, they have built that over time, they are a good side and they will be up there with Dundalk again, we will be under no illusions about this being a tough game, we have to go and put it up to them to see where we are."

Sean Maguire has been the key man for Cork this season and Bradley believes that the Kilkenny-born striker can turn a match, if permitted.

"He's their game, he's their whole game. You keep Seán Maguire quiet and you win the game against Cork. And I think every team knows that. He is the key to everything they do," says Bradley.