Stephen Bradley reveals Graham Burke's Dalymount opener was a pre-rehearsed move

Sat, Sep 28 2019

Graham Burke celebrates what Stephen Bradley revealed was something the squad has worked on in training. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Dave Donnelly reports from Dalymount Park

Stephen Bradley revealed Graham Burke’s fifth-minute header that set Shamrock Rovers on their way to a 2-0 FAI Cup semi-final win over Bohemians exploited a weakness they'd identified in training.

The Hoops set up an Aviva Stadium date with either holders Dundalk or Sligo Rovers as they banished the ghosts of Dalymount Park to achieve their first win there in two-and-a-half years.

Aaron Greene wrapped up the win ten minutes from time with a well-taken finish after Danny Mandroiu had been sent off but it was Burke’s early intervention that set the tempo.

The on-loan Preston North End striker angled a pinpoint header at the near post from Jack Byrne’s corner early doors to send the travelling support behind the goal into raptures.

And Bradley confirmed it was something the coaching team had identified in advance and worked on in training – to great effect.

“[It was a] great header,” said Bradley.

“We worked on it yesterday with Graham at the front post. We felt they were small in the front-post area and it was a great header.

“Graham scores goals in big games – that’s what he does. He’s getting sharper, he’s getting fitter and he’s a top player.”

Burke also netted the winner – another rare headed goal – when the sides last met in Tallaght at the end of August.

That goal broke an eight-game hoodoo for the Hoops, who had lost each of their first three games against their biggest rivals this season.

Bradley was delighted with the striker’s contribution, and he could have had a second had his deft chip not been masterfully cleared off the line by Paddy Kirk.

The 33-year-old also heaped praise on Greene, who notched his eighth goal in ten games to seal the points late on.

“Good finish from Aaron. Before that we had one disallowed and one cleared off the line, so we were pushing and pushing.

“It was a great move down the right, good delivery from Ronan and, obviously, then Aaron finished it.

“I think he’s only two off top scorer, Aaron, so for everyone’s talk he can win top scorer this year so it could be interesting.”

Bradley was a player when Rovers contested the first cup final at the Aviva, and it was an unhappy ending as he was sent off in extra time before the Hoops were beaten on penalties by Sligo Rovers.

The Jobstown native has the chance to put the record straight when he takes his hometown club back to Dublin 4 – with either Sligo or holders Dundalk the opposition.

“It’s a proud moment for me to bring this special club back to the Aviva, but that’s where this club belongs. It belongs in cup finals. It belongs at the top table.”