"Let's be realistic" - Hoban shoots down Rovers 18-game title win

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Pat Hoban has lobbed the first grenade of the 2021 League of Ireland season.

The Dundalk sharpshooter has questioned the validity of Shamrock Rovers' 2020 title win.

Stephen Bradley's Hoops went through the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season unbeaten to claim their first title in nine years.

The league season was half its usual length due to the long period without play on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Premier Division season is due to be restored to a 36-game format, much to the pleasure of Hoban.

"It’s a proper league, isn’t it?," the striker told, "You’re telling me that winning the league after 18 games is winning a league? It’s not. It’s like being top of the table in June and saying ‘we won the league’.

"Come on. Let’s be realistic here.

“Before we went into the games last summer I said it was ridiculous. I could not see myself, if we had won the 18-games last season, celebrating like we had won the league, especially after winning three before that. I just couldn’t do it.

“I saw last year’s league as a chance to win a Champions League spot and we didn’t do that. We finished third, and although we qualified for Europe, it was still disappointing, but this year we have to try and retain what’s ours which is a 36-game, proper league.”

Hoban is looking forward to actually playing some football this year, after having his 2020 season ended by an ankle injury.

The 29-year old missed their FAI Cup final win over Shamrock Rovers, and their last three UEFA Europa League group games.

"It’s probably the worst injury I’ve ever had,” Hoban said. “I knew straight away when I did it. I was running full pelt and collided off the ‘keeper [Sligo's Ed McGinty].

"I knew by the way I landed that it was bad but I didn’t think it was going to be as bad.

“I was in a bit of shock when the results came back but I had the surgery and it’s not something that’s going to stop me.

“Fitness-wise, I’m ahead of schedule on the pitch but in terms of trying to get the full strength back into the ankle, I’m not quite there yet.

“On Tuesday, I had my hardest run so things seem to be progressing well and touch wood, it won’t be too long before I’m back on the pitch and playing games.”

Dundalk begin their season away to Sligo Rovers on Saturday March 20, but he's ensured their trip to Tallaght in round-3 will be spicy.

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Dundalk Filippo Giovagnoli League Of Ireland Pat Hoban SSE Airtricity Premier Division Shamrock Rovers

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