Boyd buzzing to hit lofty targets with Rovers

by Stephen Findlater

SEAN Boyd says Shamrock Rovers aren’t setting themselves any concrete targets for the coming League of Ireland season.

The Hoops kick off their 2019 campaign on Friday night with a trip to the RSC to face Waterford, the side they pipped to third place last season.

The off-season has seen former Manchester City underage star Jack Byrne and Derry City midfielder Aaron McEneff arrive at Whitestown Way.

There’s been a lot of continuity elsewhere, however, with the majority of last season’s squad retained, though Gavin Bazunu and Aaron Bolger have departed for Man City and Cardiff City.

And the 20-year-old striker says Stephen Bradley’s side are content to take things one game at a time as expectation once again mounts at Tallaght Stadium.

“Everyone’s enjoyed it and everyone’s ready to go,” Boyd tells the Dublin Gazette.

“Obviously it was longer than a lot of clubs. We were in the gym from the first of December and then we went onto the pitch when it came to January.

“Since then, we’ve been at it and ready to go and preparing for Waterford. We’re just looking at the first game of the season and taking it game by game.”

Since making his breakthrough under Pat Fenlon in 2016, Boyd has seen his first-team involvement frustrated by injury, with a particular troublesome shoulder injury requiring surgery.

With no new strikers signed in the window – and Gary Shaw gone to crosstown rivals St Patrick’s Athletic – a fit Boyd has a real chance to establish himself as a regular.

It was Bradley who brought Boyd to Tallaght from Malahide United as a 16-year-old and coached him through the under-19s before taking over the senior team.

With Dan Carr and Aaron Greene the only other senior strikers in the squad, Boyd has set his sights on staying fit and playing as many games as possible in 2019.

“Greener signed halfway through last year and had a little injury, so he’s a new striker if you look at it like that. Dan Carr is still there.

“I’m just focused on myself and seeing if I can stay as fit as possible and get myself going, and hopefully I can play as much as possible.

“I’ve set myself a target in my own head about actual goals, but I’d just like to play as much games as I actually could without putting a number.

“I know if I’m playing I can make things happen, so hopefully I get fit and stay fit,” said Boyd, who scored his only goal of the 2018 season against Waterford.

Rovers, meanwhile, recently announced a community initiative to bring 30 residents from the Towers Direct Provision Centre in Clondalkin to all home games.

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