Croly Aims For First Trophy As Ex Striker Seeks To Dent His Ambitions

Shamrock Rovers battle Drogheda United in this weekend’s Setanta Cup Final as Trevor Croly looks to capture his first trophy as manager of the Hoops although an ex player will have a lot to say about that come kick off.

Croly is quite confident heading into Saturday’s tie, revealing his fondness for the tournament itself and how it’s a welcome distraction from Shamrock Rovers’ league campaign.

“I like the tournament,” said Croly, “I think it’s the next best thing to Europe. Sadly, we’re not in a European competition this year. We hope to qualify for one this season but I think the Setanta Cup is very like Europe.”

“It’s has a different feel to it when you are facing teams from the North of Ireland. They have different players which you are not used to as they do not play in the league and you don’t see them week in, week out.

“While, other teams also have different tactics. The whole tournament itself is very stimulating. ”

Croly’s Shamrock Rovers could only manage a draw against Sligo Rovers in the end of series one of the Airtricity League fixtures while they kicked off series two on Monday evening with a win against Dundalk. This is one of the reasons why the former St.Patrick’s Athletic man is confident heading into Saturday’s fixture.

“I don’t see why we should not be confident, in all honesty. We should have won Friday against Sligo Rovers, we won on Monday against Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk. We’re hitting form and we’re playing well.”

Croly came in to manage Shamrock Rovers during the off-season, bringing in coach Colin Hawkins as his number two. Hawkins himself expects a bumper crowd ahead of what has the makings of a nice day out for both sets of supporters.

“Yeah, looking forward to Saturday definitely. Hopefully we get a decent crowd into Tallaght Stadium and both sets of supporters have a good day out, as like most finals.”

Hawkins goes on; “This game has the makings of a great final, of course. Drogheda United will hold no fears coming into this one, we seen this at the E.A. Sports Cup final last season when they beat us to lift the cup. I feel they are doing well, so far.”

Hawkins, who was a player right up to last season is now in a whole different role at the club (player-manager), wants to win every competition he and his side enter this campaign.

“Our performances at the start of the season have been good, unfortunately, we haven’t been getting the results we wanted. Getting results is vital, the bone of doing well.

“The objective is to win every competition you enter, Saturday is the first one and we are in the final. We have the FAI Cup down the road to look forward to also and the two derbies in the coming weeks or so. We’ve a lot to look forward to.”

From the visitors point of view, it’s Drogheda United’s second time facing Shamrock Rovers in a final in the last two years as the duo battled in last seasons E.A. Sports Cup final.

This time around, striker Gary O’Neill, is lining out for the away side but he doesn’t feel ‘odd’ about the whole situation. It happens a lot in the League of Ireland in fairness, players move from different clubs and end up lining out against their former employers.

Most players will play down the situation of facing their old team, that’s exactly what O’Neill did. “It isn’t that much strange, being honest.”

“I have to be very professional about it and you line out for whoever pays your wages in this game. The last two years have been great, but, I feel I’ve missed out on a large chunk of football last season.

“Wherever I went, I had to make sure I was playing football. My objectives for the season is to play football and score goals, we’re getting the results, not all good results mind, but we’re doing well and as I’ve said, I’m enjoying my time here.”

O’Neill at the prime age of 31 years old, doesn’t know how long he has left in the sport. “I don’t know how many years I have left in football, I just wanted to be playing games and hopefully scoring goals.”

“I spoke to Mick, among other staff, and knew straight away Drogheda was the place for me.”

O’Neill will be hoping to fire his new charges Drogheda United to victory over his former employers however,Trevor Croly’s men are high in confidence and are out to stop them from leaving Tallaght with any silverware.

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