I didn't play too many of those games in England that were end to end with two teams trying to play football the right way - Rory Gaffney

Mon, Jun 01 2020

Rory Gaffney in action against Sligo Rovers last March Credit: Liam Coughlan (ETPhotos)

The 2020 season was supposed to start with Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers going head-to-head for the first trophy of the year. However the President’s Cup fell foul of the weather in February and when the teams finally met in the league in March they served up a match talked about as one of the best in years.

That 3-2 win for Rovers in Tallaght over the Lilywhites seems in the distant past with the country – and League of Ireland football – having gone into COVID-19 lockdown.

However, those two teams – along with Bohemians and Derry City – will get a chance to compete against one another to win a competition in the near futrue. Those games will form a top four tournament that will re-start the league ahead of Dundalk, Rovers, Bohs and Derry competing in their European qualifiers.

One player in particular who is looking forward to action in Europe is Shamrock Rovers striker Rory Gaffney who was enticed back to the league by what he saw happening at Tallaght Stadium. The Galwegian returned from a five year stint playing in the UK in late February to join the Hoops. 

“It was a reason why I wanted to come home was to have a crack at the European games,” said Gaffney when speaking to Shamrock Rovers TV over the weekend. 

“I haven’t played in Europa League qualifiers and I’ve followed Rovers’ European run when they got to the Europa League and I would have watched all those games. It would be great to be part of a European Run.

“I wanted to come back to Ireland to play for Shamrock Rovers. I had been watching what had been going on in the last couple of years and I’d seen where the  club was going on the pitch and I saw it was a great opportunity to get involved.”

Gaffney made his debut for Rovers coming on in the game against Dundalk having signed for the Hoops the previous week. When he entered the pitch as a second half sub the Hoops were trailing but his presence helped the Hoops turn the game around in front of a record League of Ireland crowd in Tallaght Stadium.

“Overall it was a brilliant night for the league and the club. They [Dundalk] were 2-1 up and still going for it and pushing bodies forward trying to get another goal which made it easier as a striker to get on the ball when we won it back.

“I didn’t play too many of those games in England that were end-to-end with two teams trying to play football the right way.”

Having had limited game time on loan with his most recent club Walsall, he is thankful that collective training can resume from 8 June.

“We are off just over two months and there was no end goal in sight. We didn’t know when we were going to get back so it will be a great to start back training in the next week.”