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An evening at The White Hag


It’s probably the one thing all Rovers fans have been missing… an away day!

It’s been almost 2 years since The Red Army have been on the move.

Well, we have some great news. On Saturday the 4th of September we’re back on the road!

We have teamed up with The White Hag Brewery for an epic match day experience.

We will travel to the Brewery by rail from Sligo departing at 15.05 and arriving in Ballymote, the home of The White Hag Brewing Company at 15.22. (You can also travel by road)

The Ireland v Azerbaijan World Cup Qualifier kicks off at 17.00 and either side of that we will have DJ’s,
Brewery Tours, and you can taste all the beer you like.

The train will return to Sligo, departing Ballymote Station at 19.55.

The price (€35) includes all refreshments, music, game, and tour (travel is not included).

The event will adhere to covid-19 guidelines which means tickets are limited. We have waited a long time for something like this, so don’t miss out.

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Following our successful trip to the White Hag Brewery in Ballymote in September last year, we’re going back again on the 24th of September!

We’re tying the visit in with the Scotland v Ireland Nations League game which kicks off at 7.45pm – it’ll be on the box for your viewing pleasure. We’ll have music, some food, plenty of Bit O’Red chat and a special guest or two.

Tickets for the event are priced at €39.99 and are available via the button below.

The train times for the trip work perfectly, the 16.55 departs Sligo for Ballymote on Saturday evening and the 22:11 will bring us home from Ballymote back to Sligo after the final whistle in Glasgow – perfect!

The ticket to the event does not cover the train fare, you’re on your own there.

All funds raised go to the Trust which ultimately goes back into the Club.

A huge thanks to The White Hag for facilitating the event – the last trip was great this will be off the charts!

Can’t wait to see you all in Ballymote.

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Healthy Football League

Sligo Rovers supporters are being urged to sign up for The Healthy Football League and help The Bit O’Red earn the title of Ireland’s healthiest community of fans.

The HFL, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, is an app-based health promotion programme that uses the friendly rivalry of football fans and communities to encourage health-enhancing physical exercise. The competition is open to people of all ages and fitness levels. Whether you’re a serious fitness enthusiast or someone who just likes to walk for health and well-being, you can score valuable points for your club and visibly affect their position on the HFL table. Every step counts!

The HFL, developed by the European Football for Development Network, is set to get underway on February 28th and supporters are urged to download the app and sign up ahead of the three-month competition. There are significant cash prizes on offer to the winning LOI club and the country’s most active grassroots club and school. Grassroots clubs and schools wishing to partner with their local League of Ireland club should contact their LOI club community officer directly who can add that school or club to the HFL App as an HFL partner.

For more information, head to or download the app now from your App Store by searching ‘Healthy Football League’. The competition will end on May 31st with the winning club to be announced on June 1st.

Healthy Football League | Help your club win the title of Ireland’s healthiest community of fans.

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Sligo Rovers…20

LEO GRAY lists 20 uplifting moments and events over the course of the last 20 months which offered fans of Sligo Rovers some welcome respite from the relentless deluge of despair and frustration during the Covid 19 pandemic

1: BORST (Bit O Red Supporters’ Trust) FUNDRAISER

When the outbreak of Covid in Ireland forced the League to a devastating halt in March 2020, Sligo Rovers were plunged into a major crisis, with no meaningful income and huge uncertainty over what the future had in store. In a situation which called for steady nerves and unprecedented fortitude, the Bit O Red Supporters’ Trust came to the rescue, launching a major rallying call to the club’s fan base throughout Ireland and the Sligo diaspora in every corner of the globe. By the time the fund closed, over €85,000 had been raised – a staggering response, illustrating in a very graphic way the special place Sligo Rovers Football Club holds not just in the local community but in the hearts of Sligo people wherever they reside.


A season-defining fixture marked the restart of the League in 2020 with bottom of the table Rovers taking on North West rivals, Derry City, at the Brandywell. Another defeat here would have left the Bit O Red facing a relegation dogfight. Instead, we got a glimpse of what was to come as rejuvenated Rovers, feeding off the tremendous response to the fundraising efforts of the previous few months, secured three priceless points thanks to goals by Kyle Callan McFadden and Ronan Coughlan.


Acclaimed illustrator, Annie West lent her considerable talent to Rovers’ cause with the production of a magnificent portrait of the club’s rollercoaster history. The unique illustration captured the very essence of the club, displaying images of the characters and personalities who enriched the Sligo Rovers story down through the years.  Nancy Callaghan, Dixie Dean and Johnny Chada are just some of the great Rovers legends featured in Annie’s iconic production.

“I’m not really a football fan but it looked like Covid was about to do something bad to Sligo Rovers and I just thought it would be nice to help out in some way”, Annie explained.

Sales of the beautiful poster have raised substantial funds for the club.


The association between Sligo Rovers and Everton Football Club goes back a long way – all the way to 1939 in fact when the legendary England star Dixie Dean joined the Bit O Red in what is still considered one of the all-time great coups by an Irish soccer team. Add former Showgrounds hero, Seamus Coleman, to the mix and you get some idea of the significant links between the two clubs. Now all of that has been copperfastened by a new strategic partnership between Rovers and Everton. The initiative involves links across a broad range of important areas, including commercial, fan engagement and coaching. The partnership will be of enormous benefit to both clubs. In Rovers case, it will enable the club’s coaches to acquire new skills and knowledge and in a wider context will help the club to grow its fanbase in Ireland and overseas.


From bottom of the table in July to European qualification at the end of the season. That was the extraordinary journey fashioned by Liam Buckley and his outstanding team. Rovers place in the 2021 Europa Conference League was secured with a thrilling 2-0 win over Dundalk at Oriel Park in the last game of the 2020 campaign. Jesse Devers set the scene with the opening goal and Ronan Coughlan made sure of a famous victory with a stunning second in injury time.


We all needed a lift during the gloomy days of Covid 19 and Rovers certainly came up with a gem of an initiative when they announced that every new-born baby at Sligo University Hospital during 2021 would receive a Rovers jersey as a special gift on the day of their birth. It’s estimated that the project will see about 1,000 families in Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Roscommon and Mayo receiving a replica of Rovers 2021 jersey. It’s the first such initiative undertaken by a League of Ireland Club and stemmed from an idea first mooted by the BORST. It will ensure that a love of Rovers will pass from one generation to the next – which has always been the way of things in Sligo, and it is also the club’s way of acknowledging the heroic work of the frontline staff at Sligo University Hospital during the pandemic


Rovers fans got an extra treat when the BORST launched a new podcast last Autumn. It’s a top class production, for the fans by the fans. Conor Lynch is a superb and knowledgeable anchor man and the passion of his co-presenters Shaun Dunne, Shane McGoldrick and Gerry O’Connor literally jumps out at you. Serious analysis, enthusiastic banter and cracking interviews are the main items on the menu but literally anything can, and frequently does, crop up along the way. The podcast has grown to be one of the most popular in the country in the last few months – and it’s easy to see why. If you haven’t yet given it a listen, be sure to get on board. It’s a sheer delight.


The impressive improvements to the Showgrounds over the last number of years will stand as a lasting legacy to this current period in the club’s history. And striking features of recent developments are two magnificent initiatives – the Showgrounds Wall and the Outdoor Museum.

The Wall affords fans of the club an opportunity to honour special people in their lives – past and present – by erecting a special tile on a new commemorative wall at the Showgrounds. It’s a lovely idea and will be treasured by generations to come. It’s proved to be a great success with phase 3 of the Wall now in construction.

The Outdoor Museum acknowledges some of the legendary players, committee members and volunteers who gave invaluable service to the Bit O Red down through the years. From Dixie Dean to Tony Fagan to the modern heroes, it’s a who’s who in the storied history of Sligo Rovers. Earlier this year, the club produced a special video, offering a virtual tour of the Museum with narration by Jim Gray, and it’s well worth a look. These two initiatives are unique in the League of Ireland and emphasise yet again what a wonderful community club we are fortunate to have on our doorstep.


Rovers continue to produce top quality players through their Academy system, a fact underlined by the number of graduates currently operating to a successful level with the first team. The appointment of Conor O’Grady as Head of Academy and the introduction of under 17 and under 19 girls teams this season are important developments which will underpin the success of the under-age structures of the club for boys and girls over the coming years. A number of Academy players received international recognition this season.


After the commendable progress during 2020, recruitment during the off-season was crucial to moving forward this season. And manager Liam Buckley certainly delivered the goods. Securing the services of the vastly experienced, Greg Bolger, was a smart piece of business as the former St. Pat’s, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers midfielder, has been immense this term. But several other new recruits have been just as influential. Jordan Gibson was a class act in the early part of the campaign while Robbie McCourt, Colm Horgan and Walter Figuera all played a part in establishing Rovers as genuine Euro contenders. Adam McDonnell and Andre Wright added further depth to the squad when they joined in the Summer window.


If you ever needed proof that Sligo Rovers Football Club is more than just about winning trophies, the masterful documentary by Oisin and Michael Moran offers compelling evidence. ‘Shine’ pays due homage to the glory days and those who fashioned them but, more importantly in the context of the overall status of Rovers as a cherished part of Sligo’s fabric, it’s a deep dig into the very core of the club. Interviews with long standing fans reveal the extraordinary sense of identity associated with following Sligo Rovers. The interview with Joe Martyn, who is in his 90s and retains a boyhood love for his local club, sums it all up perfectly. The gorgeous music of Pearse McGloughlin adds to the uplifting experience.


The emergence of Johnny Kenny has been one of the great joys of the season. Rovers has always been a welcoming club and we’ve had many genuine heroes to acclaim from all over the World but there is always something special about a young local lad stepping up the mark. Johnny Kenny didn’t lick his talent off the stones, as they say. His dad, Johnny, was a mesmerising winger back in the day, and a smashing lad to boot. Young Johnny has all his Dad’s flair and pace and exuberance, but he’s a star in his own right and the Showgrounds faithful love him. Three goals in as many games for the Irish U.19s recently underline his unlimited potential.


Any win over Shamrock Rovers is to be treasured so I had to include the 1-0 victory over the Hoops at Tallaght early in the season in the top twenty. The result, fashioned from a highly efficient display, took Rovers to the top of the table, which made the victory all the sweeter. The only goal of the game was a cracker, Jordan Gibson’s inch-perfect pass duly dispatched in classic style by Romeo Parkes. In the words of the co-commentator on the night, it was ‘defin-nightly’ a memorable occasion for the Bit O Red.


The gift that keeps on giving. He dazzled us during his playing career, now he’s delightfully entertaining us as a co-commentator on some of Rovers matches. Football is the beautiful game but few see the beauty in it the way Joey sees it. He’s on a different level, maybe even a different planet, when it comes to expressing the sheer joy and fulfilment one gets from watching twenty-two athletes battling for supremacy on a football field. Exhilarating. Welcome to Heaven, Welcome to Heaven.


Beautiful moment of the season goes to Rovers decision to dedicate their win over Finn Harps at Ballybofey on May 28th to Sligo’s Special Olympian Joseph Cullen. Earlier that week, Joseph was discharged from Sligo University Hospital after 114 days battling Covid 19. A fanatical Bit O Red fan, Joseph won a Gold medal in the 100m Medley at the World Summer Games in Athens in 2011.


Fans were welcomed back to the Showgrounds for the first time since March for a League game against Drogheda United on June 12th.Unfortunately, the occasion fell a bit flat when the Drogs snatched a shock 2-1 win. However, supporters who gained entry to the home game against Bohs a few weeks later were treated to champagne football as the Bit O Red produced a sensational performance, trouncing the Dubliners 4-0. A special night.


Rovers reputation as one of the most progressive clubs in the country was further enhanced with the publication of a comprehensive development plan. An ambitious project, costed at €17.3m, will include major developments at the Showgrounds as well as the provision of a new Academy complex on a separate site. Spearheaded by Chairman, Tommy Higgins and the Board, and with the endorsement of the FAI and Sligo County Council, the scheme will see the enhancement of the existing Treacy Avenue and Railway End stands, the construction of new stands at Jinks Avenue and the Church Hill end of the Stadium, the installation of new floodlights, turnstiles, shops, corporate and hospitality facilities, upgraded media facilities and a Gym. When complete, it will comprise a 6,000 all seater stadium.


In what is seen as a highly significant development, Rovers, in partnership with IT Sligo, announced plans to form a senior women’s team with a view to joining the SSE Airtricity National League from the 2022 season. The IT extended sports scholarships to women soccer players, giving them the opportunity to play at senior level for Rovers. The initiative will give female footballers in the region something to work towards academically and in sporting terms.


For the second year in row, Rovers defied the odds to claim a place in European football. A poor run of form after the Summer break threatened to derail the club’s Euro bid but when the pressure came on in a tense run-in to the League, Rovers delivered in stunning fashion. A 2-2 draw away to Finn Harps was followed by three crucial wins on the bounce, 2-0 at home to Drogheda, a dramatic 1-0 win over Longford at the Showgrounds and then a pulsating 3-0 victory away to St. Pat’s. A place in the 2022 Europa Conference League had been secured with two games to spare, ensuring that the loyal Red Army will be on the march next Summer.


With attentional already turning to the 2022 campaign, ambitious Rovers wasted no time in securing the services of several key players from this season’s squad. All seven players nominated for the coveted Player of the Year award 2021 have been tied down for the forthcoming campaign. They are Ed McGinty, Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Robbie McCourt, Gary Buckley, Johnny Kenny and Greg Bolger. Other valuable member of the 2021 squad, including Colm Horgan, Adam McDonnell and David Cawley are also on board.

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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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Sligo Rovers 1-2 FH Hafnarfjörður: European dream slips through Bit O’Red’s grasp

Sligo Rovers controlled proceedings but were wasteful in their second leg tie against FH Hafnarfjörður, condemning the Bit O’Red to a 3-1 aggregate defeat. All the goals in the Showgrounds came from set-pieces, with carnage in Rovers’ box from a wide free-kick and a penalty for each side providing the action on Thursday evening.

Rovers made 3 changes from the first leg with Regan Donelon, David Cawley and Walter Figueira replacing Colm Horgan, Greg Bolger and Mark Byrne for a game where attack was necessary considering our first leg deficit. FH made one change from the previous clash, with Vuk Dimitrijevic replacing Helgason.

The first half was dominated by Sligo Rovers and their continued presence in Hafnarfjörður’s box led to a number of chances and corners, but no goals. The most jarring miss came in the middle of the half when Romeo Parkes controlled a long ball and drove into the box but the chance from his cutback was put wide. FH’s timewasting would prove to be beneficial. A fairly innocuous tackle from Lewis Banks led to a free-kick and pinball in the box, which ultimately resulted in the opening goal of the match for Hafnarfjörður, against the run of play and on the stroke of half time.

It went from bad to worse for Rovers after the break as Regan Donelon was caught in possession and gave away a penalty, pulling down Jónsson in the box. Lennon made no mistake in converting past McNicholas’ dive to make it 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate. There was hope after a bout of substitutions with a fresh and a familiar face coming on with Adam McDonnell and Seamas Keogh making club debuts. It was another substitute who brought Rovers a faint glint of hope with a late penalty but in the end, it wasn’t to be.

This one was hard to write, folks. We’ll be back again with Waterford away on Sunday.


SLIGO ROVERS:  L McNicholas, L Banks, G Buckley, S Blaney, R Donelon (D Kane 70), J Gibson (S Keogh 78), D Cawley (C Horgan 70), N Morahan (A McDonnell 78), W Figueira, R De Vries (J Kenny 58), R Parkes.

FH HAFNARFJÖRÐUR: G Nielsen, G Kristjánsson, P Vidarsson, G Þórisson, H Gunnarsson, B Sverrisson (Róbertsson 80), E Jonsson, J Jónsson (Arnarsson 90), V Dimitrijevic (Guðlaugsson 73), S Lennon (Hreidarsson 90), M Vilhjálmsson.

REF: Luis Teixeira

Rovers Ratings

Luke McNicholas: 6 – Was helpless for both goals.

Lewis Banks: 6 – Was productive in the first half.

Garry Buckley: 6 – Shuttled the ball well when in possession.

Shane Blaney: 6 – Solid despite the goals.

Regan Donelon: 5 – Was sloppy in giving away the penalty. Taken off for Kane.

David Cawley: 6 – His playmaking efforts helped us in the first half but once the second goal went in and heads dropped, he couldn’t make his mark on the game. Hooked for Horgan.

Niall Morahan: 6 – Wasn’t troubled by FH’s midfielders. Replaced by McDonnell late on.

Walter Figueira: 6 – Did well in the first half but as FH sat deeper he couldn’t work his magic.

Jordan Gibson: 6 – Didn’t stamp his authority on the game in the way he would’ve wanted. Subbed off for Keogh.

Ryan De Vries: 6 – Didn’t get much of the ball on the left. Kenny came on in his place on the hour mark.

Romeo Parkes: 6 – Alone up top at times.

Johnny Kenny: 7 – It’s hard to justify him starting with only one day’s training before the game but come on, we looked a different side with him on the pitch.

Danny Kane: 6 – Did decent in a somewhat new role to him.

Colm Horgan: 6 – Grabbed the ball and brought it back to the centre circle after the consolation so the mentality is there!

Seamas Keogh: N/A – Probably wasn’t the most enjoyable debut for the local lad but he now has more European appearances than Pelé so… every cloud?

Adam McDonnell: N/A – Didn’t get enough time on his debut to warrant 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 v Longford- Match Preview

Sligo Rovers face Longford Town FC this Saturday, for the third time this season. The game will be held away from home, at Bishopsgate, adding diff iculty with their more compact and narrow pitch.

Sligo Rovers sit 3rd in the table with 35 points, on an equal footing with St.Pats and Shamrock Rovers who lie in second and first place. Longford lie in 10th place, at the very bottom of the table.

This season, the previous fixtures against this side have both resulted in wins for us, 1-0 and most recently 2-0. However, they were not easy victories, the opposition threatened continuously, pressing high for large periods of the game. In both fixtures Longford had several close chances on target.

Last week seen an outstanding performance for the Bit O’Red, earning a 4-0 win over Bohs, who were also a strong side who played very well. This performance will be remembered among supporters not only for it’s brilliant score-line but for the hat-trick achieved by Johnny Kenny.

Team News

Our defense is slightly altered as Mc Court cannot play due to a wrist injury. Defender Donelan, who played our fixture against Bohs is doubtful due to a hamstring injury. Horgan is likely to start in replacement of one of these defenders. On a positive note, Gary Buckley has recovered from his injury and can return for this game. The midfielder was absent for the last 2 fixtures and the absence of his link-up play mid-field was noticed. His return brings a more solid yet adaptable mid-field ahead of the fixture.

New signing and academy graduate, Seamus Keogh, is awaiting national clearance but it likely to start against Longford, either on the starting 11 or as a substitute. Keogh plays as an attacking midfielder and although it will take time for him to gel with the squad, the 19 year old has a rack of experience through playing for Premier League Southampton and through the captaining of the underage national side. His wealth of experience and enthusiasm as a young player will prove an energetic addition to our side.


Looking at the previous 5 games for both sides, Sligo Rovers have managed 2 losses, 2 wins and 1 draw. Longford have struggled much more with 3 losses, 2 draws and no recent win. Statistically, looking at the table and recent fixtures, Sligo Rovers do seem the much more dominant side and likely winners of this fixture. However, Longford can create chances, and are fast on the counter attack. Aaron Mc Nally is probably Longford’s biggest threat ahead of this fixture. Mc Nally has netted most of the goals for his side in recent games and has speed.

Even with their recent losses to St.Pats and Waterford, Longford managed to score each game. All of their recent draws seen the side score also, resulting in several 1-1 score lines. The side clearly has an ability to score regardless of the final scoreline. Sligo Rovers however are much further up the table, 26 points ahead of Longford and have impressed consistently since the season began. The Bit O’Red have scored double the number of goals as Longford so far this season which makes a Sligo Rovers win very likely.

However, as I said, Longford can score, and tend to score every game, even when they lose. So my prediction is 2-1 to Sligo Rovers. If Kenny does start, and follows his form from last weekend, one of our goals is very likely to come from him.