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Shels merit premier spot says Kilduff


VETERAN: Ciarán Kilduff of Shelbourne (left) with Brian Gartland of Dundalk.

VETERAN: Ciarán Kilduff of Shelbourne (left) with Brian Gartland of Dundalk.

VETERAN: Ciarán Kilduff of Shelbourne (left) with Brian Gartland of Dundalk.

It's early days in the 2020 campaign but veteran striker Ciaran Kilduff says his Shelbourne side have already shown they belong in the top flight after a long absence.

And Shamrock Rovers, still basking in the glow of Friday's 6-0 hammering of Cork City, will have more of a threat up front thanks to the signing of striker Rory Gaffney.

Shels hit the road today for the trek north to play Finn Harps, the part-time nature of life at Shels meaning players will be at work this morning before an afternoon departure.

"That's the harsh reality of it, I was full-time for a good bit and now it's a different set-up being part-time," says Kilduff, a league winner with Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk.

"Full-time players have the luxury of preparing as well as they can for two games in four days and we don't have that, but we won't make excuses, the Finn Harps players are in the same boat as us and we get on with it, it's a big week for us and we need to kick on."

Shels have had a good start to the campaign despite Friday's loss at home to Dundalk, a self-inflicted wound in some ways as Dundalk's two goals came from set pieces, a postive mood after two games.

"The plan for us this season was to compete," says Kilduff.

"We put on a good show against Dundalk but there are no moral victories in this league, we have to show we are in the league on merit, and I think we have done that already.

"Playing Dundalk at home in the Premier, that's a big step up for us as a club and as a team, given where we were last year, we played well for spells but they got the win and we need to learn from that."

Rovers have added Gaffney (30) to their squad, though not in time for him to feature away tonight to a Waterford side who lost 2-0 at home to Bohemians on Friday.

"We weren't clinical enough last season but we were ruthless against Cork on Friday and that's what I want to see," says Hoops manager Stephen Bradley.

Bohs boss Keith Long wants his side to build on that away win when they host Sligo. "It's a quick turnaround but we're looking forward to getting back to Dalymount and putting in a good display," he said.

St Pat's may rotate their squad for the test at home to Derry City, though Chris Forrester has staked his claim for a place in the starting XI with a superb display in the win over Sligo.