Alan Keane’s League of Ireland Blog

Since my last blog we’ve continued with our fine start to the season and only suffered our first league defeat to UCD last week.

The important thing though was that even after that we still remained seven points clear.  This has been our best start to the season since the 1976/77 season and the club won the league that year! It was great for us to go through the first series of games unbeaten and coming into the break it is important that we finish off strong and maintain that lead. That would mean that everyone would be looking forward to returning after the break and coming back as we’d head into the business end of the season.

A lot of our good results have been down to the finishing of our striker Danny North who has been flying it so far for us and has scored 13 league goals. It’s looking like he is going to break Eoin Doyle’s record that he set last season.  Doyler had broke the previous record which had stood for 75 years and now it looks like his will only last a season!

We were all disappointed to go out of the FAI Ford Cup last Friday against Monaghan United especially as we have been in the final for the past three years and also more importantly we’ve won it for the last two years on the bounce.  That makes it all the more disappointing that we went out in the first round. As we all know as well for the past two years the trip to the Aviva has been a memorable one for our supporters and they have been great days for us all. Let’s hope that we can now take that disappointment from being knocked out of the cup to focus us on and use it to make ourselves more determined to go and challenge for the league.

We’re coming into the mid-season break now and it’s coming at an important time given the amount of games that have been played in a short period of time. It’s great also for the teams that will be playing in European competitions as it is important for the players to have a couple of weeks off to recharge the batteries.  Perhaps more importantly, it will allow any niggling injuries that players may have to heal up.  That’s one of the big advantages of the break as you don’t get a chance to rest during the season and have to play through the injuries. It’s an advantage also for the teams that will be playing in Europe as it will give them every chance of hopefully qualifying for the group stages of the European competitions.

It’s great that during the break we will get to watch the European Championships especially with Ireland involved. It’s bringing great excitement to the country and also to us all in the League as there are five former League of Ireland players involved in the squad. This helps create a buzz around football in Ireland as it’s been a while since the country has been in a major championship. While we all hope that they can do well in the finals they are in a tough group.  You never know with Ireland though as the Boys in Green are always capable of pulling off a surprise.

Speaking of buzzes; the buzz is around the Showgrounds again with the draw coming up soon for the Europa League. All of us players, staff and fans are wondering what our destination will be this year. During my time here with Rovers I’ve seen us travel to Albania and then last year to Poltava in the Ukraine. As a player it’s a great experience as you get the chance to test yourself against some of Europe’s top teams. Also, after the break, if we can maintain our league form and get a good draw then all in the Showgrounds will be hoping for another special European night. Either way, European days are always special days.

For now though our attention turns to the Bohs game on Friday which has to be our main focus. Hopefully we will get another three points and that will mean that we will go into the break at least seven points clear.  So, hopefully you will all enjoy Euro 2012 and I hope to see all you fans supporting your local club after the break.

Until my next blog.



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