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O'Brien keeps his eye on the prize


AIM IS THE SAME: Shamrock Rovers Joey O'Brien

AIM IS THE SAME: Shamrock Rovers Joey O'Brien

AIM IS THE SAME: Shamrock Rovers Joey O'Brien

Shamrock Rovers defender Joey O'Brien says the squad have retained the same focus even though the number of games to be played in the league has been cut in half.

The Hoops carried on where they left off when the season resumed last weekend, a 3-1 win at home to Finn Harps stretched their lead over Dundalk to five points.

But O'Brien is aware that the Tallaght club have previously been on top of the table and were unable to seal the deal by winning the Premier Division, so he knows there can be no easing off in the games to come, starting with Sunday's trip north to play Derry City.

"We had a good few points last year and it didn't go for us. It's going to be a hard game up in Derry. Roll on to the next one," O'Brien says, aware that a 36-game season has been reduced to 18 games.

"I've been here the last couple of years, the people at this club, you're down to win every game. As a fan myself, I want to see Shamrock Rovers win every game. As a player, that's the mentality, if it's 40 games or five games. That's the mentality in this dressing room.

"The aim is the same. When we won the Cup final, the aim was to win the league. It doesn't matter how many games it is. You'll have teams who think it benefits Shamrock Rovers but I look at the last few years and think the longer seasons benefited Shamrock Rovers.

"You look at last season, late doors when we went unbeaten and then into the Cup final, that benefited us. You have to win every game. It's going to make it exciting to watch, for players to play in, every game is going to matter at the top and bottom of the league."

Rovers were the only side across the two divisions to win a game at home in the first 10 days of the resumed season, O'Brien spotting that home advantage is not such an advantage.

"Teams are picking up, players are coming in, these are strange circumstances, with no fans, it will help away teams, potentially. It's strange seeing that in the Premier League," he added.

"You've got to be ready to rock from the start. We talked about that in the dressing room."