Saturday 23 November 2019

Professional life justifying Lopes switch to Rovers

'Lopes says he faced a straightforward decision last winter.' Photo: Sportsfile
'Lopes says he faced a straightforward decision last winter.' Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The build-up to a Dublin derby used to be a complicated business for Roberto Lopes. Days in the bank followed by evenings on the football pitch plotting success with Bohemians.

It's different now that he's a Shamrock Rovers player and while Bohs fans struggle to forgive players that make the move to their bitter rivals, Lopes says he faced a straightforward decision last winter.

It was his chance to get out of the 9-5 life in EBS in Blanchardstown and dedicate his life to the game.

"I left because I knew I wanted to pursue a career in football," said 25-year-old Lopes. "It was always something that I wanted to do from a young age and I felt when this opportunity came it was the perfect time to do it.

"Here now, everything I do revolves around football and it's brilliant. I don't miss the long days and then going training in the evenings.

"I can remember times when I would be getting out of work at ten to six and having to be in Blanchardstown by six. Your head is just not in the right place.

"You have a million things to do and you are thinking about tomorrow.


"I'm sure that's the same for a lot of people in the league and just being able to park that to one side and focus on football is brilliant."

There were Bohs customers in the bank who were understanding of his decision to leave before he officially started up with Rovers last December.

Other fans took it harder, and he has taken plenty of grief from the red-and-black sections in the two meetings between the sides this season.

Both of those games ended in Rovers victories though, and they are in good form heading into tonight's clash at Tallaght with Lopes settled in to a central defensive berth next to Dave Webster.

Rovers are pushing for Europe after last Sunday's win in Dundalk, while Bohemians have been dragged back into the a relegation scrap after a drop in form.

Lopes is grateful to Bohs for the education they gave him. One root of the rivalry between the clubs is the movement of players and while Bohs were much the stronger side in the early stages of the 21st century, we have now returned to a situation where the Phisborough club give young players their chance and then lose them to a more professional Rovers set-up.

"I owe so much to Bohs," said Lopes. "I went there as a young kid out of the DDSL with Belvedere and they nurtured me and gave me my first big break in terms of the league.

" I was thankful for that and managed to establish myself as a player and had great support, but I'm a Shamrock Rovers player now and I have a job to do and that's get three points this week."

Irish Independent

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