Greg Bolger seeks fifth FAI Cup win as he makes Rovers return after hard five months out

Mon, Nov 30 2020
Greg Bolger back in action after injury against Sligo Rovers

Greg Bolger back in action after injury against Sligo Rovers Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium

After the lengthy mid-season enforced COVID-19 break, every player in the League of Ireland was looking forward to return to action in late July including Shamrock Rovers midfielder Greg Bolger.

But before Bolger could return to the league in one of Rovers’ last warm up games before competitive action recommenced, Bolger broke his leg in a friendly against Wexford and it seemed that his season had come to a cruel abrupt end. 

However, after a lot of hard work and a further extension to the season due to coronavirus, Bolger was able to make it back out onto the pitch last Sunday in Tallaght Stadium.

As a second half substitute, he helped the Hoops defeat Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup semi-final – setting up another showdown against Dundalk in next weekend’s final set for the Aviva Stadium.

“There were hard days when I was thinking would I get back,” said Bolger speaking pitchside after Sunday’s semi-final victory in Tallaght Stadium. “I’m thrilled to get out there on the pitch and I’m a bit emotional to be honest. It was a hard five months.

“Obviously coming back for the re-start in the summer, I was raring to go and it was a kick in the teeth that I got injured. I broke my leg and had to get a plate with six screws. 

“We didn’t put a timeframe on me return. We took it day-by-day to see how it would go. Just to be playing now in this timeframe is very good. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had that many injuries over my career and it was a first for me. 

“I took it in my stride, I always stay positive and that was a big factor in me getting back. I got myself into the position to come on in an FAI Cup semi-final.”

His Coach Stephen Bradley was delighted to have the Wexford man available for selection again and he felt it was a big reward for his effort in getting back to fitness.

“It was great to get Greg back on the pitch,” said Bradley. “He has been working really hard. He is a great professional and it is a testament to himself that he is back on the pitch after such a bad injury.”

Next week Bolger is seeking his fifth FAI Cup winners medal having won the trophy with St. Patrick’s Athletic in 2014 and wins with Cork City over Dundalk in both the 2016 and 2017 finals.

He scored in the shotout wins over Dundalk in the 2017 final and also last year when Shamrock Rovers lifted the FAI Cup for the first time since 1987 beating the Lilywhites 4-2 on penos.

Bolger’s former club Dundalk are the oppoents once again this year with the Lilywhite back for their sixth successive FAI Cup Final but it will be a different Aviva Stadium from last year when the game was played out in front of 33,111 fans.

“It will be weird,” said Bolger about the behind-closed-doors element of next Sunday’s FAI Cup final (kick off 6.40pm). “The big cup finals are special days with your family in the crowd, the atmosphere and the build-up so it will be different this year. 

“There are medals to be handed out though so we’ll be hungry to retain our cup and get another winners medal. Doubles are hard to come by.

"We are unbeaten this season and we want to win the double. That is what we are striving to do. My hunger is to win medals and win as much as I can.”

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