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Bradley demanding improved discipline from Rovers

Stephen Bradley: 'We’re killing ourselves in big games by getting silly sending offs.' Photo: Sportsfile
Stephen Bradley: 'We’re killing ourselves in big games by getting silly sending offs.' Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Stephen Bradley has called on his Shamrock Rovers players to eradicate the repeated disciplinary issues that have hampered them this season.

Rovers will take on Dundalk for the sixth time this season this evening (7.45) and given that they have had four players sent off in the previous five meetings, Bradley is concerned.

David McAllister was the latest Hoops player to see red as he was given his marching orders in last week's FAI Cup semi-final draw with Dundalk for a horror challenge that ended Chris Shields' season.

The midfielder's dismissal followed red cards earlier this season for Graham Burke, Darren Meenan and Aaron Bolger which took Rovers' tally to nine for the campaign.

The Lilywhites will arrive in Tallaght this evening for the cup replay and Bradley is demanding that his players control their temperament.

"We're killing ourselves in big games by getting silly sending offs," the Rovers boss insisted.

"I've seen it back (McAllister tackle), it's a sending off. There's no other way of looking at it.

"Davey knows it was a silly tackle. There was no need to do it. The ball was there, he was in a good position to go and win it. There was no danger. We need to be careful about how we go in for those 50-50s.

"Sometimes that happens in the heat of the moment. Players do silly things and that's what happened. It's not basketball where you can call for a time-out and ask them to relax.

"It was two seconds of madness from Davey and it was at a point in the game where I felt we were getting stronger. It really hurt us.

"It's massively frustrating, there is no getting away from that.

"As a manger you look back at our sending-offs; maybe other than Davey's down in Cork, Ronan's in Shels, the others have been terrible in terms of being for nothing.

"We need to get to the bottom of why we're making silly challenges in those areas.

"We can't keep doing it. It cost us in the League Cup final and it could have cost last week. We can't afford to be playing 10 v 11 against the top teams because they'll hurt you. We need to learn very, very quickly.

"It's just recognising the time of the game and you've been booked. It's the last 15 minutes, just relax. You can still go in for those tackles. He's a midfielder but you can do it in a better way."

Dundalk's ticket allocation has been considerably lowered and despite selling out all 600 that were made available, the demand went far above that figure.

As a result, several supporters and some sponsors in Dundalk have been left disappointed by not being able to secure tickets for the eagerly-anticipated replay.

"We have got to do it the hard way," Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny said.

"We have to go away to Rovers in the semi-final and we will have to roll our sleeves up. The players have been able to raise their game for the big occasion and hopefully Tuesday night will be no different."

Irish Independent

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