Monday 18 December 2017

Rovers' timeline of the season

April 20

After stating at the beginning of the campaign that a new contract would be sorted swiftly, Michael O'Neill indicates frustration at the lack of progress in talks.

May 14

Rovers pick up their first silverware of the campaign with a 2-0 win over Dundalk in the Setanta Cup final.

June 29

Assistant manager Trevor Croly leaves the Hoops after admitting that his football relationship with O'Neill had broken down.

July 19

After a first-leg win in Tallaght, Rovers get the required draw in Estonia with Flora Tallinn to book their passage to the next round of the Champions League and a guaranteed €500,000.

August 2

Rovers exit the Champions League to Copenhagen, but are parachuted into the final round of Europa League qualifers, where they land Partizan Belgrade.

August 25

On a famous night in Serbia, the Hoops come from behind to oust Partizan after extra-time, with Stephen O'Donnell (left) converting a penalty to make history.

September 29

After opening the group stages with defeat to Rubin Kazan, Rovers lead at White Hart Lane for 10 glorious second half minutes. They eventually lose 3-1 to Spurs and focus returns to regaining the league crown.

October 9

A last-minute winner for Karl Sheppard (right) at Bray leaves the Hoops in pole position to regain the championship after Sligo's loss at St Pat's the night before.

October 20

Rovers come closest to grabbing a Europa League group point in Greece, losing 2-1 to PAOK Salonkia, despite applying some late pressure.

October 25

Dean Kelly's injury-time strike wraps up the league and O'Neill declares an intention to stay on.

November 30

Rovers lose in Russia to Rubin Kazan and the situation is far less clear on the manager's future, with negotiations breaking down and O'Neill interested in the Northern Ireland job.

December 14

O'Neill's departure is confirmed ahead of the concluding Europa League group game with Spurs. Manager suggests that it wasn't an amicable parting.

Irish Independent

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