Rovers’ bittersweet end to their campaign following FAI cup defeat

by Stephen Findlater

In the aftermath of last Sunday’s FAI Cup final defeat, Jack Byrne and manager Stephen Bradley were left to reflect on a bittersweet end to the 2020 campaign as Dundalk denied Shamrock Rovers the dream double.

“I have a league winners medal but absolutely gutted I didn’t win today,” Byrne reflected. “That’s football – it’s ups and downs and never just one straight road to glory.

“This club has been through some terrible times in recent years so to be back up here two years in a row, competing for the cup, and be disappointed not to do an unbeaten double is a credit to where the club is at.

“We are obviously really proud of each other. There’s no one pointing fingers in there, saying ‘you didn’t work hard enough, you didn’t do that…’ We left it out there. We went out on our shield and that is all you can ask of players.”

“But they played better on the day; on another day, maybe we could have taken chances but we didn’t, they did. There is no denying they deserved to win it. We have to look at ourselves and see how we come back next year to try and win the double.”

Bradley added that he is “incredibly proud of the group” for their achievements in this turbulent season.

“We have had a brilliant season – we couldn’t quite get over the line for the double but our performance was really good. We had enough chances to win two games and if you don’t take them, they come back to bite you and that’s what happens.

“From day one this season, they have played with our style of football, been brave and won games on the back of that. They went unbeaten, conceded only seven goals which is fantastic.

“Today, we just couldn’t get over the line but that’s the way it goes in cup finals.”

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