Shamrock Rovers Ronan Finn, left, and Ian Bermingham, of St Patrick’s Athletic, at the SSE Airtricity League launch. Picture: David Maher/Sportsfile

RONAN Finn says he cannot wait to get back under way with Shamrock Rovers as he prepares to return to former side Dundalk for the first time in the SSE Airtricity League opener.
His winter move between the clubs was one of the most eye-catching in the division. Finn spent two seasons at Oriel Park after leaving Rovers in 2014 – winning two titles and one FAI Cup in the process – but opted to rejoin the west Dublin side as captain.
“It’s great to be back at Shamrock Rovers,” Finn said at the launch of the new season in the Aviva Stadium. “The structure of the club seems to be different to the one I left but the expectation will always be there for the club to win league.”
Finn took some flak for making the decision to leave a side that became the first from Ireland to win a group stage game of a European competition but he is confident he has made the right choice.
“It was [a tough decision to make]. The last couple of years have been brilliant up in Dundalk and obviously well documented with them doing so well in Europe.
“But I knew I was coming back to a club who were making great strides with the academy, and the overall aim here is to challenge for titles and win cups.
“For me coming back, it is a great honour being captain. Like I said, I enjoyed my time in Dundalk but it is a new chapter for me now.”
Finn also spoke about how great it is to see players from the domestic league get a chance in the Irish international squad but he insists they are there on merit.
“I think it is only fair. If you look at Daryl [Horgan] and Andy [Boyle] this year.
“I don’t think anybody would begrudge their places in the squad because they were brilliant. Playing alongside them, I could see how talented they were.
“Obviously, playing in Europe gets international managers coming to look at players because you are playing on the top stage and that allows players to showcase how good they are.”
As for the new season, Finn knows that it is likely to be more competitive than ever, especially with three teams to be relegated from the top division this year in preparation for the switch to two divisions of 10 teams next season.
“I think the standard has risen over the last few years. The squads seemed to be bigger with more talent throughout each team so it is going to be hard for players to get into their own team.
“Then, the personal battles between each club are going to intense and there is a lot at stake with three going down this year.”
Shamrock Rovers will play Dundalk on Friday, February 24 in Oriel Park at 7.45pm.

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