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Waterford 1–0 Sligo Rovers: Rovers rue missed chances in RSC

Sligo Rovers fell to a 1-0 defeat against Waterford on Sunday afternoon in the Regional Sports Centre due to a Cian Kavanagh rocket early in the second half. The result means that Rovers lie in third place, missing the chance to tie level with St. Pats on second.

Liam Buckley made two changes for Sunday’s match with Mark Byrne and Johnny Kenny coming in for Ryan De Vries and Romeo Parkes who started against Hafnarfjordur on Thursday. Waterford made one change for this game with the suspended Prince Mutswunguma being replaced by Cian Kavanagh.

Rovers started the first half well and threatened with some chances on goal but the momentum in the clash shifted when a clash of heads in Waterford’s box forced switches of personnel and strategy halfway through the half. The game stagnated after this with few chances for either side until the break.

Waterford came out strong after half-time and put the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out as an indirect free-kick was scored directly. It was long after this though that the ball would be in McNicholas’ net legitimately from the boot of Cian Kavanagh after he found space on the break outside the box and struck a zinger into the top corner. Waterford were content to sit deep and disallow space in their third and despite the Bit O’Red’s subs, there was no breaking down the deep block of Waterford.

I’m feeling a bit of déjà vu actually, since my first report on here was a 1-0 away defeat to Waterford! See you next time against Cork City in the cup on Saturday.


SLIGO ROVERS:  L McNicholas, L Banks, G Buckley (A McDonnell 74), S Blaney, R Donelon, J Gibson, M Byrne (S Keogh 64), N Morahan, D Cawley (C Horgan 64), J Kenny, W Figueira (R Parkes 64).

WATERFORD:  M Connor (P Martin 25), D Power, K Ferguson (G Forrest 25), E Nolan, J Milambo (J Stafford 68), J Quitirna (J Tshipamba 82), N O’Keeffe, S Griffin, A Wordsworth, J Martin, C Kavanagh (T Sobowale 88).

REF: David Dunne

Rovers Ratings

Luke McNicholas: 6 – Couldn’t have done much for the goal.

Lewis Banks: 6 – Adventurous as usual on the right.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Left for dead by Kavanagh before he scored. Taken off for McDonnell with 15 or so left.

Shane Blaney: 6 – Was decent but not great today.

Regan Donelon: 5 – Didn’t get involved on the left.

David Cawley: 6 – Didn’t carve as many chances as was hoped before the game. Replaced by Horgan.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Kept it moving in midfield.

Mark Byrne: 6 – Taken off for Keogh after an hour, he hadn’t shown much before then.

Jordan Gibson: 6 – Couldn’t add end product to his game today.

Walter Figueira: 6 – Wasn’t as direct as he could’ve been. Subbed off for Parkes.

Johnny Kenny: 6 – He was energetic but isolated.

Seamas Keogh: 6 – Brought some drive once he was on.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Kept it tight for the time he was on.

Romeo Parkes: 6 – Didn’t do too much wrong.

Adam McDonnell: N/A – Didn’t get enough of the ball in his limited time on the pitch to deserve a rating.

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FH Hafnarfjörður 1-0 Sligo Rovers: Tense game doesn’t fall Rovers’ way

Sligo Rovers were unfortunate not to win away in the Kaplakriki Stadium in Iceland to a determined Hafnarfjörður side who made the most of their rare chances when former Dundalk man and Icelandic footballer of the year Steven Lennon headed home with 5 minutes to go, mere minutes after Greg Bolger’s second yellow card. We play FH again next Thursday in the second leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round in an attempt to overturn the defecit.

Only one change was made from our win against Longford on Saturday; and an enforced one at that with Luke McNicholas taking the reins in the sticks for Ed McGinty, who suffered an ankle injury last time out.

The game was an even affair throughout with Rovers just about having the upper hand in the first half, although the stalemate was threatened halfway into the half when Lennon headed onto the post. Rovers responded well though and could’ve gone into the break ahead when Romeo Parkes slipped in Jordan Gibson but his effort was smothered by Nielsen in the FH net.

The second half would continue in similar fashion with plenty of half-chances for either side until Walter Figueira broke Hafnarfjörður’s line and square across to Gibson, who slammed his effort into Parkes to deflect wide. This shifted the momentum Rovers’ way until Greg Bolger picked up a second yellow card 12 minutes from time for simulation inside FH’s penalty area, with Ishmael Barbara having no doubts while brandishing the red card to send our skipper off. This put us under the cosh and we were made to pay in the 85th when a venomous cross from Vok Dimitrijevic was met by Lennon who made no mistake with his header this time and glanced into the top corner, leaving McNicholas with little hope.

Well, at least we’ve got a tantalising second leg in the Showgrounds for 400 fans to enjoy in the ground. Join me again for another report.


SLIGO ROVERS:  L McNicholas, C Horgan, L Banks, S Blaney, G Buckley, J Gibson, M Byrne (D Cawley 64), N Morahan, G Bolger (Red card 78), R De Vries (W Figueira 64), R Parkes.

FH HAFNARFJÖRÐUR: G Nielsen, G Kristjánsson, P Vidarsson, G Þórisson, H Gunnarsson, B Sverrisson, E Jonsson, J Jónsson (B Guðlaugsson 93), Þ Helgason (V Dimitrijevic 82), S Lennon (O Heidarsson 93), M Vilhjálmsson.

REF: Ishmael Barbara

Rovers Ratings

Luke McNicholas: 6 – Proved an able deputy to McGinty on Saturday and again today.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Again, he wasn’t too gung-ho on the right channel but he did his job.

Garry Buckley: 6 – A good performance for a returning player.

Shane Blaney: 6 – Performed solidly today especially against a side of this calibre.

Lewis Banks: 6 – Did well in an unfamiliar position.

Greg Bolger: 5 – His first yellow was required, the second one was silly, especially for a player with his experience. The suspension leaves us in a pickle for the second leg.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Did decent in the midfield today.

Mark Byrne: 6 – Was effective on the right but was taken off for Cawley with half an hour left.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – Came close twice and looked our most potent threat.

Ryan De Vries: 6 – Seems to be at his best up top but was deployed on the left today. Taken off for Figueira after an hour.

Romeo Parkes: 6 – Played well but if he hadn’t blocked Gibson’s shot it could be a different story.

David Cawley: 6 – Shored things up when he came on.

Walter Figueira: 6 – Did really well to create Gibson’s second-half chance.

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Longford Town 0–1 Sligo Rovers: McGinty injury blemishes N4 derby win

Sligo Rovers won 1-0 against Longford Town in a partly full Bishopsgate with 500 fans in attendance on Saturday night with Jordan Gibson scoring from the spot before Ed McGinty was forced off in an eventful evening. The result leaves us level on points at the top of the table with Shamrock Rovers only after St Pats’ loss yesterday.

Liam Buckley made 3 changes to the starting XI from the Bohs trouncing with John Mahon, Regan Donelon and Johnny Kenny missing out on selection due to injuries sustained in training. Richard Brush also dropped out of the squad due to an issue, leaving Luke McNicholas deputising on the bench for goalkeeping duties (that’s called foreshadowing). Colm Horgan, Garry Buckley and Romeo Parkes took their place as Longford remained unchanged from their draw against Finn Harps.

Rovers started the game well, keeping composed in the first phases of possession with controlled short passing. Jordan Gibson made use of this with two chances in the first half of the first half which he put over the bar and wide but it was third time lucky for the Englishman after Romeo Parkes did brilliantly to control a ball over the top and win a penalty which Gibson tucked away very nicely indeed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after this when Ed McGinty was forced off some time after a collision with Garry Buckley left him unable to continue, which lead to Luke McNicholas taking his place in the 36th minute. Strangely enough, Rovers seemed to up a gear after this change, with Lewis Banks coming close on 41 minutes at the back post after a vicious corner.

Rovers’ dominance continued and showed on the 57 minute mark with some beautiful build-up play from our boys leading to a chance from Gibson which was deflected wide. Our best was yet to come though with Romeo Parkes snatching the ball and bearing down on goal, but was let down by a heavy touch which rushed his strike onto the bar, with Mark Byrne collecting the ball and crossing to Ryan De Vries whose shot was saved incredibly by Lee Steacy in the Longford net. This proved to inspire Longford and shift the momentum in their favour, with the outfit having two big chances in the following few minutes before the Bit O’Red began to wrest control back, with Ryan De Vries heading just wide on the 70 minute mark. Our good work was nearly undone after McNicholas’ clearance from a Longford break fell to Aodh Dervin who spotted our deputy goalie off his line and attempted to volley into the net spectacularly, but his effort just went over the bar. The momentum fell Longford’s way after this as Rovers fell into a deep block, but it wasn’t enough for the home side as the match finished 1-0 to Sligo Rovers.

Boom, job done. Next time is the big one, the first leg of our first ever Europa Conference League (a rebranded Intertoto Cup if you’re of that vintage) game against FH Hafnarfjörður (copy/paste, what a beautiful thing – I got to “Hafnar” before I had to consult Google). Join us after for another report.


SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty (L McNicholas 36), C Horgan, L Banks, S Blaney, G Buckley, J Gibson (W Figueira 90), M Byrne (D Cawley 73), N Morahan, G Bolger, R De Vries, R Parkes.

LONGFORD:  L Steacy, P Kirk, J Manley, A O’Driscoll, S Elworthy (C Davis 78), A Dervin, A Robinson (R Manley 75), D Grimes, D Zambra (M O’Brien 46), A McNally (K Chambers 46), A Dobbs ().

REF: Graham Kelly

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Hopefully he recovers soon. We wish him all the best.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Not as involved in an attacking sense on the left but he was solid defensively.

Garry Buckley: 6 – The Return of the King. We immediately looked more solid with him in the backline.

Shane Blaney: 7 – Picked up a yellow but looked comfortable now that he’s had a run in the starting XI. Did really well late on to stop Grimes through on goal

Lewis Banks: 6 – Did well on the right.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Especially tenacious in the rain tonight but

Niall Morahan: 7 –

Mark Byrne: 6 –

Jordan Gibson: 7 –

Ryan De Vries: 7 – Linked up well with the rest of the front 4.

Romeo Parkes: 7 – Did incredibly well to win the penalty – that touch :O – he was unlucky not to score on the hour mark.

Luke McNicholas: 7 – Was really confident despite coming on. He’s a more than capable backup for McGinty in any case.

David Cawley: 6 – Did what he was instructed to do coming on – kept it simple.

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Sligo Rovers 4-0 Bohemians: Kenny hat-trick highlights Bohs rout

Johnny Kenny netted a hat-trick and Ryan De Vries converted coolly to ensure Sligo Rovers took the chance to draw level with Shamrock Rovers and St Pats on top of the table with a 4-0 win in the Showgrounds on Saturday evening. The trouncing was a much-needed win for the Bit O’Red, being our first since the summer break.

Liam Buckley made no changes to the team which drew in Derry on Monday night, with the six academy graduates starting in the Ryan McBride Brandywell returning tonight. Bohemians and Keith Long would also remain with the same XI which started their match on Monday.

Rovers held the authority for the opening stages of the match and were able to make the breakthrough early on, with Jordan Gibson’s deflected free-kick coming back to him outside of the box, his second bite of the cherry getting parried out to Kenny who tapped into a virtually empty net. His, and our second would come in similar fashion with a low drive across the box from the right being bundled in by the 18-year-old.

The Bit O’Red continued to fight and showed good character throughout the second half, with Ryan De Vries battling to win back possession from Bohs’ defense near the halfway line, and remaining cool while bearing down on goal to score our 3rd goal of the match. Kenny completed his hat-trick on 80 minutes, collecting the ball inside the box and finishing with aplomb to Talbot’s left. He had a chance to make it four in added time with a spectacular first-time volley but his effort ran just past the post.

What a game!! Next up is Longford Town next Saturday. We’ll be back then with another report.


SLIGO ROVERS: E McGinty, L Banks, J Mahon, S Blaney, R Donelon (C Horgan 76), M Byrne, G Bolger (D Cawley 78), N Morahan, J Gibson, R De Vries, J Kenny.

BOHEMIANS: J Talbot, C Kelly, R Cornwall (A Lyons 46), R Feely (J Finnerty 61), T Wilson (A Breslin 46), R Tierney, K Buckley, A Coote, D Devoy, L Burt (K Ward 61), G Kelly.

REF: Damien McGrath

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 7 – Could’ve been a tighter game without his saves.

Lewis Banks: 7 – Whipped in some venomous crosses from the right.

Shane Blaney: 6 – Played decent.

John Mahon: 7 – Calm and composed at all times.

Regan Donelon: 6 – A solid performer in McCourt’s absence. Taken off for Horgan late on.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Commanding in the middle. Replaced by Cawley with 10 minutes to go.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Nearly scored but his shot was blocked, compounding his good performance.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – Dangerous throughout the match.

Ryan De Vries: 8 – Converted his chance really well.

Johnny Kenny: 10 – He was the heart and soul of the team today and showed us what Rovers are all about (also he got a hat-trick so that’s pretty good I guess).

Mark Byrne: 7 – Quietly performing well up forward.

David Cawley: N/A – Was effective in his time on.

Colm Horgan: N/A – Only had 15 minutes when he replaced Donelon but he was tidy throughout his cameo.

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Derry City 1-1 Sligo Rovers: Late equaliser leaves Rovers 2 points behind front runners

Sligo Rovers were left to rue what could have been after Jordan Gibson’s second-half strike was cancelled out by Ronan Boyce’s deflected effort 5 minutes from time at the Ryan McBride Brandywell on Monday evening. The late goal was a tough one to take as if the Bit O’Red were to see out the match, we would be level on points with Shamrock Rovers and St Pats on top of the table.

Liam Buckley made 4 changes from our defeat in Richmond Park last Friday with Robbie McCourt (injury), Colm Horgan, Walter Figueira and Romeo Parkes being replaced by Regan Donelon, Shane Blaney, Johnny Kenny and Ryan De Vries respectively. Derry made 1 change from our last game against them, with Ciaran Coll being replaced by Daniel Lafferty.

The first half was fairly benign, but it had its fair share of chances, with David Parkhouse hitting over on 33 minutes and Johnny Kenny unleashing a drive towards goal soon after which was saved well by Nathan Gartside. The half ended in unfortunate fashion as Eoin Toal was forced off due to an injury, with Danny Lupano taking his place.

The second half was certainly a more interesting affair, proved by Jordan Gibson’s opener after 55 minutes after Mark Byrne’s astute flick left him one-on-one with Gartside. This lead was threatened on the hour mark with Jack Malone’s curler forcing an excellent save from Ed McGinty, however the Bit O’Red struck back through Kenny attempting to lob Gartside from range, the Riverstown forward’s effort ending up just wide. With 5 minutes to go, our firm defence unraveled after Ronan Boyce’s effort was deflected into the net past a hopeless McGinty. He was once again called into action to prevent Will Patching’s thunderous volley.

A frustrating game but in the same breath, our first points since the break. Join us again on Saturday (well if my delay is anything to go by it’ll be the Saturday after match but anyways) for another report.


SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, L Banks, J Mahon, S Blaney, R Donelon, M Byrne (D Cawley 77), G Bolger, N Morahan, J Gibson, R De Vries (R Parkes 77), J Kenny (W Figueira 77).

DERRY CITY:  N Gartside, R Boyce, E Toal (D Lupano 45), C McJannett, D Lafferty, C Harkin, J Malone, W Patching, W Fitzgerald, J Akintunde, D Parkhouse (M Walsh 63 (P Ferry 80)).

REF: Derek Tomney

Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Was unlucky on the goal.

Lewis Banks: 6 – Did well on the right.

Shane Blaney: 5 – Unlucky with the deflection for the equaliser.

John Mahon: 6 – Defended Parkhouse et al well.

Regan Donelon: 6 – Deputising well for McCourt.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Good and tenacious in the middle.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Making a good partner to Bolger.

Jordan Gibson: 7 – A constant thorn in the Derry defence’s side and was rewarded with the goal.

Ryan De Vries: 6 – Did decent. Taken off for Parkes with 13 minutes left.

Johnny Kenny: 7 – Did well on his return to the starting XI. Subbed for Figueira late on.

Mark Byrne: 7 – Cleverly assisted Gibson’s goal

Romeo Parkes: N/A – Came on late.

David Cawley: N/A – Came on late (x2).

Walter Figueira: N/A – Came on late (x3).

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St Pats 2- Sligo Rovers: Dull showing knocks Rovers to third

Sligo Rovers produced a lacklustre performance against table-summit rivals St Patrick’s on Friday evening, collapsing to a 2-0 defeat in Richmond Park. Matthew Smith and Ronan Coughlan (our former talisman) scored the goals either side of half-time due to some unimpressive Rovers defending.

Liam Buckley made one change from the reverse fixture, with Lewis Banks replacing the injured Garry Buckley, who is proving to be a big loss on this side. Pats also kept 10 players from the game in the Showgrounds, with Sam Bone being replaced by Robbie Benson.

Rovers started the game poorly, conceding as early as 7 minutes in after Jordan Gibson coughed up possession to Alfie Lewis, who played in Robbie Benson but the Saint was dispossessed by John Mahon in vain as Matty Smith struck home in the bottom corner. The half really wouldn’t get any better for Rovers as the Inchicore boys forced us to camp in our own half for the majority of the period.

Whatever Liam Buckley said at half time must have invigorated the Bit O’Red as the lads came out swinging for the second half. Rovers controlled the game for much of the half, creating opportunities and carving chances until the 72nd minute, when an incisive break from Pats led to Greg Bolger tripping up Matty Smith in the box led to a penalty, which Ronan Coughlan duly converted. After this, Pats were content to let us have the ball as a lack of penetration in possession led us to a comprehensive defeat.

Oh well. Next up is Derry City away from home on Monday. Join us then for another report.


SLIGO ROVERS:  E McGinty, C Horgan, J Mahon, L Banks (J Kenny 83), R McCourt (R Donelon 44), N Morahan (D Kane 83), G Bolger, M Byrne (S Blaney 83), J Gibson, R Parkes, W Figueira (D Cawley 66).

ST PATS: V Jaroš, I Bermingham, L Desmond, A Lewis, P Barrett, J Mountney, C Forrester, R Benson (J Lennon), B King (D Burns 62), M Smith (I McClelland 87), R Coughlan.


Rovers Ratings

Ed McGinty: 6 – Wasn’t at fault for either goal and made good saves throughout.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Back in the squad for this game, didn’t stick out but he wasn’t awful.

Lewis Banks: 6 – Did his best in an unfamiliar role. Taken off for Kenny late on.

John Mahon: 6 – Somewhat to blame for the first goal but he did well aside from that.

Robbie McCourt: 6 – Unfortunate to play up the knock. We wish him all the best.

Greg Bolger: 6 – Gave away the penalty but he was aggressive throughout.

Niall Morahan: 6 –Was well marshalled by the Pats midfielders. Came off for Kane with not long to play.

Walter Figueira: 6 – Wasn’t able to dribble at the Pats defence. Cawley came on for him with 25 to play.

Jordan Gibson: 6 – The Pats defenders knew him from his time there and dealt with him accordingly (had a cool nutmeg in the first half too so bonus points for that)

Romeo Parkes: 6 – Had flashes but was largely isolated up top.

Mark Byrne: 5 – Wasn’t at his best on the right. Came off for Blaney after 83 minutes.

Regan Donelon: 6 – Did well deputising for McCourt.

David Cawley: 6 – Wasn’t bad when he came on.

Johnny Kenny: N/A – Only had 10 minutes.

Shane Blaney: N/A – Only had 10 minutes x2.

Danny Kane: N/A – Only had 10 minutes x3.


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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.


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.


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.


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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!

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

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