Shamrock Rovers midfielder Ronan Finn believes his side are now equipped to end Dundalk's stranglehold on the SSE Airtricty League Premier Division title.
The Lilywhites have won the league in five of the last six seasons, with Cork interrupting their hegemony in the 2017 season, but Shamrock Rovers are now regarded as perhaps the only viable outfit to topple Vinny Perth’s team in 2020.
The Hoops filled the runner-up berth behind Dundalk last season, but finished the year on a memorable high when they defeated the same opponents on penalties in the FAI Cup final.
The two teams will contest the President’s Cup this Sunday before Rovers kick off their league campaign against great rivals Bohemians at Dalymount Park six days later.
Rovers fans will go into the season with great expectations, but Finn believes that he and his team-mates will be equal to the challenge which lies ahead.
"The pressure is always on at Shamrock Rovers, that’s part of the club," the 32-year-old told RTÉ Sport.
"Playing in front of the fans, they demand success, but the Cup success has galvanised us.
"It’s given us, as a group, that bit of confidence that we maybe needed, also that bit of experience of getting over the line.
"We do play a lovely brand of football, but Dundalk have been steady over the years and they’ve been finding a way to win.
"For us, in the Cup final we played really well , we had to rally in extra-time and we won on penalties, we found a way.
"For us, as a group, it was huge.
"It will give us that bit of confidence going into the season."
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Rovers’ resolve has been questioned by some in recent seasons, but the steel and character forged in that long-coveted Cup success last season can’t be underestimated.
It wasn’t always pretty at times, but that in itself is something to be celebrated. Winning ugly, when the occasion necessitates, is often the hallmark of champions.
"We do try and play football and the manager wants us to play a certain brand," Finn admitted.
"But also just finding a way to win sometimes, like we did in the Cup final.
"Obviously we want to play as good a brand of football as we can, but finding that level of consistency, even if you aren’t playing well, you find a way to win.
"But I think that comes with experience and that’s something that’s been growing over the last couple of years.
"The manager has recruited so well over the last couple of years and I think we’ve now got a group that’s ready to challenge."