(Credit: George Kelly)
Shamrock Rovers Director of Football Brian Laws was highly critical of his players after Saturday night’s home defeat to Derry City. It was Rovers’ sixth loss in the league this season, their second at home.
The defeat put a major dent in Rovers’ ambitions to play European football next season. It has been an incredible turn around for a team who reached the group stages of the Europa League last year. For Europe next season to be a reality, they require St. Pat’s to beat Derry in the cup final or Rovers to win their last two games of the season and hope results go their way elsewhere.
“It smelt of watching Ireland, that’s how poor of a performance it was,” said Laws who like several hundred German football fans in Tallaght on Saturday had been at the Aviva to see Ireland taken apart by Germany the night before. Laws had also attended an Ireland training session in the run up to the international.
“I saw a performance last night that was unacceptable for Ireland (against Germany). They would hope to get a reaction and I hope to get a reaction on the training ground and in our next game.
“It was end-of-season stuff, like they want to forget about the season as quick as possible. It was honesty and pride that were not there. We were building a foundation there to try to build off and all they have done is take a sledgehammer to it and smashed it to bits — so we have to start again.”
Laws called into the question the commitment of some of his players. Ominous signs for some of the squad since Laws is currently making as to who should stay with the club for next season.
“There are still jobs to do and we have to show a bit of pride and give something for the supporters to warm to for next season. But some of those performances tonight show you that some of them won’t be here next year.
“But that doesn’t surprise me as that has been the way they’ve been playing all season. You get them to perform and play well and then they throw in a performance like that out of nowhere. I can understand why they’ve been so inconsistent.
“I don’t know if there are one or two players’ minds that are elsewhere, if it is then we will certainly find out which one’s they are because they won’t be here next year.
“You have to try your hardest if you want to be at this club next season. You have to give it honesty, endeavour, hard work and commitment between now and the end of the season.”
Rovers weren’t helped by the loss of Ronan Finn within the first half an hour due to an ankle injury. Coupled with the absence of suspended Gary McCabe and the injured Killian Brennan, it meant Rovers were shorn of their goal scoring threat from midfield. Between those three players, they have scored 35 goals in all competitions this season. Rovers were 2-0 down at half-time and then conceded a third just a minute into the second half.
“I could turn round and say losing Finn out of midfield hurt us. With McCabe being out of side, all of a sudden we’ve had three of the players who’ve been in our midfield out. I’ve put in the midfield a young kid [Sean Gannon] who hasn’t played there and a left back [Conor Powell] who has never played there. Unfortunately you get that miss-match.
“So that hasn’t helped but I wouldn’t use it as an excuse. The one thing I would say is the likes of Powell and Gannon had a go, at least they had a go. It mightn’t have been the quality we would have liked but they’ve had a go.”
Rovers will play UCD at home next Friday before travelling to the newly crowned Champions Sligo Rovers in the final game of the season.
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller