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Finn Harps 1 – 2 Sligo Rovers: Action galore in an important victory

Sligo Rovers won 2-1 over a determined Finn Harps side in Finn Park on Friday evening, cementing our place at the top of the table by 4 points, although Shams have a game in hand. Romeo Parkes scored and got sent off on either side of Tunde Owolabi and Lewis Banks’ goals, with Ed McGinty securing the win with a collection of showreel saves in the latter stages of the match.

An unchanged team from our victory at Tallaght Stadium started the match in Ballybofey, with David Cawley, Danny Kane and Darren Collins out injured. Finn Harps made only one change from our last game against them in the Showgrounds, with Owolabi coming in for Mark Russell.

The first half was a crazy affair, beginning with two goals in 60 seconds through Romeo Parkes and Tunde Owolabi to make it 1-1 after 6 minutes. Romeo’s strike came from a corner palmed away into his lap allowed him to volley home. Before the end of the half, however, the ball was in our net through Tunde Owolabi after Harps carved open our defence. There were some more hairy moments through Owolabi, who drew saves from McGinty and put a big chance wide near the half-hour mark.

The frenetic pacing of the match continued into the second half as both teams began to make things scrappier, although Rovers went ahead on the hour through Lewis Banks of all people, when aerial pinball from a corner led to him being able to volley past Mark McGinley. It was a mere 2 minutes after this when a red card was brandished by Paul McLaughlin to Romeo Parkes for… something after staying calm during an altercation with Kosovar Sadiki. Liam Buckley didn’t panic after this questionable decision and instead chose to replace our goalscorer Lewis Banks with Colm Horgan, a switch becoming ubiquitous in recent games. With their man advantage, Finn Harps began to dominate proceedings, forcing Ed McGinty into a string of exquisite saves to keep the Bit O’Red ahead. Johnny Kenny replaced Walter Figueira in the 78th minute to freshen up the attacking trident before McGinty produced his magnum opus in added time with a world-class stop up and to his left from a bullet header off the head of the substitute Sean Boyd.

What a game! Unfortunately, that’s all she wrote for this part of the season, we’ve got a break for a fortnight until our next game (Drogheda at home on the 12th of next month). If all goes well, some fans might be able to access the Showgrounds for the first time in a while (I think, I didn’t pour through the government plan yet but sure look). If you can’t, you’ll have my report to fall back on.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, L Banks (), J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson, G Bolger, N Morahan, W Figueira (J Kenny 78), R Parkes (Red Card 62), M Byrne.

FINN HARPS:  M McGinley, D Webster (J Dunleavy 67), E Boyle, K Sadiki (M Russell 84), S McEleney, T Owolabi, K O’Sullivan (S Boyd 78), W Seymore (R Connolly 78), M Coyle, B McNamee, A Foley (T McNamee 84).

REF: Paul McLaughlin

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 8 – Produced a number of sublime stops from Owolabi et al. That last minute stop…. The only negative is that Everton could snap him up from this partnership.

Lewis Banks: 7 – Finished with the composure of a 20-goal-a-season striker. Taken off for Horgan a couple of minutes after.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Was decent. Got spun a couple times but recovered.

John Mahon: 6 – Was kept honest by Owolabi but played well.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – Decent on the left.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Tenacious as he always is.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Found nice pockets of space when we were in possession in the defensive third to build out from.

Walter Figueira: 6 – It was always gonna be difficult with Harps’ low block for him to work his magic.

Jordan Gibson: 6 – Found some nice pockets between the Harps midfield and defence.

Mark Byrne: 6 – Productive with his crosses from the right wing.

Romeo Parkes: 7 – Was at the right place at the right time to open the scoring. Thank goodness we won otherwise this report would be 400 words of Paul McLaughlin libel after that decision for the red card.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Efficient as ever on the right.

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Sligo Rovers 1 – 0 Shamrock Rovers: Derby victory sends us top

Sligo Rovers emerged victorious over fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers in a tightly-contested duel between the two sides at the summit of the table. The victory, obtained through Romeo Parkes’ second-half strike, sends us top of the league at the Tallaght side’s expense.

A good few tactical changes and some fresh faces in the starting line-up for this clash against the champions with Lewis Banks moving to a more familiar right-back position with Colm Horgan making the bench. Greg Bolger and Mark Byrne also returned to the starting XI in Horgan and Johnny Kenny’s place respectively.

The first half didn’t cause too much concern for either side in terms of chances conceded but it there were flashes of panic at each goalmouth throughout the half, however before this Joey O’Brien was unfortunately required to leave the pitch after sustaining a calf strain early on. On came Max Murphy in his place, and the show went on, with Sean Gannon coming close with a deflected effort from about 20 yards. The most hair-raising moment of the half came right at its conclusion, with Roberto Lopes nearly turning Dublin 23 against him with a certainly interesting backpass to Alan Mannus which Romeo Parkes almost intercepted.

The second period really brought the action as Rovers (us, of course) took control of the match despite Shams’ possession by hitting fast and powerfully on the break. This is how we ended up taking the lead, with Jordan Gibson pouncing on a loose ball to release Romeo Parkes very well who finished with conviction at Mannus’ near post. This was how the game was to continue until Johnny Kenny came on for Mark Byrne, with the former injecting pace in the press against the Hoops’ defence. Ryan De Vries came on with 4 minutes of normal time left to offer another fresh body to the the ball to the corner, and it was near the corner of Shams’ half where Neil Doyle blew his whistle, sending the real Rovers top.

Great to be back on top. Sorry it’s so late everyone, I was too busy celebrating (let’s just say that). Next up is Finn Harps this Friday.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, L Banks, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson, G Bolger, N Morahan, W Figueira, M Byrne (J Kenny 69), R Parkes (R De Vries 86).

SHAMROCK ROVERS:  A Mannus, S Gannon, J O’Brien (M Murphy 8 (D Williams 78)), L Grace, R Lopes, L Scales, D Mandriou, G O’Neill (C McCann 70), G Burke, R Gaffney, A Greene.

REF: Neil Doyle

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 7 – Organised the back so well.

Lewis Banks: 7 – Kept the onrushing Scales et al. quiet.

Garry Buckley: 8 – This don was made for central defence, there’s no way you can tell me he played as a 10 two seasons ago.

John Mahon: 7 – Did well up until the equalizer.

Robbie McCourt: 7 – Added attacking quality to his defensive efforts.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Picked up a yellow against his old side for persistent fouling but aside from that he was wicked.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Tenacious in the centre.

Walter Figueira: 6 – Showed some nice trickery but he was unfortunate against Gannon.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – That ball for Romeo’s goal ohh la la…

Romeo Parkes: 7 – Not a classic Romeo-oh-oh performance by any means.

Mark Byrne: 6 – Decent performance from the young lad. Taken off for Kenny.

Johnny Kenny: 6 – Was good and energetic against the tired Shams defence.

Ryan De Vries: N/A: Wasn’t on long enough.

AMR

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Sligo Rovers 2 – 0 Longford: Exquisite performance yields victory for returning Rovers

Sligo Rovers returned to the Showgrounds with a commanding 2-0 win over Longford Town after our scheduled fixture with Waterford was forfeited. The result leaves us within striking distance of our next opponents, Shamrock Rovers at the top of the table.
Liam Buckley changed things up somewhat with Lewis Banks in the centre of midfield to cover for Greg Bolger and David Cawley, who both missed the match due to suspensions and injuries. Ryan De Vries also made a start replacing Romeo Parkes, who dropped to the bench.
The first half started with each side having chances to score, however it was Rovers and Walter Figueira who struck to break the deadlock with an arrowed effort from 30 yards which left Kelly hopeless. Longford weren’t out of the game by any means though and had chances to score before and after Figueira’s effort through Dylan Grimes and Aaron Dobbs.


Longford were forced into a change early on in the second half after an injury to Shane Elworthy ended his evening, with Karl Chambers coming on in his place. Not long after that, a venomous Robbie McCourt corner caused a scuffle in the box which led to a handball, with Ben Connolly quick to point to the spot. Gibson took the penalty – Gibson celebrated. After this the game started to stagnate just a touch as Rovers were happy to make systemic and personnel changes to preserve their lead, with Regan Donelon and Shane Blaney reinforcing the backline in lieu of Johnny Kenny and Colm Horgan, with Lewis Banks reverting to his more natural right back position. These switches allowed Rovers to sit deep and counter with ease as Longford searched in vain to muster a comeback.
Nice to be back, and also good to hear Joey N’Do back on commentary. His vocalisations really enhanced the viewing experience. Next up, as I said earlier, is Shams, and if we win, we go top. No pressure then, lads!
Teams

SLIGO ROVERS: E McGinty, C Horgan (S Blaney 77), J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson, L Banks, N Morahan, W Figueira, R De Vries (R Parkes 63), J Kenny (R Donelon 80).

LONGFORD: M Kelly, P Kirk, J Manley, A O’Driscoll, S Elworthy (K Chambers 58), A Dervin, A Robinson (A Bolger 64), D Grimes, R Manley (S Verdon 73), A Dobbs, C Thompson (C Davis 73).
REF: Ben Connolly
Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Didn’t have much to do but he kept a clean sheet (!!!) and distributed well.
Colm Horgan: 6 – Played well but wasn’t busy. Replaced for Blaney with not long to go.
Garry Buckley: 7 – “The commander-in-chief” – Joey N’Do, 2021. Need I say more?
John Mahon: 7 – Inpenetrable at the back out there.
Robbie McCourt: 6 – Set-pieces were on point today.
Lewis Banks: 6 – Looked like a natural centre-midfielder, which was no mean feat.
Niall Morahan: 6 – A complete performance but nothing unbelievable.
Jordan Gibson: 7 – Threatened and got his reward with the penalty.
Johnny Kenny: 6 – The only time he gets the ball into him it’s nearly in orbit. It must be really frustrating. Taken off for Donelon late on.
Ryan De Vries: 6 – Played alright on the right but looked better centrally.
Romeo Parkes: 6 – Nearly sent Joey into raptures in added time but he put his shot over.
Shane Blaney: 6 – Had a brilliant 50/50 close to the end and as we all know, 50/50’s win games, not the outdated concept of goals.
Regan Donelon: N/A – A decent cameo. Found himself in the opposition box at one stage but it wasn’t to be.

After Match Reception

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Gibson scorcher gives vital victory

Sligo Rovers obtained a crucial win over Dundalk in Oriel Park on Friday evening after Garry Buckley’s red card threatened to undo Jordan Gibson’s stellar work in scoring a drive of sheer quality from close to 30 yards out in the first half. The result leaves us 4 points off Shamrock Rovers on top spot, however they have a game in hand.
Liam Buckley made 2 changes to the side which drew in heartbreaking fashion to St Pats last time out, with Johnny Kenny coming onto the right side to replace Mark Byrne, and Lewis Banks in for Colm Horgan in a straight swap at right back. Dundalk lined up with 2 changes, with our former man Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe up top for the Lilywhites.
The first half was a good outing for the Bit O’Red, with our boys being able to peg back Dundalk and starve them of the ball. This was almost rewarded in some style after 10 minutes by Walter Figueira after some tepid Dundalk defending led to him creating space and unleashing a venomous effort from the edge of the box which smacked against the crossbar (“The crossbar’s still ringing” is a quote and all that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was still sound coming out of it). Rovers kept at Dundalk though, and hit the front after 30 minutes through Jordan Gibson’s piledriver into the bottom corner after Romeo Parkes’ hold-up play allowed the Englishman to nutmeg Andy Boyle and drive towards goal.
The second started in the same vein for Rovers, with Dundalk timid and direct on the ball until Garry Buckley’s second yellow card for his second high foot of the match. Liam Buckley then replaced Romeo Parkes for Shane Blaney in an attempt to plug the hole in the defence vacated by Buckley’s (Garry’s not Liam’s) suspension. Despite their man advantage, Dundalk remained unable to string a move together until the closing stages of the match, by which time the Bit O’Red were sitting deep and attempting to counter-attack. These moves were both met by the head of Wilfried Zahibo who called Ed McGinty into action with one routine and one excellent save.
Woop woop, sorry for the delay in getting the report up folks, prior commitments and all that. The boys finally get a full week’s rest (or training depending on Liam’s mood) before our next match against Waterford next Saturday. We’ll have a report and post-match reaction on borst.ie.
Teams

SLIGO ROVERS: E McGinty, L Banks, J Mahon, G Buckley (Red Card 53), R McCourt, N Morahan, G Bolger, J Kenny (C Horgan 74), J Gibson, R Parkes (S Blaney 55), W Figueira.

DUNDALK: P Cherrie, D Cleary, A Boyle, V Adedokun, R Jurkovskis, C Shields (P McEleney 67), W Zahibo, H Jeong-woo (D Kelly 55), J Ogedi-Uzokwe (OE Midtskogen 81), M Duffy.

REF: Rob Hennessy
Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 7 – Played really well, was authoritative and commanding even without his two late saves.
Lewis Banks: 6 – Cool, calm and collected.
Garry Buckley: 5 – Was alright until his fairly idiotic red. We might suffer with him suspended against Waterford.
John Mahon: 6 – Imperative at the back today.
Robbie McCourt: 6 – Decent up and down the left side.
Greg Bolger: 6 – Led well in the middle.
Niall Morahan: 6 – Did the dirty work well.
Walter Figueira: 6 – Played good and solid. If he scored that chance in the first half I would still be celebrating, even now.
Jordan Gibson: 8 – Is he too good?
Romeo Parkes: 6 – Showed brilliant control to assist Gibson’s goal. Sacrificed for Blaney after the red card.
Johnny Kenny: 6 – Good and energetic as usual.
Shane Blaney: 6 – Steadied the ship well after Buckley’s red.
Colm Horgan: N/A – Like the last game but the other way around where he played as a sort of wide midfielder on the right instead of a winger at the end of the game.

After Match Reception

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Late equaliser cancels out Gibson penalty

Sligo Rovers drew 1-1 for the second time in a row to Drogheda United on Monday evening with a dramatic last-gasp header from Ian Bermingham ruling Jordan Gibson’s efforts in winning and converting a penalty early on in the second half somewhat worthless.

Liam Buckley lined up with an XI which harkened back to the earlier stages of the season, albeit with Mark Byrne making his first start of the season in place of Johnny Kenny. St Pats lined up with a familiar face for us, our top scorer last season, Ronan Coughlan started up top for the Saints.

Greg Bolger set the tone very early on with a crunching tackle in the first knockings, and this precedent was followed all through the match with both teams coming close in the first half, firstly through Bermingham whose diving header was well saved by Ed McGinty. Pats had another huge chance to score when Ronan Coughlan was put through by Chris Forrester’s through pass but Ed McGinty was alert to the chance and saved well. Rovers had a golden chance to score in the 19th minute after Greg Bolger’s intelligent pass fell to Romeo Parkes, who failed to trap the ball.

The Bit O’Red started the second half very well indeed, and were rewarded for their efforts in the 49th when Jordan Gibson became the devil to the Saints defence, decimating two defenders before getting cleared by Paddy Barrett. Having won the penalty, it was appropriate that he took it, and he was spot on to convert from twelve yards. Following this however, St Pats began to control the match, throwing more personnel forward and gaining chances on McGinty’s goal, but this inevitably left them exposed to counter-attacks. Johnny Kenny could’ve sealed St Pats’ fate with 7 minutes to go but his effort trickled just wide of the post. The Saints’ siege continued after this, with Shane Blaney giving a corner away from a cross in the 95th minute of 4 added minutes. In came the delivery, and it was the back of the net the ball nestled into to the agony of the Bit O’Red after their stoic defence became undone in a moment.

Now that that’s done and dusted, our next game will be against Dundalk, this time away from home on Friday the 7th. Check our socials for podcast updates, our YouTube for post-match livestreams and borst.ie for further report.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, N Morahan (S Blaney 93), G Bolger, M Byrne (L Banks 79), J Gibson, R Parkes (J Kenny 79), W Figueira (D Cawley 93).

ST PATS: V Jaroš, I Bermingham, L Desmond, S Bone (D Burns 55), P Barrett (B McCormack 81), J Mountney, C Forrester, J Lennon (A Lewis 68), B King, M Smith, R Coughlan.

REF: Neil Doyle

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Played alright but he seemed to be scuffing his kicks.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Was decent on the right.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Solid in defence.

John Mahon: 6 – Did well to deny his former team-mate Coughlan in the first half.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – Fairly anonymous today.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Was good and physical today.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Like Bolger, was physical and played well.

Walter Figueira: 7 – Looked electric on the ball but wasn’t always brilliant with the end product.

Jordan Gibson: 8 – Was on it all game. Won and scored the penalty.

Romeo Parkes: 5 – Should’ve offered more today.

Mark Byrne: 6 – Looked to tire in the second half.

Lewis Banks: N/A – Liked his work on the right side though I was confused whether it was him or Horgan (or both??) as the designated right-back.

Johnny Kenny: N/A – Missed that huge chance late on but offered much more in 15 minutes up top than the rest of the players

David Cawley: N/A – Brought on to secure the three points. That didn’t come to ass, but he played alright.

Shane Blaney: N/A – Conceded the corner which Bermingham equalized from but he couldn’t have done much else.

After Match Reception

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A draw in Drogheda

Photo by James Fallon

Sligo Rovers drew 1-1 to Drogheda United in Head in the Game Park on Friday night with Chris Lyons and Johnny Kenny scoring the goals. The match was an interesting affair, with a plethora of chances for either side.

Wholesale changes (by our standards so far) were made from our defeat last time out when we hosted Derry, with Shane Blaney making his first start for the club in the place of David Cawley, and Lewis Banks deposing Colm Horgan at right back for this match. Niall Morahan was also ruled out after a late fitness test, with the youthful Cillian Heaney replacing him on the bench. Drogheda lined up with 1 change from their defeat to local rivals Dundalk, with Mark Doyle replacing Hugh Douglas. Ronan Murray, a former Rovers man of course, lined up for the Claret and Blue Army too.

The first half was a captivating affair, with both teams at each-others throats from the off. However, it was Drogheda who drew first blood, with Ed McGinty at fault, coming out too far for a free-kick he couldn’t win, the resulting header falling to Chris Lyons who struck home. The Bit O’Red were unperturbed by this however, and equalised through Johnny Kenny after a nice vertical pass from Garry Buckley found Walter Figueira, whose shot was too hot for Colin McCabe to handle, which allowed Johnny Kenny to poke home from about 1 yard out (crazy far out, I know). Rovers continued to lay siege on McCabe’s goal through Romeo Parkes and John Mahon before half-time.

The second half was a more tense encounter than what had preceded it in the first period, with less chances falling Rovers’ way. Drogheda took the game by the scruff of the neck with some huge chances to score through Killian Phillips but the youngster couldn’t find the net. Rovers resorted to attempting to hit on the break, with the substitution of Romeo Parkes for Ryan De Vries an effort to facilitate this. In the end, the game ended honours even, with 1 goal apiece.

Thanks for reading. Our next match is against the high-flying St Pats on Monday evening at a quarter to 6. See you afterwards on the BORST YouTube channel for a post-match rundown and for my report on the proceedings right here on borst.ie.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, L Banks, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, D Cawley, G Bolger, N Morahan, J Gibson, R Parkes (R De Vries 80), J Kenny.

DROGHEDA UNITED: C McCabe, J Brown, D Massey, R O’Shea, D O’Reilly, G Deegan, D Markey, R Murray (J Clarke 72), M Doyle (L Heeney 52), K Phillips, C Lyons.

REF: Robert Harvey

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 5 – Looked shaky and dare I say, unreliable in nets today.

Lewis Banks: 6 – A good performance in his first start.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Did decent at the back – nothing more to say really.

John Mahon: 6 – Solid enough, nearly scored before half-time from a corner.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – Another good display for a consistently good player.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Good good good – that’s all.

Shane Blaney: 6 – A very good debut for the club despite his yellow card.

Walter Figueira: 7 – Played really well, with some nice flicks on show.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – Danced and weaved through the defence at times.

Romeo Parkes: 7 – He was unlucky with some of his attempts in the first half.

Johnny Kenny: 7 – Wasn’t involved in the second half but got us that all-important equalizer.

Ryan De Vries: N/A – Got involved in his limited time on the pitch.

After Match Reception

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New manager bounce sees Derry past lacklustre Rovers

Sligo Rovers succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Derry City in their first game under new boss Ruaidhri Higgins. A Will Patching penalty from a John Mahon tackle early on in the second half secured victory for the boys from the Brandywell.

One change only today (who would’ve thought?), and it was an enforced one, with Liam Buckley choosing club captain David Cawley to replace Walter Figueira, who came off injured against Bohemians. A very familiar face round these parts will be returning to the Showgrounds, albeit in the Candystripes’ dugout, with Raf Cretaro being taken on by Ruaidhri Higgins for his coaching setup. The new man also made only one change, with Will Patching replacing Daniel Lafferty.

The first half of the match wasn’t packed with goalscoring chances in any means but it was an interesting affair all the same, with the best bit of play coming around half an hour in, with some beautiful interplay between Romeo Parkes, Johnny Kenny and Jordan Gibson leading to a chance which was smothered by Gartside in the Derry goal.

Robbie McCourt had to be replaced by Regan Donelon at half time due to a knock he suffered late in the first half, but the second half he entered was a poor showing for Rovers from start to finish, with a soft penalty given against John Mahon, who was adjudged by referee John McLaughlin to have tripped David Parkhouse in the box after a whipped free-kick. Will Will Patching score? The answer was yes, as he made no mistake from the spot, deceiving Ed McGinty during the runup to slot home. The Bit O’Red never looked like kicking on during the game, even after the concession of the goal, and with the substitutions of Mark Byrne, Darren Gibson and Ryan De Vries for Romeo Parkes, Jordan Gibson and Johnny Kenny respectively. In the end, Derry kept solid and only allowed a solitary effort on goal, a wild Mahon effort with about 3 minutes to go.

I think the only positive from that game was Joey N’Do on commentary if I’m honest. Anyways, next up is the fresh outta First Division Drogheda United next Friday. Join me then for another report.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt (R Donelon 46), D Cawley, G Bolger, N Morahan (L Banks 67), J Gibson (D Collins 80), R Parkes (M Byrne 67), J Kenny (R De Vries 80).

DERRY CITY:  N Gartside, R Boyce, E Toal, C McJannett, C Coll (D Lafferty 72), C Harkin, J Malone (J Thomson 62), W Patching, W Fitzgerald, J Akintunde, D Parkhouse (B Barr 80).

REF: John McLaughlin

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Swept and distributed well. Unlucky with the penalty.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Wasn’t good, wasn’t bad.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Did ok in defence but wasn’t sure when he stepped into midfield, although that could’ve been because of the knock he got midway through the second half.

John Mahon: 5 – Conceded the penalty (which was harsh in my opinion) and didn’t inspire after that.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – Came off at half time, so he couldn’t stamp his authority on the match.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Did all he could but it wasn’t enough.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Was decent but not in any way terrific. Taken off for Banks halfway into the second half.

David Cawley: 6 – I haven’t seen him as the highest midfielder in the 3 long enough to form an opinion that isn’t reactionary, but I do think he and the team would be better served deeper.

Jordan Gibson: 5 – Couldn’t work his way through the Derry defence today. Replaced by Collins after 80 minutes.

Romeo Parkes: 6 – Didn’t get going today, I think he play better leading the line as opposed to out wide. Came off for Mark Byrne on 67 minutes.

Johnny Kenny: 6 – The ball wasn’t given to him at all really. Hooked for De Vries with 10 minutes to go.

Regan Donelon: 6 – His first competitive minutes this season were decent.

Lewis Banks: 6 – Don’t know why he was centre-back instead of full-back but I won’t complain since he had a serviceable cameo.

Mark Byrne: 6 – Wasn’t spotted at all on the left side.

Darren Collins: N/A – Didn’t get enough time for me to rate him.

Ryan De Vries: N/A – (ctrl+c, ctrl+v) Didn’t get enough time for me to rate him.

After Match Reception

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Destruction in Dalymount

Gibson who finished with conviction…

Photography by James Fallon

Bohemians were no match for Sligo Rovers’ firepower up top on Tuesday night, with Jordan Gibson and two of Liam Buckley’s substitutes; Mark Byrne and David Cawley on target for the Bit O’Red. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Sligo boys however, as Liam Burt showed when he struck home with aplomb from 25 yards.

It was a side you could have guessed which started the game in Dalymount, with only one change from our last game against Finn Harps. Can you guess it? Of course, it was Ryan De Vries making way for our academy graduate turned starter, Johnny Kenny. Bohemians also made 5 changes from their previous game against Waterford last Friday.

The first knockings of the opening period set the tone for the rest of the clash, with huge chances for both teams to score in the founding moments through Georgie Kelly, his strike saved well by Ed McGinty in nets. Johnny Kenny could’ve broken the fragile deadlock soon after when he found himself with the ball at his feet close to James Talbot’s net, but the young Gypsy was equal to Kenny’s effort. The game continued in end-to-end fashion until Kenny again received the ball in the box, this time hitting the crossbar from close to 20 yards from goal. The breakthrough was to come our way on the half-hour mark, with Kenny once again involved in slipping a crisp through ball to Romeo Parkes, who did well to cross to Jordan Gibson who finished with conviction.

The second half started in the worst possible way for the Bit O’Red, with Liam Burt rifling home from outside the box with a sumptuous curling effort. This goal was to be the turning point in the match, with Bohemians finding new belief and pressing high up the pitch. Despite this, Rovers held firm and were able to find success when a hopeful cross was flicked on by the ever-present Kenny into Mark Byrne’s path, who calmly slotted home to net his first senior goal for the club. This was a tough blow for Bohs, who came back swinging and had a gilt-edged chance to score through Keith Ward after an Ed McGinty parry led to a virtually open net, which he missed to level the game. The Bit O’Red switched on and showed their ruthlessness after this chance, with David Cawley striking into the the near corner in some style.

I need an editor, seriously; again I offermy apologies for forgetting to change Ryan De Vries’ rating from the Shams game. Anyways, we’ll see you next time for Friday’s match against Derry City, if you can get past these rookie mistakes.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, C Horgan (L Banks 86), J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson, G Bolger, N Morahan, W Figueira (M Byrne 59), R Parkes (D Cawley 81), J Kenny.

BOHEMIANS:  J Talbot, C Kelly, R Cornwall, R Feely, A Breslin, R Tierney (K Ward 81), C Levingston (A Coote 81), J Moylan, D Devoy, L Burt, G Kelly (P Omochere 71).

REF: Neil Doyle

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 8 – Made some giant saves today and was decisive in his area.

Colm Horgan: 7 – Was more defensively rather than offensively minded today but he did his job well. Taken off for Banks late on.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Another solid performance.

John Mahon: 7 – Was needed today and stepped up.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – A good performance from a player very quickly settling in.

Greg Bolger: 6 – A solid performance capped off with a late assist. Not much more to say other than he did the dirty work for the team.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Was very tenacious in midfield today.

Walter Figueira: 6 – Came off injured. Hopefully he gets back soon since he’s had a bug upturn in form.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – Tucked away his golazo very well.

Romeo Parkes: 7 – Did really well for the first goal.

Johnny Kenny: 8 – The latest Arrow Harps alumnus produces on the big stage again. What a prestigious production line at that club (not biased I swear).

Mark Byrne: 7 – Comes on and scores. The kid’s a star.

David Cawley: 8 – What a strike. What more can I say?

Lewis Banks: N/A – Good to see him back.

After Match Reception

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Stylish second half ensures win after cagey opening

Rovers 1-0 Harps

Sligo Rovers ended up 1-0 victors over our local frenemies Finn Harps after a stagnant first half gave way to a refreshing, exciting second period, with Johnny Kenny getting off the mark for senior competitive goals in the 49th minute after his doggedness in pressing the opposing defence led to a tap-in. Rovers dominated the clash after this and could’ve scored more through Walter Figueira and Jordan Gibson, but it was Robbie McCourt who secured the three points with a vital interception on Sean Boyd inside the box in the 90th minute.

I could nearly copy & paste this paragraph from the Shams match, but only nearly. Liam Buckley used the side which ended the match against the fake Rovers from the start against Finn Harps, with our number 9, Ryan De Vries, taking Johnny Kenny’s place in the number 9 position. Our Ballybofey neighbours remained unchanged from their previous win against Waterford, with our former defender/midfielder Will Seymore remaining in the side.

The first half was admittedly, very boring, with one major chance through Romeo Parkes, whose attempted dink was saved well by Mark McGinley in the Harps net on 36 minutes after a long ball over the top. Apart from that fleeting moment, the half was fairly inert apart from a yellow card for Robbie McCourt, with Finn Harps content to play their defensive game drilled into them by Ollie Horgan and his coaching team.

As was the case in our last game, Ryan De Vries and Johnny Kenny were involved in a half-time substitution, but this time, it was Ryan De Vries making way for the 17-year-old. His introduction to the match signalled a paradigm shift in the match, injecting pace and impetus into a previously still fixture, and it was the young Riverstonian who pressed Mark McGinley into making a crucial error to allow him to tap in from point-blank range. The Bit O’Red controlled proceedings from then on, having some big chances through Figueira and McCourt on the left hand side who each had shots well saved. The match looked set and done from then until the beginning of added time, where a Finn Harps counter-attack allowed a cross into the box where Sean Boyd lurked, however this attack was halted by Robbie McCourt who had put in the hard yards to get back, who marshalled the ball safely into Ed McGinty’s hands.

Bohs at home this Sunday, how did I end up saying that? My apologies for that horrific error in the last report, now our next game is Bohs away from home on Tuesday. See you then for another report.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson, G Bolger, N Morahan, W Figueira, R Parkes (D Cawley 78), R De Vries (J Kenny 45).

FINN HARPS:  M McGinley, D Webster, E Boyle (S Doherty 69), K Sadiki, S McEleney, M Russell (R Shanley 69), K O’Sullivan (S Boyd 83), W Seymore (S Folan 83), M Coyle, Barry McNamee, A Foley (T Owolabi 55).

REF: Paul McLaughlin

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Wasn’t busy in a shot-stopping sense, but his ability to claim crosses is remarkable.

Colm Horgan: 7 – Very good today. Kept the width really well when Gibson went infield.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Another solid performance.

John Mahon: 6 – This centre-back partnership could achieve great things here.

Robbie McCourt: 7 – Great on both ends of the pitch today. Won us the game with his block on Boyd late on.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Was poor in the first half but completely turned it around in the second.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Was effective in the middle of the park.

Walter Figueira: 8 – Was an absolute menace today, had the Harps defence on strings.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – Played very well alongside Figueria out wide. The two combined stretched Harps.

Ryan De Vries: 6 – I can’t be too harsh since I know he reads this but he was clamped by the Shams defence. Taken off at half-time.

Romeo Parkes: 6 – Didn’t do anything outstanding apart from his chance in the first half.

Johnny Kenny: 7 – Finally scored!! A great performance off the bench.

David Cawley: 7 – An efficient cameo.

Photo Credit: James Fallon

BORST After Match Reception

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Stalemate in Shams showdown

Rovers 1-1 Shams

Sligo Rovers drew 1-1 to Shamrock Rovers in the Showgrounds on Saturday evening in a match where defensive blunders proved costly to both sides. Walter Figueira got off the mark for official Rovers goals when his speculative effort creeped under Alan Mannus and into the net in the 82nd minute, but his blushes were spared when Rory Gaffney equalised after a mix-up in the Sligo Rovers defence, which had remained impenetrable until that moment. The result means we lay 3rd in the league table, with 8 points from 4 games.


The Bit O’Red and Liam Buckley returned to a side we have gotten to know quite well over the first two games of the season, with one change from the clash in Longford. Walter Figueira must have done enough with his brace in a friendly match against Finn Harps on Monday to warrant a start over David Cawley, with Danny Kane being unfortunately ruled out of the derby due to a knock. Shamrock Rovers also only made a single change to their previous lineup which triumphed over Dundalk, with Dylan Watts taking the place of Sean Gannon in the side. Roberto Lopes also reinstated himself to the Shams team sheet after international duty quarantine.
The beginning of the match was a frenzied affair with Shams displaying the qualities which made them unbeaten champions in the truncated previous season. The visitor’s intensity nearly proved too much for the Bit O’Red, but the real Rovers were able to weather the storm and reply with chances of their own when Greg Bolger forced Alan Mannus into a good save after a corner routine executed to perfection. Robbie McCourt also threatened with a free kick which arrowed just over the bar on the cusp of half time.


Ryan De Vries came on for Johnny Kenny to kick off the second half, which started in much of the same vein as the opening stages of the first half with Shams applying pressure to our defence. The match stayed somewhat stagnant (well, as stagnant as a Rovers derby can be) until the 78th minute, when Shams manager Stephen Bradley rolled the dice and brought on Rory Gaffney and Sean Gannon for Graham Burke and Ronan Finn. Rovers made use of the change in tactics after this change to isolate Walter Figueira, whose half-chance found its way into the Churchill Road end net after Alan Mannus botched his dive for the ball trickling into his near post. Rovers then attempted to dig deep but were undone by a deep cross into the feet of the aforementioned substitute Rory Gaffney, who managed to equalise with the help of a deflection. This deflated the Bit O’Red who ultimately settled for the tie.


A frustrating way to draw but at the same time, a good point against the champions. See you next Sunday when we play Bohs at home.


Teams

SLIGO ROVERS: E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson (W Figueira 83), G Bolger, N Morahan, W Figueira, R Parkes, J Kenny (R De Vries 45).

SHAMROCK ROVERS: A Mannus, S Hoare, L Grace, L Scales, R Finn (S Gannon 78), D Watts, C McCann, S Kavanagh, G Burke (R Gaffney 78), A Greene, D Mandriou.
REF: Derek Tomney


Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Was solid in claiming crosses.
Colm Horgan: 6 – Worked the right flank well but wasn’t always spotted.
Garry Buckley: 7 – Imperious at the back today.
John Mahon: 6 – Did well up until the equalizer.
Robbie McCourt: 6 – Decent in open play but his set-pieces…. if I say what I’m thinking I won’t be writing any more articles on here.
Greg Bolger: 6 – Séamus Coleman drilled the importance of the game to him via Zoom and it showed on the pitch with his effort.
Niall Morahan: 6 – He was tenacious today alongside Bolger.
Walter Figueira: 7 – His best game for the club so far. Got lucky with the goal but he deserved it due to his workrate.
Jordan Gibson: 6 – Not everything he tried today worked but showed his desire with a last-gasp block at 1-0.
Johnny Kenny: 6 – I can’t be too harsh since I know he reads this but he was clamped by the Shams defence. Taken off at half-time.
Romeo Parkes: 6 – Not a classic Romeo-oh-oh performance by any means.
Ryan De Vries: 6 – Influenced the game well, came deeper to get the ball and it generally worked in our favour.

BORST AFTER MATCH REACTION

Recorded live after the game, rewatch the Borst crew review the result.

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Effective showing puts Rovers on league summit

Longford 0-1 Rovers

Sligo Rovers executed a vintage away day performance away to Longford Town on Friday evening, with a 1-0 win propelling the Bit O’Red to the top of the Premier Division table. Garry Buckley netted the only goal of the game with a header from a Robbie McCourt corner after 47 minutes.
Liam Buckley’s side today was one very easily predicted, with only a single change from our previous two games with Walter Figueira being replaced by David Cawley, a change from the off rather than during the second half, as was the case in both league games so far. Lewis Banks was unfortunately ruled out of the clash at Bishopsgate after a late fitness test regarding a thigh strain. Longford also only made one change from their previous starting XI against Bohemians, with Callum Warfield taking the place of Sam Verdon after a good performance off the bench in Dalymount.


The first half was an admittedly somewhat drab affair, with both teams finding each other out in the opening exchanges. Rovers needed time to adapt to a flatter 4-3-3 shape than in their previous fixtures, with no number 10-type player due to the tactical changes made. As a result, finding the pass from midfield to attack was quite tough. Robbie McCourt came close with a free kick after 7 minutes, but this attack was met with a subsequent volley over the bar from Dean Byrne. The game stagnated after that half-chance, until Longford were forced into 2 changes after 2 separate injuries to Dean Byrne and Callum Warfield within 6 minutes of each other. The game turned in Rovers’ favour after these changes, with Johnny Kenny having a huge chance to score from a flicked Romeo Parkes header saved brilliantly by Lee Steacy.


Rovers started the second half with fervour, and were able to make an early period of pressure pay when an inswinging corner from the left boot of Robbie McCourt was met by Romeo Parkes, whose header looped into the path of Garry Buckley who headed into the top corner from point-blank range. The Bit O’Red were then content to shut out the match with the help of Mark Byrne, Ryan De Vries and Walter Figueira replacing David Cawley, Johnny Kenny and Jordan Gibson respectively. Longford threatened on 84 minutes through Aodh Dervin when his deflected effort from 20 yards ran just wide, but were unable to find a late equalizer.


Job done, then. Next up is the derby, Shams come to the Showgrounds to throw down on Saturday the 10th. See you then.


Teams

SLIGO ROVERS: E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson (W Figueira 83), G Bolger, N Morahan, D Cawley (M Byrne 64), R Parkes, J Kenny (R De Vries 75).

LONGFORD: L Steacy, P Kirk, D Zambra (A McNally 69), A O’Driscoll, J Gorman, A Dervin, A Bolger, D Byrne (C Thompson 30), C Warfield (A Dobbs 36), K Chambers (C Davis 69), D Grimes.
REF: Damien MacGraith
Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Wasn’t busy by any means but his distribution was sharp.
Colm Horgan: 6 – Rigid in attack and defence.
Garry Buckley: 8 – Ultimately won us the game with his header, and was generally solid in defence.
John Mahon: 6 – His passing allowed us to build from the back.
Robbie McCourt: 6 – His set-piece deliveries were venomous today.
Greg Bolger: 6 – Wasn’t quite as imperious as he was against Dundalk and Waterford but was still reliable in the middle.
Niall Morahan: 6 – A complete performance but nothing unbelievable.
David Cawley: 6 – Looked a tougher unit to break down with Cawley in the team, as you would expect considering his role.
Jordan Gibson: 6 – Provided some impetus and trickery but was taken off for Figueira in the 82nd.
Johnny Kenny: 6 – Was extremely unlucky not to score before half time after a great stop from Steacy. Taken off for De Vries after 75 minutes.
Romeo Parkes: 6 – Not Romeo’s best performance but still caused the goal and was unlucky not to score himself late on. Got a yellow for winning the ball which I found perplexing.
Mark Byrne: 6 – Always looked for the ball on the break but unfortunately didn’t always get it.
Ryan De Vries: 6 – An efficient cameo from the New Zealander.
Walter Figueira: N/A – Didn’t play for long enough to warrant a rating but he was very effective in pressing Longford’s defenders.

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Gibson fires Rovers to comeback win

cutting in from the right wing and using his “weaker” left foot to arrow the ball off the post and into the net

Waterford United, despite hitting the front after 5 minutes, were unable to see the game out against a Sligo Rovers side quickly becoming familiar to the eye on Friday night. Cian Kavanagh headed home for Waterford from a corner after 5 minutes, but it was Romeo Parkes who volleyed home with 10 minutes until half time to equalise. In the second half, Jordan Gibson found the top corner brilliantly after cutting inside from the left wing. Today’s game was also the first time we saw the Bit O’Red’s stunning new white strip in action at the RSC.

Liam Buckley obviously saw no weaknesses in the line-up which contested the match against Dundalk last Saturday at the Showgrounds, and as such fielded an unchanged XI, with Ryan De Vries returning to the bench after returning from quarantine. Waterford made 3 changes from their last game which ended in defeat to Drogheda United, with Tunmise Sobowale being replaced by Darragh Power, Shane Griffin in place of Katlego Mashigo, and Cian Kavanagh replacing Jamie Stafford.                                 

Both teams started the match with vigour, but it was clear that Waterford had come out of the blocks quicker, with a lofted corner from Mascoll’s boot finding the head of an unmarked Cian Kavanagh who struck home with a nice headed effort on 5 minutes. It could have been 2-0 if not for some Ed McGinty heroics, producing a stupendous double save using his foot to deny Waterford their 2nd goal of the match – and of the season. Rovers enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball after this period, with Johnny Kenny stinging the foot of the post with a headed effort after 10 minutes. The Bit O’Red kept this momentum until the 35th minute, where Jordan Gibson evaded trouble with a mesmerizing run and delivered a powerful cross into the path of the onrushing Romeo Parkes, with the Jamaican international providing a wonderful volley into the roof of the net. Rovers’ pressure only increased thereafter until half time, with Parkes again coming close while being one on one with Brian Murphy after an excellent pass from Garry Buckley.

Rovers kept this adamant pressure going into the second half with Jordan Gibson coming close with a free after Johnny Kenny was fouled outside the area. He would get a second chance just minutes later, and take it in splendid style, cutting in from the right wing and using his “weaker” left foot to arrow the ball off the post and into the net. Waterford switched on again after this, having plenty of half-chances on McGinty’s goal, none of which would trouble the Glasgow-born keeper. David Cawley came on for  Walter Figueira for the second consecutive game to anchor the midfield on 68 minutes, followed by Ryan De Vries getting some minutes into the tank after his lack of pre-season, replacing Johnny Kenny.

All in all, our trip to the Regional Sports Centre was a very productive one, and we look forward now to Longford in… Longford! See you on Wednesday for another report.

Teams

SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, G Buckley, R McCourt, J Gibson, G Bolger, N Morahan, W Figueira (D Cawley 68), R Parkes, J Kenny (R De Vries 72).

WATERFORD:  B Murphy, D Power, K Ferguson, C Evans, J Mascoll, J Waite, O Brennan, S Griffin (E Molloy 66), A O’Reilly, C Kavanagh (J Martin 81), P Mutswunguma (D Murphy 64)

REF: Paul McLaughlin

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 8 – Pulled out some great stops including a terrific double save in the first half to keep it at 1-0.

Colm Horgan: 8 – A very impressive performance at both ends. His and Gibson’s linkup could be scary – but not for us.

Garry Buckley: 7 – Was labelled a Toby Alderweireld-type defender on commentary because of his pinpoint passing, and I can’t think of anything more clever to say than that so I’ll reciprocate it here.

John Mahon: 7 – Was tough in his tackling, which was needed against the strikers of Waterford’s calibre.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – Thought he was shaky defensively in the first half but he improved in the second period.

Jordan Gibson: 9 – The guys a star, he played like a clone of Arjen Robben tonight on the right.

Greg Bolger: 7 – Grew into the game, got a hold of the ball more in the second half and stamped his mark on the game.

Niall Morahan: 6 – An overall solid performance.

Walter Figueira: 5 – Didn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as the rest of the team tonight but I’m sure those errors will be seldom once he beds into the squad.

Romeo Parkes: 7 – Was quiet until his goal, which was a beaut. Kicked on after that and got himself more into the game.

Johnny Kenny: 6 – Wasn’t blessed with service and still managed to hit the post from a header he had no right to win early on.

David Cawley: 6 – Looked a lot more solid in a 4-3-3 with him on the pitch.

Ryan De Vries: 6 – Brought on for some match sharpness as he missed all of pre-season because of restrictions.