Friday 23 March 2018

Ronan Finn: 'The Rovers team who won in Belgrade was strong, but this Dundalk team has more'

Dundalk FC's Ronan Finn with the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for April 2016. Photo: Sportsfile
Dundalk FC's Ronan Finn with the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for April 2016. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

RONAN Finn was consistently overlooked for monthly awards when he was winning leagues and travelling around Europe with Shamrock Rovers.

The Dundalk midfielder now has the personal accolade box ticked after a fine start to the season earned him the Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month gong for April.

Now, he’s hoping that his current employer can surpass the achievements of that Rovers side by winning three leagues in a row and making a bigger impact in Europe. They’ve made a good start towards retaining the title again, but the latter task is going to be difficult given that the Hoops qualified for the Europa League group stages in 2011.

The 28-year-old (below) thinks that the Dundalk side would actually be better equipped to cope with such a progression if the draw was kind to them – landing BATE Borisov in their first Champions League qualifier last year was a harsh outcome.

“The Rovers side that won in Belgrade (to qualify) was strong, but this side has something that team didn’t have,” he says, “I think we’re more ready. When we played in the group stages with Rovers, we were physically a little bit out of our depth. If we made it to the group stages this year, I don’t think we’d be caught out physically. Technically we’d have to step it up a level.

“We can hold our own technically. In the BATE game away we held our own and I think we surprised them. I’ve never played in a team that’s physically or technically as strong.

“Listen if we get a good draw it’s something really to look forward to. You don’t wanting to be tempting fate with but we believe in ourselves – that’s the best way of putting it.”

Finn has risen to the challenge of compensating for the loss of Richie Towell by chipping in with six league goals already this season. Last term, his assist count was well into double figures but he accepts that it’s hitting the target which really brings the limelight.

His football is thriving but the UCD graduate will also shortly take up a post in the financial sector that he will work around his training as he prepares for the longer term.

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