Ireland-West Sports

Saturday 13th October 2012

The Mark of champions as Quigley has the last strike in Sligo’s dramatic Airtricity League triumph

Sligo Rovers players and supporters after their 3-2 Airtricity title win at the Showgrounds. Photo by Donie Conway.

SLIGO ROVERS 3 ST PAT’S 2

 

Sligo Rovers 35-year wait for their third League of Ireland title ended at the Showgrounds yesterday afternoon when referee Damien Hancock blew the final whistle on their thrilling 3-2 win over leading challengers St Patrick’s Athletic at a heaving, throbbing Showgrounds packed to its extended 5,621 capacity

 Hancock proved the central figure when he awarded Sligo a controversial penalty in the 89th minute, which former Pat’s favourite Mark Quigley dispatched to earn the three points and the 2012 league title.Manager Ian Baraclough, who delivered the title after two near-misses by his predecessor Paul Cook, was at pains to deflect the credit away from himself. “It’s not about one person,” he said. “One person heads it up and that’s me, but to win you need good staff, good players, good backing from the chairman and good fans, and I’ve not wanted for anything.”

Noted for his calm demeanour ever since Sligo took over top spot on April 6, Baraclough said: “If I’m calm and look as though I’m in control, that transmits to the players and they’re calm on the pitch.”

He also admitted that he had made mistakes — and learnt from them. “I made a wrong call against UCD when we lost 1-0. I played two in midfield against their three and I took that on board.” In their next meeting, Sligo won 3-0.

Local players have been key men in Sligo’s previous title wins — Paddy Monaghan (1937), Paul McGee and Tony Fagan (1977) — and this time the mantle seemed to fall on Tubbercurry’s pride and joy, Raf Cretaro who, in the space of two minutes, broke the hearts of the travelling Pat’s support.

His first goal, which was due reward for a period of sustained Sligo pressure, came after 21 minutes. Ross Gaynor’s pass gave winger Pascal Millien space to run at the defence and, as he cut in from the left, he spotted Cretaro unmarked. Cretaro pounced on the pass, raced into the penalty area and slid the ball under the advancing Barry Murphy as the Showgrounds erupted as much with relief as anything.

  

Rafael Cretaro pounces to score Sligo Rovers 2nd goal v St. Pats at the Showgrounds on Saturday last. Photo by Donie Conway.

Two minutes later, Ross Gaynor’s corner from the right was flicked on by Gavin Peers to the far post where an unmarked Cretaro had the simplest of tasks in heading to the net. His part in the goal was redemption for Peers who, just prior to the first goal, had missed Sligo’s best chance when heading over a good Lee Lynch cross from less than 10 yards.

Both teams adopted a 4-3-3 passing game but Sligo, in the lively Quigley and Haitian Millien, had the potent game-breakers, which Pat’s lacked. Sligo selected Jeff Henderson at right-back for only his second League game, while Pat’s had Greg Bolger replacing the injured Jake Kelly.

Pat’s didn’t really threaten Sligo goalkeeper Gary Rogers in the first 45 minutes. A Christy Fagan free, which whistled just past the post, and a Jake Carroll header from a Ger O’Briencross, which Rogers handled comfortably, were their best efforts.

Pat’s thought they had an early chance in the second half when Sean O’Connor went down under Peers’ challenge in the penalty area, but referee Hancock wasn’t impressed and booked O’Connor for simulation instead.

Sligo began to defend deeply as Pat’s began the half with striker Vinny Faherty replacing Greg Bolger, who had been booked in the first half for a tackle on Danny Ventre. The home side paid the price for going defensive after 52 minutes when Christy Fagan got clear and shot past Rogers to bring Pat’s back into the game.

Five minutes later, Sligo had a let-off when an O’Connor free from the right clipped the crossbar, and two minutes later O’Connor passed another free short to Chris Forrester, who found the net with a stunning shot.

Sligo were now in a battle to regain their early dominance but, despite their best efforts, it seemed a task beyond them. The best chance of the remaining minutes fell to Pat’s sub Anto Flood, whose shot from the left went behind off the crossbar.

Then came the dramatic intervention of referee Hancock. After being alerted by linesman Damien McGraith, he deemed that Conor Kenna handled the ball when Peers connected with sub John Dillon’s corner.

The game ended on a sour note when Hancock dished out red cards to Sligo captain Ventre and Pat’s winger O’Connor after a bout of pushing. Fortunately, in O’Connor’s case it was for a second yellow, so he won’t miss St Pat’s FAI Cup final date with Derry City on November 4.

 

Rovers players celebrate their title win with a champagne shower.

Sligo Rovers: Rogers; Henderson (Cawley 53), McGuinness, Peers, Gaynor; Lynch, Ventre, Ndo (Buchanan 85); Cretaro, Quigley, Millien (Dillon 76).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Murphy; O’Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Chambers (Russell 70), Carroll, Bolger (Faherty, ht); Forrester (Flood 70), Fagan, O’Connor.

Referee: D Hancock

Friday 5th October 2012

Sligo Rovers secure hard earned point in Cork towards title

Cork City 0-0 Sligo Rovers

There was plenty of endeavour but no goals in a lively encounter at Turner's Cross  Mark McNulty saves from Raf Cretaro.

Joseph Ndo tries to get past a Cork City defender & right Mark McNulty Cork keeper saves from Raf Cretaro.

Sligo Rovers have edged nearer their first Premier Division title since 1977, following this well-earned point in a 0-0 draw against Cork City at Turner’s Cross.

The visitors dominated the opening half with their slick passing game, and they went close on a couple of occasions through Danny Ventre and Raffaele Cretaro.

Cork were much better after the break, having brought on substitute Colin Healy at the break, and they nearly snatched a winner when a Kalen Spillane header struck the post late on.

The Bit o’ Red came to Cork on the back of a 13-match unbeaten run in the league and just one defeat all season in their 26-game programme to date.

The home side themselves had shown some good recent form, picking up ten points in their previous five league encounters and they gave a senior start to teenage midfielder Brian Lenihan.

The visitors started with the same side that defeated Derry City 4-1 at the Showgrounds last Saturday and they certainly had the better of the opening half hour.

Sligo took the game to the Rebels, with Pascal Millien, in particular, looking very dangerous on the right.

Captain Ventre belted a 25-yard shot inches wide and skipper Cretaro flashed a shot just wide of Mark McNulty’s goal after picking up a stray Daryl Horgan pass.

City introduced former Republic of Ireland international Healy at half time for debutant Linehan to add more experience to an over-worked midfield.

The hosts were more settled after this change, but they lacked punch in attack where lone striker Vinny Sullivan was isolated.

But right-sided midfielder Ian Turner did strike a good low shot on 65 minutes which brought a good diving save from Gary Rogers.

Minutes later a Turner corner-kick was headed against the Sligo post as Cork pushed for a winning goal.

But the crucial point sees Sligo move six points clear at the top with just three games remaining.

Cork City: McNulty; Murphy, Spillane, K Murray, Kavanagh; Dunleavy, D Horgan (Kenny, 84 mins), Duggan, Lenihan (Healy, h-t), Ian Turner; Sullivan.

Sligo Rovers: Rogers; Conneely (Cawley, 43 mins), McGuinness, Peers, Gaynor, Millien (Buchanan, 82), Lynch, Ndo, Ventre, Cretaro, Quigley.

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

Saturday 29th September 2012

Sligo Rovers roll Derry City aside to collect 3 more points towards title

Sligo Rovers 4 – Derry City  1

Raffaele Cretaro slots home the first of his two goals  

Raffaele Cretaro slots home the first of his two goals

Sligo Rovers capitalised on Friday evening’s stalemate between Drogheda United and St Patrick’s Athletic with a 4-1 win over Derry City at the Showgrounds.

The win now sees the Bit O’Red open up an eight point gap between themselves and their nearest challengers at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division with four games remaining.

Goals from Gavin Peers, Lee Lynch and a Raffaele Cretaro brace gave the league leaders a comfortable win over Declan Devin’s side who replied through a second half Mark Farren strike.

Sligo boss Ian Baraclough was without long-term injury victims Danny North (knee), Iarfhliath Davoren (heel) and Alan Keane (metatarsal), while Gavin Peers took his place in the starting XI, after he missed out on last Friday’s scoreless draw with Bray.

Derry made the short journey south without suspended midfielder Barry Molloy and the injured Stephen McLaughlin who failed to pass a late fitness test, but they did welcome back defenders Simon Madden and Ryan McBride who returned to the squad after serving bans.

The game was only three minutes old when Sligo carved out the first chance of the game. Joseph Ndo’s short free found Ross Gaynor who found space down the left and his searching cross was met by the head of Jason McGuinness. The towering centre half rose higher than his marker, but saw his effort sail wide of the Derry post.

City had their first sight of goal soon after when Ruaidhri Higgins got on the end of Patrick McEleney’s cross from the right, Higgins failed to put enough power behind his header to trouble Sligo ‘keeper Gary Rogers.

Rovers threatened again soon after, and on seven minutes a move that involved Mark Quigley, Pascal Millien and Lee Lynch resulted in the latter’s through ball finding Cretaro. From a tight angle, Cretaro attempted to chip Doherty but the ball ended up on the roof of the Candystripes net.

Declan Devine’s charges eventually folded to Sligo pressure on 14 minutes as Millien’s mazy brought him past Kevin Deery, Stewart Greacen and Ryan McBride. The Haitian’s low drive was met by the legs of Doherty who did well to get down low and deflect the ball away for a corner.

The resulting set piece caused confusion in the Derry area and Gavin Peers seemed to get the last touch before the ball was turned into the Candystripes’ net after a series off attempts to clear the ball from danger.

In front of a crowd of 4,083, the FAI Cup holders thought they had doubled their lead on 25 minutes when Doherty spilled a rasping Cretaro shot into the path of Ndo who finished past the City net-minder only for linesman Paul Deering to have adjudged the Cameroon international offside.

Sligo enjoyed a long-lasting purple patch from here until the half-time whistle. Millien, who caused Derry left back Dermot MCaffrey a host of problems all evening went close on the half-hour mark when he blasted a shot narrowly over the opposition crossbar.

Sligo did eventually grab their second of the contest ten minutes before half time. A mix up between Doherty and centre-half Greacen resulted in the Scotsman’s sliced clearance falling to man-of-the-match Cretaro, who expertly curled the ball past Doherty and into the City net.

Rogers was the first of the two goalkeepers to be called upon in the second period. Mark Farren’s neat header set up Higgins whose drive had Rogers at full stretch, but the Donegal man’s shot dragged narrowly wide.

Sligo had their third on 56 minutes when Lee Lynch’s through ball found Cretaro who fired past the on-coming Doherty and into the net. This was Sligo’s fifth time in as many games to score three or more goals, therefore breaking a club record.

The game ebbed and flowed from here on in,Derry heads not dropping despite the margin and they claimed a reply on 69 minutes when Higgins’ exquisite through ball found former Sligo striker David McDaid who finished with aplomb past Rogers to cut Rovers’ lead to two.

This brought on an air of discontent around the Maugheraboy venue for a short period, but the home fans didn’t have to wait long for a fourth. Simon Madden’s misplaced throw-in fell straight to the feet of Lynch who bore down on the Candystripes goal and finished well to restore the Bit o’Red’s three goal lead with 14 minutes left to play.

It was the eventual winners who finished the tie the better side. Millien and substitute Liam Buchanan had chances for a fifth but Doherty was equal to both efforts on 83 and 86 minutes respectively. A late McBride free-kick which sailed high into the Sligo night sky was the closest the visitors came to a second.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Ross Gaynor; Pascal Millien, Joseph Ndo, Lee Lynch, Danny Ventre, Raffaele Cretaro; Mark Quigely.

Subs: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, David Cawley (for Lynch 80), John Dillon, Liam Buchanan (for Quigley 68), Ryan Connolly (for Cretaro 80), Martin Owens.

Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Dermot McCafferty, Stewart Greacen, Ryan McBride; Patrick McEleney, Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry McNamee, Kevin Deery; Mark Farren, David McDaid.

Subs: Eugene Ferry, Shane McEleney (for Greacen 74), Conor Murphy (for McEleney 64), Ryan Curran (for Deery 83), Caoimhin Bonner, Michael Duffy.

Friday 21st September 2012

Rovers drop two points in Bray but gain one very important point?

Bray Wanderers  0 Sligo Rovers  0

Sligo's Ross Gaynor challenges Bray's John Mulroy for a high ball  

Sligo’s Ross Gaynor challenges Bray’s John Mulroy for a high ball & Ian Baraclough Rovers manager will be happy with the point gained in Bray.

Sligo Rovers dropped two points in the Airtricity League Premier Division title race when they were held to a 0-0 draw against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.

Sligo’s Raffaele Cretaro had appeals for a penalty turned down when brought down by Massey in the first half.

Cretaro, Jeff Henderson and David Crawley had chances for the away side but they couldn’t find a way past Bray goal Darren Quigley.

Shane O’Connor had good chance for Bray before ‘Marty’ Waters forced Gary Rogers into a superb save to ensure a share of the spoils.

Both teams had spells of control and possession and either team could have taken the three points.

Mark Quigley had the first real chance of the game as he was put through down the right but he chose not to square the ball to the unmarked Danny Ventre and the chance was lost.

Straight down the other end and Jason Byrne almost gave the home side the lead but he fired over from 18 yards.

Sligo Rovers had a shout for a penalty after ten minutes but they had a bigger shout eight minutes later. Cretaro looked to have been fouled by Massey but referee Anthony Buttimer waved play-on.

Mark Quigley was again involved for Sligo but Darren Quigley made a good save to tip over. A move involving Quigley, Lee Lynch and Seamus Conneely almost created a goal but Lynch could not get a touch at the back post.

Pressure from Shane O’Connor on the edge of the penalty box created a chance for Jason Byrne but his shot was saved. Bray continued to create and Kieran Marty Waters crossed but Byrne couldn’t reach the ball.

Sligo had a chance of their own minutes later as Ross Gaynor crossed from the right but Jeff Henderson failed to get his strike on target.

Bray continued to press and Dean Zambra’s shot was deflected by Waters which forced Gary Rogers into a superb save.

The Seagulls had another great chance in the opening five minutes of the second half. Shane O’Connor progressed down the right before finding Jason Byrne infield. Byrne returned the ball for O’Connor to strike narrowly wide.

Bray continued their good start to the second half when Waters’ corner was not properly cleared and Daire Doyle let fly from distance that left Rogers scrambling across his goal. The ball drifted inches wide of the post.

The home side continued to create and Rogers had to be alert to rush out to gather under pressure from Kieran Marty Waters after Sean Houston’s good through ball.

Mark Quigley went close once again with 20minutes remaining but he could not steer Gaynor’s cross on target. Cretaro had a chance of his own after controlling David Cawley’s cross, but his weak shot was saved by Quigley in the Bray goal.

Rovers begun to over-run Bray with 15 minutes to go, as Joseph Ndo found Mark Quigley but his quick-fire 35-yard strike went over the crossbar.

Seven minutes from full time, Cawley almost broke the deadlock. Mark Quigley’s ball found the midfielder but Darren Quigley made a smart save.

Adam Mitchell almost handed Sligo the lead with two minutes to go when his skewed clearance from Gaynor’s cross could have ended up in the back of the net.

And that turned out to be the last chance of the game as Sligo Rovers dropped two points in the Premier Division title race. As for Bray, they worked very hard on the night, created plenty of chances and were very much worthy of a point.

Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, Dane Massey, Adam Mitchell, Danny O’Connor, Shane O’Connor, Sean Houston, Dean Zambra, Daire Doyle, Kieran Marty Waters, John Mulroy (Adam Hanlon, 84 mins), Jason Byrne.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Seamus Conneely, Jason McGuinness, Jeff Henderson (Ryan Connolly, 85 mins), Ross Gaynor, Danny Ventre (Pascal Millien, 71), David Crawley, Joseph Ndo, Lee Lynch, Raffaele Cretaro, Mark Quigley.

Monday 10th September 2012

Sligo Rovers 3-0 Dundalk

Mark Quigley scored for Sligo, who moved another step closer to the league title    

League leaders Sligo Rovers strengthened their grip on this year’s Airtricity Premier Division title with a comfortable 3-0 win over Dundalk at the Showgrounds.

Goals from Mark Quigley, Gavin Peers and Liam Buchanan’s first  for the Bit o’Red saw the Connacht side claim their 15th win of this year’s league campaign in front of their biggest crowd of the season.

Sligo’s Iarfhlaith Davoren and Danny North were both unavailable due to long term injuries, but Ross Gaynor returned to the Rovers starting XI in place of Pascal Millien who missed last Monday’s win over Bohemians due to suspension.

Dundalk welcomed back top scorer Gary Shanahan who returned from a ban but central midfield pair John Mountney and Mark O’Brien (both suspended) and winger Lorcan Shannon (thigh) all missed out.

Darius Kierans made four changes to the side that lost out to UCD last week with Liam Burns, Nathan Murphy, Stephen McDonnell and Gary Shanahan all returned to the starting XI.

Young trio right-back Robbie Gaul (knee), central midfielder Garreth Brady (ankle) and the versatile Peter Thomas (thigh) also continued their time on the sidelines.

Full-back Eoghan Osbourne was a late withdrawal due to an injury he received in the warm up.

After a quiet start, Sligo were responsible for the first opportunity
of the game in front of a crowd of 3,265, when Gaynor sent his shot across the face of goal on nine minutes, just two minutes before they found the opener.

Winning possession inside his own half, Mark Quigley’s searching 20 yard pass found Lee Lynch.

The young midfielder drove down the Dundalk left, beat his marker and returned the pass to the oncoming Quigley at the edge of the Dundalk area.

The former Lillywhites striker finished with aplomb, neatly finding the corner of Peter Cherrie’s net.

The Louthmen almost grabbed an instant equaliser but Gary Rogers got behind Mark Griffin’s powerful drive.

The current FAI Cup holders went close through Cretaro and Conneely before they were forced to replace full-back Alan Keane and goalscorer Quigley with winger Pascal Millien and recent acquisition Liam Buchanan on 25 and 29 minutes, respectively, through injury.

A Griffin free-kick from 20 yards failed to test Rogers on 31 minutes as the former Drogheda net minder comfortably claimed the striker’s weak shot.

The home side were unlucky not to double their lead nine minutes from the break as Buchanan found himself just out of reach of a Cretaro pass yards from goal after both players combined at the edge of the Dundalk area.

They connected again on 42 minutes but Cherrie was quick off his line to palm away Buchanan’s attempted lob after he got on the end of a superb pass from Cretaro.

The second half was only four minutes old when Sligo did find their second.

Cherrie failed to claim Ross Gaynor’s free from the right and after the ball evaded the heads of several Dundalk defenders, Gavin Peers was on hand to fire home.

Indeed, the Reds could have gone further ahead only three minutes later as Buchanan brought a great reaction save out of Cherrie from close range.

Danny Ventre almost gifted Dundalk a passage back into the game on 64 minutes when his mis-placed back-pass towards Rogers sent Stephen McDonnell bearing down on the home goal.

McDonnell steadied himself before shooting, but his low drive shaved the foot of the Sligo post and bounced to safety.

The league leaders were comfortable from here on in and were never forced to exert themselves to hold on to their lead.

Dundalk were resigned to long shots and Michael Rafter epitomised this on 82 minutes when his 30 yard attempt flew high into the Sligo night sky.

Substitute Millien’s quick feet frustrated and confused the
Lilliywhites’ rearguard throughout and he almost found the Bit o’Red’s third on 83 minutes when he beat two Dundalk defenders, but was unlucky to see his shot from an awkward angle end up on the roof of Cherrie’s net.

Buchanan rounded off a great night for Rovers on 86 minutes when he claimed his first for the club.

McGuinness challenged Cherrie to Joseph Ndo’s in-swinging corner and while the goalkeeper got a touch on the ball, he could only direct into the path of the former Dunfermline man, who was left with the simplest of tap-ins.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor, Seamus Conneely, Joseph Ndo, Danny Ventre, Lee Lynch, Raffaele Cretaro, Mark Quigley.

Subs: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, John Dillon, Pascal Millien (for Keane, 25), David Cawley (for Ventre 84), Ryan Connolly, Liam Buchanan (for Quigley 29).

Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Paul Whelan, Derek Foran, Liam Burns, Nathan Murphy, Stephen Maher, Chris Shields, Gary Shanahan, Stephen O’Donnell, Michael Rafter, Mark Griffin.

Subs: Chris Reilly (for Shanahan 72), Philip McCabe, Conor McDonnell, William Woods, Barry Conlon, Paul Walsh (for Burns 53).

Monday 3rd September 2012

Bit O Red Sligo Rovers continue their winning ways at a packed Showground’s

Sligo Rovers 3-1 Bohemians

Rafaele Cretaro of Sligo celebrates scoring his side's second goal with fellow goalscorer Mark Quigley.   

Rafaele Cretaro of Sligo celebrates scoring his side’s second goal with fellow goalscorer Mark Quigley and Lee Lynch lets fly at the Bohs goals.

Sligo Rovers reopened a nine-point lead at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division after recording a 3-1 victory against Bohemians at the Showgrounds.

First-half goals from Mark Quigley, Raffaele Cretaro and Lee Lynch were enough for the FAI Ford Cup holders to extend their lead over nearest rivals Drogheda United.

Bohs could only muster a last-minute goal from substitute Keith Ward despite worrying the Showgrounds outfit on several occasions throughout the tie.

Sligo boss Ian Baraclough was without the services of defenders Ross Gaynor and Iarfhlaith Davoren through suspension and injury, while Danny North begins his recovery process after undergoing surgery on a cruciate ligament injury last week.

Seamus Conneely deputised at left-back as Pascal Millien returned to the starting XI in place of Romuald Boco who joined his former manager Paul Cook at Accrington Stanley on Thursday evening.

The Gypsies travelled west without midfielder Ryan McEvoy who continued to struggle with an ankle injury he received against Shels recently.

Owen Heary missed out with a back injury and Everton target Kevin Feely also sat out the game through suspension.

Former Sligo winger Kevin Devaney, recently added to the Dalymount squad took his place on the bench.

Manager Aaron Callaghan made three changes to the side that beat Avondale in last week’s FAI Cup tie, bringing Luke Byrne, John O’Connor and Dinny Corcoran into his starting XI.

Bohs were the last side to beat Rovers under the shadow of Benbulben in early August of last year.

It was Sligo who started the brighter side on a wet Showgrounds surface as they carved out the first of two early chances.

The first of these came on nine minutes when Quigley’s through ball meant for Lynch was deflected away by a Bohs defender, only for the ball to fall to Pascal Millien who’s curling shot from 20 yards was easily held by Bohs keeper Craig Sexton.

Lynch saw his shot sky over the crossbar a minute later.

Bohs enjoyed some good possession in the centre of midfield early on, but it was Sligo who pressed harder for the opener and it came on 12 minutes when Quigley claimed his 11th goal of the season as he met a searching Lynch cross from the right with his forehead to squeeze the ball past Sexton.

Bohs pushed for an equaliser and almost had it on 15 minutes as a Danny Joyce cross was hooked over the head of the stranded Gary Rogers only for Gavin Peers to acrobatically clear the ball off the Rovers goal line.

The Bit o’Red doubled their lead on 26 minutes when full back Alan Keane found Cretaro at the edge of the Bohemians area.

Cretaro’s quick turn and powerful shot skidded on the turf in front of Sexton and bounced over the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper to double Rovers’ lead.

Bohs, to their credit, continued to press Sligo but the centre-half pairing of Peers and Jason McGuinness, coupled with some fine commanding of his area from Rovers keeper Gary Rogers kept the Dalymount outfit at bay.

Last year’s FAI Ford Cup winners extended their lead seven minutes before the break as Keane broke down the right and picked out Lynch who in turn found the bottom corner of the Gypsies’ net from 15 yards.

Despite having a mountain to climb, Bohs created two good chances in the opening minutes of the second period.

Rogers had to be on his toes to save a low drove from Pender on 49 minutes, two minutes before diving at the feet of Corcoran as the former Drogheda striker won a race with Peers to a low cross from Luke Byrne.

The home goal was living a charmed life and Pender almost grabbed a reply on the hour mark as his rasping shot cannoned off the upright of the post.

Sligo then went close twice in quick succession through Quigley and Cretaro, before Rogers did enough to keep out Joyce’s shot from distance on 70 minutes.

The Sligo goalmouth continued to live on the edge as Corcoran’s shot proved too hot for Rogers to handle with 19 minutes remaining.

The former St Pat’s keeper had to recover quickly to protect the ball from the incoming Kevin Devaney.

Bohs did get a consolation goal deep into injury-time when, after a goalmouth scramble, substitute Keith Ward blasted home unmarked at the edge of the Sligo six yard area.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Seamus Conneely, Raffaele Cretaro, Lee Lynch, Joseph Ndo, Danny Ventre, Pascal Millien, Mark Quigley.

Subs: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, David Cawley (for Ndo 70), Liam Buchanan (for Millien 70), Ryan Connolly, John Dillon, Martin Owen (for Keane 85).

Friday 24th August 2012

St Patrick’s Athletic 0-0 Sligo Rovers

Sligo Rovers secure a precious point towards title at St. Pats expense

St Patrick's Athletic's James Chambers and David Cawley of Sligo Rovers    

St Patrick’s Athletic’s James Chambers and David Cawley of Sligo Rovers, Centre the influential Joseph Ndo & Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough will be happy with the point.

Sligo Rovers earned another precious point in their title run as they shared a 0-0 draw with St Patrick’s Athletic at Inchicore on Friday evening.

Gavin Peers headed the best chance of a tight opening half straight at Barry Murphy in the 20th minute as both teams cancelled each other out.
St Pat’s were more impressive after the break and should have earned the three points when Christy Fagan shot wide with the goal at his mercy in the 73rd minute.

Despite an early raid involving Alan Keane and Seamus Conneely in the third minute, Rovers struggled to impose themselves in the early exchanges with James Chambers the game’s most influential performer in the hosts’ midfield.
A number of corner-kicks inside the opening quarter caused a degree of discomfort for Gary Rogers on a difficult night for handling as Sligo rode out the St Pat’s storm with gradual comfort.

Joseph Ndo became increasingly influential as the contest evolved, looking to make use of Conneely and Quigley at every opportunity and it was the Cameroonian who instigated the first clear-cut opportunity for Sligo in the 20th minute.
It arrived from a free-kick from 40 yards out that was curled in by Ndo onto the head of Peers, who failed to replicate his scoring exploits from last Friday evening against Shelbourne, as he planted a header straight at Murphy from six yards.

The visitors derived confidence from that chance and looked far more relaxed defensively in dealing with a St Patrick’s side that looked bereft of ideas despite enjoying a bountiful amount of possession.
That theme continued in the opening minute of the restart with Christopher Forrestal releasing O’Connor in acres of space, but from a threatening position, the winger produced a sub-standard cross straight at Rogers.

The Bit o’ Red looked content to preserve what they had, but always remained dangerous on the counter-attack as Quigley fed the overlapping Gaynor, whose ambitious shot from 30 yards arrowed straight into Murphy’s arms.
Quigley began enjoying a greater degree of space against what seemed a tiring home defence and his link play allowed Sligo to make regular incisions in the St Patrick’s half without committing sufficient numbers to make that possession count.

St Patrick’s substitute, Jake Kelly, made an equally positive impression as he released Fagan through on goal in the 73rd minute, but with only Rogers to beat, the centre-forward dragged a poor attempt two yards wide of the upright.
Fagan was again culpable three minutes later as Ian Bermingham raced clear beyond Alan Keane, but his inviting cross was bundled wide by the onrushing Fagan from six yards.

Liam Buckley’s last throw of the dice was the introduction of Ryan Coombes ten minutes from time and the substitute almost made the breakthrough with a cracking drive from twenty yards that Rogers impressed in holding.
Despite that late pressure, St Pat’s were indebted to Murphy in the 89th minute as he produced a sprawling save to deny Danny Ventre after Lee Lynch had escaped intelligently down the left-wing.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Murphy; O’Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Forrester (Kelly, 70), Chambers (Coombes, 81), Carroll, Bolger, O’Connor (Meenan, 66); Fagan.

Sligo Rovers: Rogers; Keane, McGuinness, Peers, Gaynor; Conneely, Ventre, Ndo, Cawley (Lynch, 61), Boco; Quigley (Buchanan 90+2).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)

Monday 20th August 2012

Another slick and 3 point +3 goal performance by the bit O red

Romuald Boco scored a cracker for Sligo     
Romuald Boco (left) after scoring the 3rd goal a cracker for Sligo, Mark Quigley centre and Pascal Millien who scored the other two goals.

Sligo Rovers continued their march towards a first League of Ireland title in over three decades with a dominant 3-0 win over UCD at the Showground’s tonight.

First half goals from Mark Quigley and Pascal Millien were followed by a stunning Romuald Boco strike mid-way through the second half.

Sligo could have had a fourth in the dying moments of the tie, but Gavin Peers’ header slipped narrowly wide of the front post from a Joey Ndo corner.

The current FAI Cup holders went into the game with no fresh injury concerns with long-term injury victim Danny North (cruciate ligament) their only absentee.

Manager Ian Baraclough could afford to rest both Alan Keane and captain Danny Ventre in place of Lee Lynch and Joseph Ndo respectively, such is the strength in depth available to him.

The Students welcomed back Paul Corry from suspension while Graham Rusk (shin), Cillian Morrison (shin), Samir Belhout (foot) and John Kelly (knee) all continued their stints on the treatment table.

The league leaders took charge in the opening minutes and almost made the pressure tell on seven minutes when Jason McGuinness headed Joseph Ndo’s in-swinging corner narrowly wide.

Daniel Ledwith was responsible for UCD’s first opportunity of the evening two minutes later when he got on the end of a Paul Corry corner at the edge of the Sligo area, but sent his shot blazing over Gary Rogers’ crossbar.

Sligo enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout the first half and carved out further chances through Millien and Romuald Boco.

The Haitian international was unlucky to see his shot from outside the UCD area float over Mark McGinley’s crossbar on 20 minutes before Boco went close twice in quick succession on 21 and 25 minutes.

Martin Russell’s charges had a rare attempt at the Sligo goal soon after, but Rogers was equal to David McMillan’s long range drive.

The Bit o’Red continued to turn the screw and were eventually rewarded on 38 minutes when Millien linked up with Boco 20-yards from goal. The Benin international then supplied Quigley with a neat pass and the former Bohs striker netted his seventh goal in six games for the Sligo.

The home side didn’t have to wait long to double their advantage as Quigley’s awareness found Millien through the middle just three minutes later. The energetic striker shrugged off the attentions of his marker as he bore down on goal and sent the ball past McGinley to give Rovers a two goal lead at half-time.

UCD showed a little more promise early in the second half and Rogers had to be alert at his front post on 55 minutes to stop Dean Clarke’s goal bound shot. Not to be outdone, Sligo turned on the style with infront of a crowd of 2,375 and managed to produce two more goal scoring

opportunities courtesy of Boco and David Cawley.

The home side were well in control by the closing stages and further stamped their authority on the game 14 minutes from time with an exquisite move which involved the movement and passing skills of Quigley and Gaynor, the latter spotting Boco at the edge of the UCD area, who then unleashed an unstoppable shot into McGinley’s top corner.

Sligo saw out the remainder of the game in a confident and controlled manner.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Seamus Conneely, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Ross Gaynor, Lee Lynch, Joseph Ndo, David Cawley, Romuald Boco, Pascal Millien, Mark Quigley.

Subs: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, Alan Keane, Danny Ventre, Ryan Connolly (for Cawley 82), Raffaele Cretaro (for Millien 44), Liam Buchanan (for Boco 78).

UCD: Mark McGinley, Hugh Douglas, David McMillan, Dean Clarke, Ciaran Nangle, David O’Connor, Michael Leahy, Paul O’Connor, Paul Corry, Robert Benson, Daniel Ledwith.

Subs: Gerard Barron, James Kavanagh, Tomas Boyle (for O’Connor 88), Barry McCabe, Sean Russell (for Ledwith HT), Gary Burke (for Clarke 64), Chris Lyons.

Friday 17th August 2012

SHelbourne 1-3 SLIGO ROVERS in Tolka Park

Sligo Rovers romping away with the premier division title

for validator     

Sligo Rovers’ Jason McGuinness heads home the opener with Gavin Peers and Mark Quigley a penalty getting the other two goals.

Sligo Rovers made sure they took advantage of Drogheda United’s slip-up with a convincing 3-1 win over Shelbourne in Tolka Park on Friday night.

Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers and Mark Quigley got the precious goals for the Bit o’Red, with Paddy Kavanagh’s late goal little more than a consolation for Shels.

Rovers started as they meant to go on, with McGuinness heading them into an early lead after just two minutes. A Ross Gaynor free kick bounced high before it forced Chris Bennion to push it over his bar.

From the resulting corner Jason McGuinness powered a header into the bottom left corner of the net, past Bennion’s outstretched palm.

Both sides took their turns to attack afterwards, with the Reds never really looking like equalising. For the second goal, Gavin Peers connected with another well-delivered Ross Gaynor free inside the Shels box to poke the ball past Bennion.

Eager to claw their way back into the match, Shelbourne attempted attacks of their own straight after the goal, but it was Rovers who came closest to scoring again on 21 minutes.

A prone Pascal Millien received the ball in the home side’s box, with only a chested goal line intervention from Andy Boyle preventing a spectacular goal.

More slack Shelbourne defending nearly let Seamus Conneely score a third goal, with the ex-Galway United man heading over from an unmarked position in front of goal on 32 minutes.

Three minutes later the Bit o’Red had yet another golden opportunity to extend their lead, with yet another goal line intervention preventing it. This time Conneely’s shot from just outside the box after a lovely Rovers passing move was cleared away by Brian Shortall.

Sligo Rovers' Gavin Peers reacts towards referee Paul Tuite after a handball in the Shelbourne penalty area during last night's game. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho  Sligo Rovers’ Gavin Peers reacts strongly towards referee Paul Tuite after a handball in the Shelbourne penalty area during last night’s game

Several Sligo players felt that the defender had handled the ball, with Conneely booked for his part in the protests. Just before half time Sean Byrne had the best Shels chance of the half, but his charge into the Bit o’Red box yielded nothing with Gary Rogers more than equal to his shot.

It was more of the same as the visitors dominated the match after the break, with a loose passing and marking combining to stop Shels from creating any chances. On more than one occasion they were forced into last-ditch clearances, with Sligo’s fast-paced passing making life difficult for the Reds.

Conneely and David Cawley both had clear chances around the hour mark, with Bennion saving superbly to deny Cawley. Alan Mathews’s side began to press further up afterwards, but were nearly caught out by a counter-attacking Bit o’Red on 69 minutes.

Millien, Boco and Mark Quigley broke away after a Shelbourne corner. Quigley set Boco away on the left, and the Benin international found Millien on his own in front of goal. With only Bennion between him and a goal, the Haitian blasted the ball high and wide.

After threatening so much from open play, the third Rovers goal came from a penalty. Debutant Liam Buchanan was brought down in the box by Brian Shortall after 76 minutes. Bennion dived the right way, but Quigley’s penalty slotted comfortably under him for 3-0.

Shels closed the match out well, with Paddy Kavanagh’s 82nd minute goal ensured a lively end to the game. The substitute looked lively after coming on and took the goal well- striking it cleanly past Rogers from just inside the box.

To their credit, the Reds pushed hard in the last five minutes. Philly Hughes forced a good save out of Rogers a minute into added time, but ultimately Sligo Rovers ran out 3-1 winners in what could prove to be a crucial night in the title race.

Shelbourne: Chris Bennion; Andy Boyle, Brian Shortall, Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Kevin Dawson, Glen Cronin, Stephen Hurley [Philip Gorman ’55], Sean Byrne [Barry Clancy ’70]; David Cassidy [Paddy Kavanagh ’78]; Philip Hughes. SUBS NOT USED: Dean Delany, Ian Ryan, Paul Byrne.
Yellow Cards: None.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Alan Keane, Ross Gaynor; Danny Ventre [Liam Buchanan ’70], David Cawley, Romauld Boco, Seamus Conneely [Lee Lynch ’79]; Pascal Millien, Mark Quigley. SUBS NOT USED: Richard Brush, Ryan Connolly, Jeff Henderson, Rafael Cretaro, Joseph Ndo.
Yellow Cards: Seamus Conneely, Danny Ventre, Ross Gaynor, Gavin Peers.

Referee: Paul Tuite.  Attendance: 1,205.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Cawley.

Thursday 16th August 2012

Dunfermline striker Liam Buchanan signs for Sligo Rovers

   

Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough has brought in Liam Buchanan above left for the final 11 league matches this year and until the end of the season.

It is hoped that Buchanan will fill in while Danny North is out injured.

The 27-year-old joins the Bit o’ Red after leaving Scottish club Dunfermline following six goals in 15 starts in the Scottish Premier League last season.

Sligo have been on the lookout for a striker after top scorer Danny North was ruled out for at least six months with a cruciate ligament injury, failing in attempts to bring in Derry’s Mark Farren and Bray Wanderers’ Jason Byrne during the domestic transfer window.

Buchanan has scored 109 goals in 310 appearances in his career so far.

He also played for Cowdenbeath and Partick Thistle in almost 10 years in Scottish football.

Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclouh said he felt it was important to bring another forward to the club: “I was looking at strengthening our attacking options prior to Danny’s injury and when that did happen, it heightened the need to bring someone in.

“We looked at Liam and we were able to bring him across for a couple of days. He had have a couple of offers in Scotland and it is brilliant that we were able to make it happen. Liam is keen for a fresh challenge here in Ireland and to help us achieve things in the final 11 matches of the campaign.

“He has over two months to make an impression with us and hopefully he will be a valuable signing. He has a good goal-scoring record and everyone is after a striker so it is never easy and it is great to be able to bring him in.”

“He is bright and I think he will be a menace to defenders. I don’t think it will be particularly easy for him given some of the players we have available to us in that area.

“He has done a pre-season with Raith Rovers and his former club Dunfermline so it is just about getting games now and he’ll be itching to make an impression in these matches.”

Monday 13th August 2012

Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Sligo Rovers

Sligo Rovers all but end Sham’s defence of premier division league title

Mark Quigley's Sligo Rovers team-mates celebrate his opener at Tallaght Stadium

Mark Quigley’s and Sligo Rovers team-mates celebrate his opener at Tallaght Stadium
Sligo Rovers all but ended Shamrock Rovers league title aspirations after the sides played out an exciting 1-1 draw at Tallaght Stadium.Mark Quigley gave the visitors a half-time lead before Ronan Finn equalised with a sublime effort just after the restart.The home side piled on the pressure in the dying minutes. Substitute Ciaran Kilduff had a chance late on, but his drive was blocked behind and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.The hosts should have been a goal up inside the first minute when Gary McCabe beat Joseph Ndo to the ball in midfield before slipping inside for Tommy Stewart. But, one-on-one, the big forward could only find goalkeeper Gary Rogers with a powerful drive.Shamrock Rovers started the brighter of the two sides.Gary McCabe went closest for Stephen Kenny’s side. His 25 yard free-kick on seven minutes was just yards wide. But outside that, and Stewart’s early chance, they created little in the opening half.As the half progressed, the league leaders took more and more control. Pascal Millien showed what he was capable of early on with a neat turn and shot from a tight angle early on.But the opener arrived soon after.Former Shamrock Rovers loanee Joesph Ndo played a quick free-kick into Pascal Millien, who chested the ball off exquisitely to Mark Quigley. The striker smashed home on the volley from all of 25 yards.Romauld Boco should have doubled Sligo’s lead three minutes before the break.After neat work by Seamus Connelly, Quigley headed across goal but Oscar Jansson somehow managed to keep out the Benin international’s shot from six yards.Shamrock Rovers showed real intent after the restart.First they threatened through Killian Brennan, before Finn grabbed the equaliser on 50 minutes.After prolonged pressure by the Hoops deep in the Sligo half, referee Anthony Buttimer waved away penalty appeals when the ball appeared to strike one of the Sligo players in the midriff.Amidst the protestations, Finn collected possession just outside the box before driving past Rogers.The frantic pace of the game continued into the second half, but the next real chance didn’t arrive until the 73th minute when Millien turned Craig Sives in the box before squaring invitingly for the on-rushing Seamus Conneely. The midfielder was inches away from tapping home.Kilduff’s late effort was then blocked as both sides had to settle for a point.Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Kerrea Gilbert, Colin Hawkins, Craig Sives, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Stephen Rice, Ronan Finn, Killian Brennan (Billy Dennehy, 75); Gary Twigg (Daryl Kavanagh, 86), Tommy Stewart (Ciaran Kilduff,70)Subs not used: Reyaad Pieterse, Chris Turner, Conor McCormack, Ken OmanSligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness Ross Gaynor; Danny Ventre, Seamus Conneely, Joseph Ndo (Lee Lynch, 75), Romauld Boco; Pascal Millien (Rafael Cretaro, 74), Mark QuigleySubs not used: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, Martin Owens, Ryan Connolly, John DillonReferee: Anthony Buttimer
Saturday 4th August 2012

Sligo Rovers show who is boss with a slick 4-1 win against Drogheda

Sligo Rovers 4-1 Drogheda United

Mark Quigley opened the scoring for Sligo Rovers   File:Conneely6.jpg

Above Mark Quigley opened the scoring for Sligo Rovers, Boco, Ndo & Conneely got the other goals.

Sligo Rovers opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Drogheda United at the Showgrounds.

Goals from Mark Quigley, Seamus Conneely, Romauld Boco and Joseph Ndo gave Rovers the points.

Drogs could only muster a Peter Hynes consolation in the second half.

Sligo were without captain Danny Ventre, who missed out through suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

And top scorer Danny North began his lengthy spell on the treatment table after injuring his cruciate ligament in last week’s 1-1 Europa League draw with Spartak Trnava.

Drogheda boss Mick Cooke brought his team west without the services of centre-half Derek Prendergast. Both Ryan and Gavin Brennan returned from bans which saw them sit out last week’s 1-0 win over UCD, while recent acquisition John Sullivan took his place on the bench.

The game was only four minutes old when Ndo went close for Sligo from a free-kick at the edge of the area. Ross Gaynor was upended by Conor McMahon and Ndo’s resulting set piece sneaked narrowly over Gabriel Sava’s crossbar.

Pascal Millien had a chance two minutes later when Boco supplied him with a pass from the left. Millien, who caused Drogs some early problems, beat one defender but could not shrug off the attentions of Alan McNally who forced the Haiti international to mis-kick and fire wide.

Ian Baraclough’s men were rewarded for their early pressure on ten minutes when Seamus Conneely found Quigley in space at the edge of the United area.

He unleashed a shot with the instep of his right boot and, even at full stretch, Sava could get nowhere near it as the ball sailed into the corner of the net.

The Louthmen seldom caused the home side problems in the opening exchanges but did have their first sight of goal on 18 minutes when David Cawley got his body in front of Ryan Brennan’s goal-bound shot.

The home side carved out two more goal opportunities through Gaynor before Boco’s rasping shot three minutes from the break was spilled by Sava at the feet of Conneely who blasted the ball past the former Monaghan ‘keeper to double Sligo’s lead.

Drogheda had one more sight on goal before the break when Gavin Peers did just enough to deflect Ryan Brennan’s shot into the side-netting of Gary Rogers’ goal.

The Bit O’ Red began the second period as they finished the first, and almost went three goal ahead on the hour mark through Boco, but Sava was equal to his attempt.

It took Drogheda until the 58th minute to threaten the Sligo goal as Declan O’Brien’s volley from 20 yards rolled comfortably into Rogers’ arms.

Sligo’s slick passing game came good yet again on the hour mark when, after some good interplay between Quigley and Ndo resulted with the latter beat two Drogheda defenders, rounding Sava and unselfishly setting up Boco to head home at the back post to give Rovers a three-goal lead.

Despite having a mountain to climb, the visitors showed why they are one of the form teams in the division this year and pulled a goal back through substitute Peter Hynes on 76 minutes. Gavin Brennan’s searching ball to the back post evaded several heads before Hynes, who was unmarked headed home to give the away side some hope.

This optimism was short-lived, however, as Ndo reinstated Sligo’s three-goal advantage just four minutes later.

Raffaele Cretaro’s through ball found the Cameroon international who calmly slotted the ball under Sava.

Drogheda did have a last-minute chance to grab a consolation when Ryan Connolly surrendered possession to Sean Brennan. Brennan’s weak shot from eight yards was not enough to trouble the former St Patrick’s Athletic goalkeeper.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Romuald Boco, David Cawley, Joseph Ndo, Seamus Conneely, Ross Gaynor; Mark Quigley Pascal Millien.

Subs: Lee Lynch (for Cawley, 84 mins), John Dillon, Raffaele Cretaro (for Millien, 64), Ryan Connolly (for Conneely, 57).

Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Philip Hand, Alan McNally, Cathal Brady, Alan Byrne: Ryan Brennan; Gavin Brennan, Paul Crowley, Connor McMahon, Eric Foley; Declan O’Brien.

Subs: John Sullivan (for Foley, 64 mins), Sean Brennan (for Ryan Brennan, h/t), Peter Hynes (for Cathal Brady, h/t).

Thursday 26th July 2012

Sligo Rovers bow out of Europa league after brave fight at the Showgrounds

Rovers 1 Spartak Trnava 1 (Agr 2 – 4) to Spartak Trnava

  

Left Picture Mario Bicak, Spartak Trnava, In action against David Cawley, Sligo Rovers. UEFA Europa League, 2nd Qualifying Round, 2nd Leg, Sligo Rovers v Spartak Trnava
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND, SECOND LEG at the ShowgroundsSLIGO ROVERS’ dreams of progressing to the glamour stages of the Europa League ended tamely at the Showgrounds last night.Sligo Rovers exited the Europa League in the Second Qualifying Round as Slovakian side FC Spartak Trnava progressed with a 4-2 aggregate victory.The Bit o’Red manager Ian Baraclough got the atmosphere he wanted at a packed Showgrounds, but did not receive the early goal that his side desired to get back into the tie. The hosts held possession well in the opening 25 minutes, but could not carve open the Trnava defence, with Danny Ventre interfering with Jason McGuinness’s header in what was the best chance of the opening period.A good run from Romauld Boco saw the Benin midfielder felled by goalkeeper Miroslav Filipko who received a yellow card for his troubles, as well as giving away a penalty kick. Filipko immediately atoned by stopping Danny North’s spot kick which was driven straight down the middle.Rovers goalkeeper Gary Rogers was only called into action once in the first half, from a long range Vlastimil Stožický effort. At the other end, Danny Ventre spurned a great opportunity by trying to round Filipko instead of shooting, allowing the keeper to snatch the ball from his feet.Danny North went down at the end of the first half, and had to be replaced just after the interval with Mark Quigley coming on in his place. Sligo weren’t as lively in the second half, and took 15 minutes to have their next proper chance. A good run from Pascal Millien set up Mark Quigley who played a one-two with Boco, but Boco’s final effort was cut out by the goalkeeper as he tried to pick out Ndo in the box.Veteran defender Peter Čvirik cancelled out Sligo’s away goal with 20 minutes to go, curling a free-kick over the wall to make it 4-1 on aggregate. Right midfielder Michal Gašparík should have added a second for the visitors just a few minutes later, but saw his shot come back off the crossbar after a good run in behind the Sligo defence.As the game wound down, Sligo seemed frustrated with Boco failing to test the goalkeeper from range. A stoppage time free-kick from Joseph Ndo was headed in by Jason McGuinness, but with the aggregate score at 4-2, the draw was not enough for Sligo.Spartak Trnava will play Steaua Bucharest in the Third Qualifying Round, with the first leg taking place on August 2nd.SLIGO ROVERS : Rogers, Peers, McGuinness, Gaynor, Ventre, Conneely, Ndo, Cawley, Boco, Millien, North.Subs : Quigley for North (49 mins), Lynch for Ventre (71 mins), Connolly for Millien (76 mins), .SPARTAK TRNAVA : Filiipko, Cvirik, Gross, Hamzel. Jamecka, Mikovic, Vyskocil, Schranz, Stozicky, Karhan, Bicak.Subs : Carmota for Vyskocil (61 mins), Gasparik for Mikovic (67 mins), Koubsky for Schranz (85 mins).Referee: Maksimk Layushkin (Russia).
Sunday 22nd July 2012

Sligo Rovers 2-2 Cork City

Mark Quigley’s brace seals a point for Rovers in a trilling come back match

 

Mark Quigley scored two goals for Rovers and Ian Turner above right and Vinny Sullivan gave City a two-goal lead.

Sligo Rovers fought back to earn a point in a breathtaking 2-2 draw with Cork City in the Airtricity League Premier Division clash at the Showgrounds tonight.

Goals from Ian Turner and Vinny Sullivan gave City a two-goal lead, but Mark Quigley’s free-kick and penalty ensured Sligo avoided a rare home loss.It was a thrilling match, with both sides enjoying countless chances and Quigley fluffed a chance to win it for the home side with a header from six yards out in stoppage time.Pascal Millien and John Dillon were handed starts for Sligo, as Joseph Ndo and Raffaele Cretaro missed out.Cork left new signing Keigan Parker on the bench, while Daryl Horgan was passed fit despite an injury concern.City took the lead in the sixth minute as Turner’s shot deflected off David Cawley and past Gary Rogers.City were looking dangerous on the break against a nervy Sligo defence, but the home side have created plenty of chances with Seamus Conneely just failing to get a touch on Gaynor’s delivery into the area in the 16th minute. The lively Millien was in excellent form for Sligo as he shot over from distance.Danny Murphy’s sensational pass then freed Horgan who shot straight at Rogers to continue the end-to-end sequence in the first period.Sligo continued their efforts to force an equaliser, but it was Cork that struck next as Sullivan’s brilliant finish found the bottom corner in the 58th minute.Prior to that goal, Mark Quigley was introduced for the home side and he proved key to a comeback by Sligo.The substitute converted a free-kick with 26 minutes remaining, curling the ball into the top corner from over 20 yards out.It looked as if Cork would hold out until Danny North earned a penalty following Kalen Spillane’s trip and Quigley lashed home from the spot with seven minutes left.Quigley could have won it for Sligo as he missed a guilt-edge chance for a hat-trick, heading over from six yards with just Cork stopper Mark McNulty to beat.Sligo are now four points clear of Drogheda United ahead of next week’s intriguing fixtures amongst the title challengers.Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor; Pascal Millien, David Cawley, Danny Ventre (Lee Lynch, 77), Romauld Boco (Ryan Connolly, 72), John Dillon (Mark Quigley, 53); Danny North.Subs not used: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, Martin Owens, Raffaele Cretaro.Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colin Healy, Gavin Kavanagh, Kalen Spillane, Danny Murphy; Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, John Dunleavy, Daryl Horgan; Vinny Sullivan (Andy O’Connell, 90), Davin O’Neill (Keigan Parker, 82).Subs not used: Kevin Burns, Kevin Murray, Neal Horgan, Stephen Kenny, Graham McCarthy.
Friday 13th July 2012

Late Mark Quigley winner extends Sligo Rovers lead at the top of premier table

Derry City 1-2 Sligo Rovers

David Cawley hit Sligo's opener at the Brandywell  

David Cawley left pic. after scoring right Rovers first goal & Rovers players celebrating Mark Quigley’s winner.

Derry City suffered their fifth home defeat of the season in the Airtricity League as leaders Sligo Rovers snatched victory at the Brandywell.

Sligo had free-scoring Danny North misses through suspension with Mark Quigley coming in up front, but on the plus side centre-back Jason McGuinness came in for Iarfhlaith Davoren, who dropped to the bench.

Derry debutant Conor Murphy battles with Jason McGuinness

Sligo bossed the first half with Ross Gaynor hitting the Derry woodwork.

The visitors did take the lead on 55 minutes when David Cawley’s swerving shot flew past Gerard Doherty.

David McDaid’s deft finish after a superb Conor Murphy ball levelled the contest on 65 but Mark Quigley struck Sligo’s winner four minutes from time.

Derry were without injured Stewart Greacen, Kevin Deery, Mark Farren and Rory Patterson plus suspended Stephen McLaughlin and Stewart Madden but Barry Molloy and Patrick McEleney did pass late fitness tests.

Sligo, seeking their first top-flight championship success since 1977, made a bright start with Quigley glancing wide a Gaynor cross in the third minute.

Rovers then had a penalty shout when Raffaele Cretaro appeared to be bundled over in the box but referee Damien Hancock waved aside the visitors’ claims.

As Sligo bossed the contest, Ryan McBride needed to head away a dangerous cross from lively Romauld Boco while Gaynor then hit the woodwork with a low angled shot.

Derry had a penalty claim of their own late in the first period as Alan Keane appeared to push Ruaidhri Higgins in the box.

Keeper Gary Rogers came to Sligo’s rescue after the restart after a dreadful Danny Ventre backpass nearly put debutant Murphy in for Derry.

However, Sligo did take the lead on 55 minutes as Cawley’s swerving shot from 25 yards flew past Gerard Doherty.

Boco was inches away from adding to Sligo’s lead on 59 minutes but Derry got on terms six minutes later as Murphy’s superb defence-splitting pass was delightfully dinked over Rogers by McDaid.

Lively substitute Pascal Millien was involved in the winning goal in the 86th minute with Seamus Conneely’s pull-back being played on Boco into the path of Quigley who slammed past Doherty from 10 yards.

The victory extends Sligo’s lead over St Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the table to seven points.

Positon. Team P W D L F A +/- Pts.
1 Sligo Rovers 16 10 5 1 26 10 16 35
2 St. Patrick’s Athletic 15 7 7 1 22 10 12 28
3 Drogheda United 15 7 5 3 26 18 8 26
4 Shamrock Rovers 16 6 7 3 30 25 5 25
5 Shelbourne 17 7 3 7 22 23 -1 24
Saturday 7th July 2012

Jason Byrne gets Bray a point in the show-ground’s Sligo

Bray's Jason Byrne (right) celebrates with his team-mates after opening the scoring against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho  Alan Keane grabs equaliser for Sligo to deny Bray

Bray’s Jason Byrne (right) celebrates with his team-mates after opening the scoring against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds & right pic. Alan Keane scores Rovers equaliser.

Sligo Rovers 1 Bray Wanderers 1: 

Jason Byrne helped Bray Wanderers take a point at the Showgrounds to slow Sligo’s progress at the top of the Airtricity Premier League on Saturday afternoon.After a goalless first half, the 34-year-old striker put the Seagulls ahead after 49 minutes when he took advantage of a mistake by Iarfhliath Davoren to open the scoring.The goal came against the run of play and Alan Keane equalised just after the hour mark, thanks to some great work from substitute Mark Quigley.Bray held on for the draw despite losing defender Adam Mitchell, who was sent off for a second yellow card in injury time.Sligo are now five points clear of St Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the Premier League table with a game more player. The Saints play Sharick Rovers in Tallaght on Sunday afternoon at 6pm, while Cork City host Bohemians at 3pm.
Friday 29th June 2012

North’s double strike clinches the points in Dundalk for Rovers

Dundalk 1-2 Sligo Rovers

  
Danny North struck either side of the break to cancel out Michael Rafter’s opener for Dundalk as Sligo Rovers maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division with a 2-1 win at Oriel Park.The home side hit the front on 37 minutes when Griffin crossed for Rafter to head in. However, Sligo were back on level terms by half-time as North tapped in a Ross Gaynor cross, and the winner came five minutes into the second half when the English striker shot home after Peter Cherrie dropped a Joseph Ndo corner.Dundalk had an early chance when hesitancy in the visiting defence allowed Griffin to nip in ahead of Gary Rogers, but he shot wide. Shortly after, the 21-year-old attempted to capitalise on a defensive mistake with a 35-yard lob but the back-tracking Rogers collected. It was Griffin who again almost broke the deadlock on nine minutes when his 25-yard free-kick whistled past the top corner. On 16 minutes, Sligo had a loud penalty appeal waved away when Dave Cawley went down under a challenge from Stephen McDonnell. Within two minutes, North appeared to be tripped in the box but he was shown a yellow card for simulation. Sligo’s first effort on goal came on 20 minutes when Gaynor, on his return to Oriel Park, cut in from the right and fired a low shot past the left-hand post. North then showed neat footwork before firing wide from 18-yards. However, after Raffaele Cretaro headed over a Joseph Ndo free-kick, Dundalk took a shock lead. Captain Chris Shields and Griffin combined well, the latter putting in a delightful left-footed cross from the left wing for the in-rushing Rafter to power to the bottom corner. But Sligo responded in the fashion of potential champions and, after John Dillon tested Cherrie, they were level right on half-time. Gaynor came back to haunt his old club as he put in a low, dangerous cross from the left and North stole in to tap in from close range. And within five minutes of the second half, North was on the score-sheet again, after Cherrie inexplicably dropped an Ndo corner, the in-form striker finishing with ease for what proved to be the winner. DUNDALK: Cherrie, Foran, Danville (Thomas 14), Burns, Osborne, Walsh, Shields, McDonnell (Reilly 67), Mountney, Griffin, Rafter (Shanahan 80).SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers, Boco, Peers, Ventre, Davoren (Quigley 82), Dillon (Millien 71), Cawley, Ndo, Gaynor, Cretaro, North.Referee: Dave McKeon (Meath)
 
Saturday 9th June 2012

Marren shoots Slgo to a historic and  surprise win over Galway in Pearse Stadium   

SLIGO     2-14    GALWAY   0-15     Marren inspires Sligo victory  

 Sligo stunned hosts Galway as Adrian Marren shoots a goal and his side through to the Connacht SFC final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday evening and right pic. Sligo’s Neil Ewing is tackled by Joe Bergin of Galway during the Connacht SFC semi-final

      Galway's Diarmuid Blake and Gareth Bradshaw tackle Mark Breheny of Sligo during the sides' last Connacht championship clash in 2010. Breheny's role as teacher and coach with Summerhill College has helped to restore the college as a nursery for Gaelic football in Sligo. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Galway’s Gareth Bradshaw about to tackle Mark Breheny of Sligo

Marren finished with 2-6, including a 55th minute penalty and a second goal three minutes from the end, with Galway failing to build on a 0-9 to 0-5 half-time lead.The surprise result saw Sligo boss Kevin Walsh get one over on his native county and set up a final showdown with either Mayo or Leitrim.The Tribesmen opened well with the wind behind them, Gary Sice and Marren trading points before Mark Hehir converted two frees to have them 0-3 to 0-1 to the good by the 12th minute.The lively Paul Conroy got the better of his marker Johnny Martyn to win Hehir’s second successful free. He did likewise two minutes later with Hehir slotting his third of the evening.Sligo were boosted by the late inclusion of David Kelly in their starting line-up. he replaced Stephen Coen but saw little of the ball early on as Galway continued to press.Sean Armstrong found his range to make it 0-5 to 0-1, but Sligo found some much-needed rhythm as Mark Breheny split the posts in the 20th minute after good build-up play involving Pat Hughes.Two more pinpoint efforts from Marren and Alan Costello got it back to a one-point game, but Galway responded when Armstrong drew a foul and Sice kicked the resulting free.Galway had the better of play coming up to half-time, the forwards profiting from some clever deliveries and Hehir landed a brace of frees to take his tally for the first half to 0-6.The gap was down to four again after Marren sent over Sligo’s fifth point from play. And the same player sparked a very good spell for the Yeats men at the start of the second half.Despite the introduction of Michael Meehan, Sligo managed to hit a rich vein of scoring form as midfielder Shane McManus and Kelly strung together points to whittle the hosts’ lead down to 0-9 to 0-8.Galway briefly steadied themselves with a Conroy effort, however Marren (’45’) and Costello helped Walsh’s men get back on terms with just over 15 minutes remaining.Worse followed for the home support when captain Finan Hanley gave away a penalty for a foul on Paul McGovern. Marren kept calm and after a considerable delay, he beat Galway goalkeeper Adrian Faherty with a measured finish in the bottom left corner of the net.Galway manager Alan Mulholland threw on Padraic Joyce, hoping that the veteran forward would conjure up some magic for the men in maroon. But Joyce’s introduction was negated by the sight of defender Hanley being substituted with a shoulder injury.The Tribesmen stayed in the hunt with two more frees from the accurate Hehir and Sice, making it 1-10 to 0-12 with eight minutes to go. Kelly hit back for Sligo with an inspirational score from play.Garreth Bradshaw broke from the rear in an attempt to inspire Galway and his run led to Conroy firing over their 13th point. But their comeback bid stalled as substitute Tony Taylor and McManus played in Pat Hughes for a timely Sligo point.Full-forward Marren then made sure of the away victory by bulging the net for a second time, fielding a Costello ball and beating Faherty with a well-placed shot. He followed up with a point and Costello added his third and injury-time efforts from Meehan and Conroy were mere consolation for an off-colour Galway side.GALWAY: A Faherty; K Kelly, F Hanley, K McGrath; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G O’Donnell; J Bergin, G Higgins; G Sice (0-3, 0-3f), D Burke, T Flynn; S Armstrong (0-1), P Conroy (0-3), M Hehir (0-7, 0-6f).Subs used: M Meehan (0-1) for Flynn (43 mins), G Sweeney for Kelly (46), P Joyce for Burke (54), C Forde for Hanley (58).SLIGO: P Greene; N Ewing, J Martyn, R Donovan; C Harrison, M Quinn, P McGovern; S McManus (0-1), E Mullen, A Costello (0-3, 0-1f), P Hughes (0-1), B Egan; M Breheny (0-1), A Marren (2-6, 1-0pen, 0-1 ’45’, 0-1f), D Kelly (0-2).Subs used: T Taylor for Mullen (47 mins), D Maye for Hughes, J Davey for McGovern (both 70).Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois) 
 
Friday 18th May 2012

Sligo Rovers suffer a second shock defeat this time to Monaghan Utd in Cup

Sligo Rovers 1 Monaghan utd 3

  1    3

Monaghan United ended Sligo Rovers’ two-year grip on the FAI Ford Cup with a stunning 3-1 win over the holders at the Showgrounds.

It seemed to be going to form for Sligo when Mark Quigley shot them in front from an eighth minute penalty.
But Tony Griffiths levelled for Roddy Collins’ side on the half hour and they grew in confidence from there.

Jason Marks put Monaghan ahead on 72 minutes while the writing looked on the wall for Sligo five minutes later when defender Alan Keane was sent off.

Keith Quinn sealed Monaghan’s win with an 84th minute penalty.

Shelbourne, last season’s beaten finalists, will face Bray Wanderers in a replay at Tolka Park on Monday night after theirs was the only tie to finish in a draw (1-1) at the Carlisle Grounds.

Barry Clancy had given Shels the lead ten minutes before half-time before Kieran “Marty” Waters equalised on 63 minutes.

Cup Kings Shamrock Rovers, who’ve not won it in 25 years, beat Limerick 1-0 at Tallaght Stadium courtesy of a 67th minute goal from substitute Stephen O’Donnell. Limerick had midfielder Paudie Quinn sent off nine minutes later.

Dave Scully scored a hat-trick as Bohemians cruised through with a 5-0 win over Donegal minnows Drumkeen United at Dalymount.

Scully put Bohs ahead inside the opening minute and added to that in the 66th and 77th minutes.

Left-back Roberto Lopes and midfielder Dave Mulcahy rowed in with the other strikes as Aaron Callaghan’s side were never troubled

Drumkeen had substitute James Ratiff sent off for a second booking in the 78th minute.

Both Vinny Sullivan and Tadhg Purcell scored a hat-trick at Turner’s Cross as Cork City trounced Athlone Town 6-1. That after Brian McCarthy had given the First Division side an early lead.

Winger Stephen McLaughlin maintained his goalscoring run with a brace as Derry City beat Finn Harps 4-0 in the northwest derby at the Brandywell. Rory Patterson and Barry Molloy were also on target.

Late goals from Danny Ledwith and Graham Rusk saw UCD ease into the third round with a 3-1 win as Leinster Senior League side Phoenix were utterly outplayed at the UCD Bowl.

Right-back Ledwith curled home a stunning 75th minute free-kick to restore the Students’ lead.

Topscorer scorer Rusk added the third goal on 81 minutes, side footing home substitute Dean Clarke’s cross from close range.

Rusk had played Paul O’Conor in to dink the ball over Tadgh Murphy for the lead goal on 27 minutes.

Gary Burke rattled the Phoenix crossbar with a 30-yard drive before the non-leaguers levelled on 33 minutes.

Samir Belhout barged John Brophy to the ground with Keith Dawson sending Mark McGinley the wrong way from the penalty.

Glen Crowe rolled back the years with a goal as Malahide United won 4-1 at Blarney United who had both John Meade and Eddie O’Connell sent off.

Alan O’Keefe, Alan Corcoran and Stephen Donnelly were Malahide’s other scorers while Richie O’Brien replied for Blarney.

Another Cork side, Mayfield United, were thumped 6-1 at Drogheda United for whom substitute Johnny Breen scored a late hat-trick inside nine minutes.

Peter Hynes, Declan O’Brien and Gavin Brennan had scored earlier for Drogheda. Greg Kelly got Mayfield’s consolation goal on 74 minutes, three minutes after substitute Stephen Hurley had been sent off.

Dundalk eased their worries for now with a solitary John Mountney goal beating St. Patrick’s CY at Oriel Park as Michael Rafter later missed a penalty. St. Patrick’s had defender Simon Dunne sent off two minutes from time.

Goals from Pat Hoban and Etanda Nkololo gave Mervue United a 2-0 win over SD Galway in the western derby at Eamon Deacy Park.

Sligo Rovers suffer a shock defeat by UCD at Belfield

UCD 1 Sligo Rovers 0: 

Graham Rusk celebrates UCD's winner with team-mates.     

Graham Rusk celebrates UCD’s winner with team-mates while the Bit’o Red form a huddle.

Premier division leaders Sligo Rovers lost their 12-match unbeaten Premier Division record when a first-half goal by striker Graham Rusk gave unfancied UCD a shock victory at the Belfield Bowl last night.

There was no doubt about the merit of College’s victory. Having started as 15 to 2 outsiders, they tore up the form book in style to record only their third win of the season. Minus the suspended Hugh Douglas and the injured Mark Langtry, UCD had an early chance when Samir Belhout miskicked in front of goal.

Sligo, without the suspended Gavin Peers and the injured Joseph Ndo and Ross Gaynor, might have broken the deadlock when Alan Keane shot over from 12 yards after good work from Romauld Boco on the right.

However, the visitors did have the ball in the net with a Danny North effort on 18 minutes but this was ruled out after he had handled a cross from midfielder Boco. North was shown a yellow card.

The Students were in front on 31 minutes when a left-footed cross from defender Danny Ledwith on the right enabled striker Rusk to get in a delicate glancing header into the corner. They went close to stretching that lead on 48 minutes when Robbie Benson supplied the ball for Ledwith to cross from the right only for Paul O’Conor’s effort to clip the bar.

Sligo did have chances of an equaliser in the second half but could find no way past the impressive central defensive partnership of David O’Connor and Michael Leahy and it was the Students who went close when Paul O’Conor had a shot from the edge of the box blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Rogers, who also made a good save from Rusk before O’Conor headed over late on.

UCD: McGinley; Ledwith, D OConnor, Leahy, Nangle; Corry, P OConor, Benson, Belhout (Burke 80), McNelis (Doyle 90); Rusk (Clarke 88).

SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers ; Keane , McGuinness , Ventre, Davoren (Dykes 28); Boco, Cawley (Millien 65) , Dillon (Lynch 72), Cretaro; North, Quigley.

Referee: Pádraig Sutton (Dublin).

Sligo Rovers extend their lead by 8 pts with 3 of the best against Shelbourne

Sligo Rovers 3-0 Shelbourne

   

A Danny North’s brace again & a special bolt from Pascal Millen helps to maintain Sligo’s unbeaten league run & title aspirations. 

Sligo Rovers opened up an eight point gap at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division after a 3-0 win over Shelbourne at the Showgrounds tonight Friday.
 
A Danny North brace either side of half-time and a wonder-goal from substitute Pascal Millien on 84 minutes gave Ian Baraclough’s side all three points.
Shelbourne did create some half chances throughout, but can’t have any complaints with the final scoreline.Sligo, fresh from a 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers last weekend, were without Joseph Ndo (hamstring) and while Ross Gaynor was a late withdrawal due to sickness.Shels travelled West without long-term absentees Lorcan Fitzgerald and Stephen Hurley while Sean Byrne was suspended courtesy of a red card he picked up in their 2-0 win over UCD last weekend.In a first half short on chances, it was Ian Ryan who was responsible for the first shot in anger with three minutes played. His shot from outside the area was blocked down by Sligo midfielder David Cawley as it made its way toward goal.Shels had their first scare on four minutes when goalkeeper Dean Delaney hesitated to come and claim Romuald Boco’s cross from the right, defender Andy Boyle had to be aware to head the ball behind for a corner.Both sides were restricting each other to long shots and Jason McGuinness went close with 14 minutes played when Danny Ventre found room in front of the Shels area. Ventre, on his weaker left foot teed up McGuinness, but the former Bohs man blazed over from 20 yards.The Bit o’Red took the lead two minutes from the break through a quick counter-attack. Ventre’s ball over the top sent North through one on one with Boyle.North won his first battle as he out-muscled Boyle and was just as successful in his second tussle as he placed the ball past Delaney and into the net.Barely two minutes of the second half had elapsed when Sligo doubled their lead. Mark Quigley’s clever dummy-pass found North who slipped the ball low and past Delaney and into the goal.Indeed Sligo could have gone three ahead on the hour mark when Raffaele Cretaro’s through ball meant for North, took a deflection off a Shels defender and ended up in the path of substitute Lee Lynch. The Limerick native attempted to loop the ball over Delaney, but the ‘keeper stood strong to deflect the ball away.Shelbourne had their first look at goal of the second half on 63 minutes when former Sligoman Anto Murphy’s cross from the right narrowly evaded several Shels heads – Alan Keane did enough to clear the danger at the back post.The Drumcondra men did cause Rovers some problems through the middle, but not even the introduction of Philly Hughes could topple the Sligo cart.The home side introduced Haiti international Pascal Millien six minutes from time and he was barely a minute on the pitch when he cut inside a Shels defender down the left and unleashed an unstoppable shot past Delaney.Shels did have one last hurrah in the first minute of added time when Barry Clancy’s free kick on the edge of the Sligo box fell to Philip Gorman, but he couldn’t steer the ball toward goal from inside the six yard box.Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Alan Keane, Raffaele Cretaro, David Cawley, Danny Ventre, Romuald Boco, Mark Quigley, Danny North.Subs: Richard Brush, Martin Owens, Pascal Millen (for North 84′), Lee Lynch (for Quigley 58′), Liam Martin, Jake Dykes, John Dillon (for Ventre 85′).Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Gareth Matthews, Brian Shorthall, Andy Boyle, Glen Cronin, Dane Cassidy, Paddy Kavanagh, Barry Clancy, Philip Gorman, Anto Murphy, John Sullivan.Subs: Conan Byrne (for Kavanagh HT), Philip Hughes (for Cassidy 73′), Brendan McGill, Kevin Dawson (for Sullivan 53′), Paul Skinner, Ian Ryan, Paul Byrne.
Saturday 12th May 2012

Sligo Rovers 3-0 Shamrock

Sligo too good for the hoops as a Danny North brace sends Shams back home in a spin to Dublin 

Sligo celebrate their opener.    Sligo Rovers' Danny North celebrates scoring one of two goals against champions Shamrock Rovers. - Photograph: Morgan Treacy/InphoSligo celebrate their opener and Danny North celebrates his second goal with the Sligo Rovers fans.

Sligo Rovers stretched their lead at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division to six points after a commanding 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

A brace from Danny North and a first League of Ireland goal for David Cawley means Ian Baraclough’s side retain their unbeaten status so far this season.

The Hoops had to play the majority of the second half without their full quota of players however as both Chris Turner and Graham Gartland saw red.

Sligo were without playmaker Joseph Ndo due to a hamstring injury, but full-back Alan Keane returned to the first XI after recovering from a knee problem which kept him out of last week’s win over Drogheda United.

Stephen Kenny had to plan for his first trip West as Hoops boss without striker Ciaran Kilduff, who is recovering from an operation on his metatarsal, while Ronan Finn and Ken Oman also missed out due to injury.

An entertaining first half began with Shamrock Rovers almost taking the lead with just seven minutes gone. Killian Brennan’s through ball down the right found Gary Twigg, whose low shot was deflected away by Sligo ‘keeper Gary Rogers.

David Cawley had Sligo’s first chance of the game three minutes later, when he was unlucky to see his shot deflect away from goal as it took a deflection off a Shamrock Rovers defender.

Sligo were the better team throughout the opening exchanges and almost took the lead on 19 minutes when Mark Quigley’s rasping shot from distance smacked Reyaad Pieterse’s crossbar.

Considerable Sligo pressure took its toll on the Hoops rearguard on the half hour mark. Quigley’s through ball finding Danny North who squeezed the ball between Pieterse and his front post.

If this didn’t make the home support happy enough, the Bit O’Red doubled their lead six minutes later. Ross Gaynor’s short corner was fisted away by Pieterse, only to fall to former Ipswich midfielder David Cawley. Cawley’s shot from just outside the box dipped over the South African ‘keeper and into the back of the net.

Sligo dominated the second half as the Tallaght side struggled with the numerical disadvantage. Gary McCabe’s low cross with two minutes of the second period played found Twigg and his quick turn and shot forced Rogers into a save low down to his right, before Gavin Peers cleared the danger.

The champions looked as if they might have staged a comeback, but only five minutes into the second half disaster struck as Chris Turner was involved with an off-the-ball incident with Alan Keane, Tom Connolly showing the former Bohs man a straight red.

Both North and Romuald Boco passed up good chances for Sligo before Danny North put the result beyond doubt on 77 minutes as he again found space between Pieterse and the front post to put three goals between the sides.

Shamrock Rovers’ afternoon went from bad to worse with five minutes left as Graham Gartland followed Turner down the tunnel. His foul on Cretaro resulting in his second caution of the game.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Romuald Boco, David Cawley, Danny Ventre, Ross Gaynor, Mark Quigley, Danny North.

Subs: Richard Brush, Martin Owens, Pascal Millien, Raffaele Cretaro (for Quigley ’81), Lee Lynch (for Cawley 60′), Jake Dykes, John Dillon (for Boco 75′).

Shamrock Rovers: Reyaad Pieterse, Kerrea Gilbert, Graham Gartland, Craig Sives, Gary McCabe, Chris Turner, Stephen Rice, Killian Brennan, Dayl Kavanagh, Gary Twigg.

Subs: Oscar Jansson, Gary O’Neill, Aaron Greene (for Kavanagh 66′), Colin Hawkins (for Sives 75′), Stephen O’Donnell, Billy Dennehy (for Powell 62′), Conor McCormack.

Pos.
Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
+/-
Pts.
1
Sligo Rovers
11
8
3
0
19
6
13
27
2
St. Patrick’s Athletic
11
5
6
0
15
4
11
21
3
Shamrock Rovers
11
5
4
2
24
16
8
19
4
Drogheda United
11
5
4
2
17
12
5
19
5
Shelbourne
11
5
3
3
13
13
0
18
6
Bray Wanderers
11
4
2
5
15
19
-4
14
Sunday 6th May 2012

Walsh’s Ruthless Sligo dispose of New York

Sligo 3-21 New York 0-06 at Gaelic Park.

New York could not cope with Sligo as Kevin Walsh side breezed through their Championship opener

New York could not cope with Sligo as Kevin Walsh side breezed through their Championship opener as Sligo cruised into the Connacht Football Championship semi-finals with a crushing 3-21 to 0-06 win over New York at the Gaelic Park.

Pat Hughes found the net on his Championship debut, with Stephen Coen hitting goals in each half in the easy Sligo win.

New York struggled to cope with Sligo throughout the game as the Yeats County started their campaign in fine fashion.

New York started well and looked competitive for the opening 10 minutes although they mustered three wides in the period and failed to make the breakthrough on the scoresheet.

Sligo opened the scoring with a brace of points from Adrian Marren inside 10 minutes and never looked back once Coen hit the first goal.

The forward robbed goalkeeper Alan Hearty and slammed the ball into the net to open a 1-02 to 0-00 lead.

Brendan Egan increased Sligo’s tally before full-forward CJ Molloy, a nephew of Donegal’s former All-Ireland winner Anthony Molloy, gave New York their first score after 18 minutes.

They managed just two more points before the break thanks to Eoghan Carew and Molloy as Sligo went in 1-10 to 0-03 clear helped by scores from Marren, Coen and Paul McGovern.

The second half started with a similar fashion with two quick Sligo points from Breheny and one from Marren as the visitors continued to dominate.

New York gave the 1700 supporters present something to cheer about with good points from substitutes Kerry’s Sean Kelly and then Rory Stafford.

They were just a brief dent in Sligo’s charge as further scores from Coen, Marren and captain Ross Donovan meant the result was never in doubt.

Pat Hughes and Coen added late points for Sligo to add further gloss to the win, with Hughes claiming the man of the match award to round off a good outing for Kevin Walsh’s side.

Friday 04th May 2012

Danny boy North keeps Sligo Rovers on top as the Hoops slip up

Drogheda United 1  Sligo Rovers 3

Sligo Rovers' Danny North celebrates scoring         

Sligo Rovers’ Danny North celebrates scoring one of his two goals & Gavin Peers got the other goal with a header.

Two goals from Danny North ensured the Bit O’Red kept the pace red hot out in front at Hunky Dorys Park tonight.

Daniel North hit a goal in each half in the top-of-the-table Airtricity League clash at Hunky Dorys Park as leaders Sligo Rovers ended Drogheda’s 10-match unbeaten run with a 3-1 victory.

Gavin Peers opened the scoring for Rovers when following up a Jason McGuinness header on 10 minutes. The visitors extended the lead on 35 minutes when North flicked a Ross Gaynor cross home.

Declan O’Brien replied for the home side, but North made sure of the three points when finishing from close range late on.

Ian Baraclough’s men quickly grabbed this game by the scruff of the neck and forced three corners inside the first 10 minutes.

They almost broke the deadlock when Peers nodded Raffaele Cretaro’s centre goal-wards and North flicked the ball narrowly wide at the far post.

Mark Quigley then saw a 30-yard effort deflected narrowly wide, and so it was no surprise when the Bit O’Red hit the front. Cretaro swung in another corner and McGuinness’ initial header was blocked on the line by Derek Prendergast, but Peers stooped to nod the rebound past Gabriel Sava.

The keeper then failed to hold a driven cross by Gaynor towards North and he was saved by left-back Shane Grimes who booted the ball clear.

Drogheda had a decent spell mid-way through the half when Sean Brennan – the only one of the brothers playing as sickness ruled out his siblings Ryan and Gavin – and Declan O’Brien had shots blocked in the crowded Sligo goal mouth, but the visitors extended their lead on 35 minutes.

David Cawley swung a great diagonal pass out to Gaynor and another superb cross from the winger reached North who flicked a classy finish past Sava.

However, just when the game seemed to be slipping away from the home side, O’Brien popped up at the near post to nod past Gary Rogers from Shane Grimes’ left-wing cross.

And it was O’Brien who almost hauled Drogheda level on 58 minutes, his diving header from Brian Gannon’s near-post cross flying a foot wide of the opposite upright.

But the Boynesiders couldn’t open up the Sligo defence after that and the visitors effectively sealed the points with a third goal on 80 minutes, North tucking the ball away from close range from a clever Quigley pass.

Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Stephen Quigley, Alan McNally, Derek Prendergast, Shane Grimes; Tiarnan Mulvenna (Cathal Brady 72), Brian Gannon, Eric Foley, Mark O’Brien (Peter Hynes 77), Sean Brennan (Dean Marshall 88); Declan O’Brien.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Romauld Boco, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Raffaele Cretaro, Danny Ventre, David Cawley, Ross Gaynor; Mark Quigley (Lee Lynch 90 +1), Daniel North.

Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin)

Airtricity League Premier Division 

Pos. Team P W D L F A +/- Pts.
1 Sligo Rovers 10 7 3 0 16 6 10 24
2 St. Patrick’s Athletic 10 5 5 0 15 4 11 20
3 Shamrock Rovers 10 5 4 1 24 13 11 19
4 Drogheda United 10 5 3 2 16 11 5 18
5 Shelbourne 10 4 3 3 11 13 -2 15
6 Derry City 10 3 3 4 10 9 1 12
7 Cork City 10 3 2 5 15 13 2 11
8 Bray Wanderers 10 3 2 5 13 19 -6 11
9 Bohemian FC 10 3 1 6 7 11 -4 10
10 UCD 10 2 3 5 12 16 -4 9
11 Dundalk 10 2 3 5 6 18 -12 9
12 Monaghan United 10 1 2 7 7 19 -12 5

Friday 27th April

St Pat’s & Sligo Rovers keep their unbeaten record

St. Patrick’s Greg Bolger with Iarfhlaith Davoren of Sligo 

Kenny Browne and Brendan Clarke St Pats combine with the own goal

Sligo Rovers 1 – St Patrick’s A 1: Sean O’Connor saved St Patrick’s Athletic’s blushes with a 71st-minute equaliser in a gripping game at the Showgrounds last night. O’Connor, who was sprung from the bench after 58 minutes, made no mistake when it looked as if the home side might send the visitors to their first defeat.Sligo went ahead in the 18th minute when Joseph Ndo’s corner kick unluckily ended up in the visitors’ net after keeper Brendan Clarke’s attempted clearance rebounded into the net off the head of defender Kenny Browne.St Pat’s had a great chance to take all three points on the stroke of full-time but Christy Fagan’s penalty effort went over the bar.Chris Forrester forced Gary Rogers into a smart save on 78 minutes as the visitors went in search of a winner.St Pat’s controlled the play in the opening minutes of the first half as the home side struggled.Jason McGuinness was unable to turn quickly enough to set up a scoring chance from Ross Gaynor’s well-directed corner kick after nine minutes. Former Sligo player John Russell went close for the visitors after a swift St Pat’s counter attack a minute later.Fagan also forced Rogers into a save in the 26th minute.A clever flick on by Greg Bolger found Forrester on the half hour mark but Rovers survived as Forrester shot wide from close range.St Pat’s stepped up the pace in the closing minutes of the half with Ian Birmingham and Russell both going close.Both managers will perhaps be happy enough with the draw which preserves their side’s unbeaten league records.SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers, Davoren, Peers, Ventre, Boco, Quigley, Gaynor (Cretaro 86), Ndo (Cawley 28), Lynch (Dillon 86), McGuinness, North.ST PATRICK’S ATH: Clarke, O’Brien, Browne, Kenna, Birmingham, Chambers (O’Connor 58), Russell, Bolger, Forrester, Fagan, J Kelly (D Kelly half-time).Referee Alan Kelly.
Friday, 20 Apr 2012

North does the business again to keep the Bit O’Red top of the table

Cork City 0-1 Sligo Rovers

Danny North scored on 79 minutesDanny North scored on 79 minutes

Sligo Rovers quietened a crowd of 3,142 at Turner’s Cross with a late goal by Danny North for a 1-0 win in the Airtricity League Premier Division.

A dangerous cross by Ross Gaynor was miskicked by Cork City captain Dan Murray and the ball fell to North who bundled it over the line, despite the efforts of Mark McNulty.

The Bit O’ Red now lead the league by three points, while City are level bottom on five points.

Manager Tommy Dunne will be disappointed by the home side’s passive second half performance, when they stepped off Sligo and allowed them to dominate and create a number of chances.

Sligo’s central trio of Gavin Peers, Benin international Romauld Boco and Mark Quigley controlled the game throughout but despite their excellent link up play they created few clear-cut chances.

Half an hour in, the excellent John Dunleavy began to gain some control in the centre for City and his promptings led to a number of chances, most notably when he released Vinny Sullivan who put Davin O’Neill through after 37 minutes.

O’Neill accelerated away, but could only strike his shot against the top of the post with ‘keeper Gary Rogers helpless.

Davin O’Neill was instrumental in creating a chance for ex-Sligo player Daryl Horgan after 41 minutes when he skipped past a number of defenders. He laid it off to Horgan, whose well struck shot from outside the box was tipped over by Rogers.

Sligo ended the half with a good effort from Romauld Boco who headed just over from a threatening Ross Gaynor cross. City ‘keeper Mark McNulty was very relieved to see the ball loop over the crossbar.

The influential Dunleavy went off injured after 49 minutes and the Bit O’ Red regained control of the game.

Thanks to the excellence of North, Gaynor and Quigley they never lost that control and deservedly take all three points back to Sligo.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Gearóid Morrissey, Colin Healy, Shane Duggan, Davin O’Neill, Vinny Sullivan (Tadgh Purcell 75′), John Dunleavy (Ian Turner 49′), Dan Murray, Kalen Spillane, Daryl Horgan.

Unused subs: Gavin Kavanagh, Shane O’Connor, Cathal Lordan, Kevin Burns, Stephen Kenny.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre, Romauld Boco (Pascal Millien 74), Mark Quigley (Raffaele Cretaro 81′), Ross Gaynor, Joseph Ndo, Lee Lynch, Danny North (David Cawley 87′).

Unused subs: Richard Brush, John Dillon, Jake Dykes, Martin Owens.

Friday, 13 Apr 2012

Derry City spoils the party at the Show-grounds tonight

Sligo Rovers 1-1 Derry City
Danny North celebrates his goalDanny North celebrates his lead goal tonight

Derry City left Sligo Rovers’ dreams of levelling a club record of eleven straight home league wins in tatters, as the Candystripes claimed a valuable point with a 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds on Friday night.

Danny North opened the scoring on 25 minutes, before former Sligoman David McDaid levelled from the penalty spot with 36 minutes elapsed, after Iarfhlaith Davoren fouled Simon Madden in the area.

Sligo enjoyed much of the second-half possession but were unable to find a way past a resolute Derry defence.

Rovers welcomed Jason McGuinness back to the starting XI after the former Bohs man missed wins over Dundalk, Bray and Monaghan due to a back injury. Mark Quigley took his place on the Sligo bench, as he returned from a six match ban.

Haitian international, Pascal Millien returned to Ireland this week after problems with his work permit were resolved, but he was not passed fit to take part in this fixture.

Former Sligo winger Owen Morrison (calf strain), Ruadhri Higgins (groin strain) and Stewart Greacen (knee) all missed out for the Candystripes, while Rory Patterson was deemed fit enough to take part in the tie, but only as a substitute.

In a first half where chances were at a premium, the first hint of an opener came on 21 minutes when Joseph Ndo’s corner evaded a crowd of Rovers players in the six yard box, the ball needing only a touch to turn it towards goal, much to the Cameroon international’s frustration.

The opener did come on 25 minute when Derry ‘keeper Gerard Doherty spilled Alan Keane’s shot, the ball falling to Danny North, who muscled off his marker to blast home.

City eqaulised eleven minutes later when referee Richie Winter deemed Iarfhlaith Davoren to have upended Simon Madden in the penalty area. McDaid did the honours, driving the ball into Gary Rogers’ top corner.

Patrick McEleney almost put Derry ahead early in the second half when his ferocious volley rattled the Sligo crossbar on 49 minutes. Moments later, Ndo’s corner was met at the front post by North, whose turn-cum-shot flew narrowly over the Derry crossbar.

Sligo spent the majority of the second period camped in Derry’s half, but couldn’t find that elusive winner. Lee Lynch and Raffaele Cretaro went closest for Sligo on 79 and 87 minutes respectively, but Doherty was equal to each of their attempts.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Iarfhliath Davoren, Joseph Ndo, Danny Ventre, Lee Lynch, Raffaele Cretaro, Danny North, Romuald Boco.

Subs: Richard Brush, Martin Owens, Liam Martin, Mark Quigley (for Boco ’80), David Cawley, Ross Gaynor (for Ventre ’65), John Dillon (for Ndo, 81).

Booked: Peers

Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Eddie McCallion, Dermot McCaffrey, Barry Molloy, Kevin Deery, David McDaid, Ryan McBride, Stephen McLaughlin, Simon Madden, Mark Farren, Patrick McEleney.

Subs: Eugene Ferry, Rory Patterson (for McEleney ’72), Brian McGroary, Matthew Crossan, Michael Barr, Barry McNamee (for Patterson ’93), Caoimhin Bonner.

Saturday 7th April 2012

Sligo Rovers go to the top of the Premier Division after a hard fought win against Bray

Bray Wanderers 2-1 Sligo Rovers

   Raffaele Cretaro put Sligo Rovers on the scoresheet

Raffaele Cretaro scored the first goal for Rovers in Bray tonight

Sligo Rovers moved to the top of the Premier Divison with a hard fought 2-1 win over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.

Raffaele Cretaro opened the scoring for Sligo Rovers before Kieran Marty Waters equalised in the first half.A second half goal from Danny North, who fired past Darren Quigley after Joseph Ndo’s short free kick, was enough for Sligo Rovers to take home the three points and move past Shamrock Rovers, who were beaten 5-1 by St Patrick’s Athletic.Sligo opened the scoring after nine minutes. Alan Keane made a forward run down the right and his cross found the head of Cretaro who powered his header past Bray keeper Quigley.Bray Wanderers could have been further behind just three minutes later but North fired wide from Cretaro’s pass.Sligo continued to attack and Lee Lynch’s cross from the right caused problems for Bray but centre-half Danny O’Connor got the decisive clearance in.The equalising goal almost arrived through O’Connor. Adam Hanlon whipped in the cross but his header struck the crossbar.Bray did level the game minutes later through Waters. Sligo Rovers’ Gavin Peers left his attempted back pass short which allowed Waters to race through and fire low past Gary Rogers.Gary Rogers prevented the home side fro taking the lead five minutes later as he brilliantly tipped Adam Hanlon’s left footed strike over the crossbar.North should have given Sligo the lead before half-time but he shot over from John Dillon’s deep cross.That lead goal did come for Sligo Rovers four minutes into the second half. Romauld Boco was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Ndo stepped up to take it. He slipped a low pass to North and he fired past Quigley after a smart turn.North was in the thick of things again with twenty minutes remaining but he fired wide. Jason Byrne was next to threaten but his long range effort couldn’t find the target.Despite a more attacking second half for Bray, they could not grab an equalising goal and suffer another home defeat.Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; David Webster, Pearse Sweeney, Danny O’Connor, Kevin Knight, Kieran Marty Waters (Anthony Bolger 90), John Mulroy (Jonathon Kelty 90), Dean Zambra, Sean Houston, Adam Hanlon (Daire Doyle 90), Jason Byrne.Subs not used: Brian Kane, Ian Byrne, Conor Butler, Stephen Last.Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre, Ramould Boco, Lee Lynch, Joesph Ndo, John Dillon (David Cawley 85), Raffaele Cretaro (Ross Gaynor 88), Danny North.Subs not used: Richard Brush, Liam Martin, Mark McGoldrick, Ben McGrry, Martin Owens.
Saturday 17th March 2012

Sligo keep the heat on Shams for Premier Division with a 3-0 win over Dundalk at the Showgrounds.

  Sligo Rovers' Gavin Peers with Leon Knight of Glentoran on Monday.

A brace of goals from Danny North and a Gavin Peers header secured Sligo Rovers 3-0 win.

Sligo Rovers maintained their 100 per cent home record in this
year’s Airtricity League Premier Division with a 3-0 win over Dundalk at the Showgrounds.

A brace from Danny North and a Gavin Peers header
was enough to give Ian Barraclough his fourth league win of the
season.

Shane O’Neill had the best chance for the visitors but his early shot was off target.

Sligo were without Mark Quigley (ban), Pascal Millien (work-permit
issues) and Richard Brush (virus) while Jason McGuinness was a late withdrawal.

Alan Keane returned to the home side’s first 11 after a two game ban.

Dundalk’s absentees included Mark Griffin (groin), Eoghan Osborne (leg) and Luke Danville (hamstring), but Shane O’Neill
did pass a late fitness test in time to lead the Lillywhites’ attack.

In a first-half that lacked vigour, Rovers play-maker Joseph Ndo had the game’s first chance on 12 minutes, but his daisy-cutter only found the waiting gloves of Dundalk ‘keeper Peter Cherrie.
Seconds later, his opposite number Gary Rogers did enough to get behind Ben McLoughlin’s low drive.

O’Neill looked odds-on to put Dundalk ahead three minutes later, when John Mountney found the former Bray striker in space, but O’Neill sent his shot looping over the Sligo crossbar.

Cherrie was called into action again on 41 minutes when he had to be at full stretch to save Danny North’s shot down low to his left, after the former St Pat’s man was set up by Cretaro.

Rovers made a speedy start to the second half and were two goals to the good within eight minutes. Lee Lynch played Cretaro in behind the Dundalk defence, before Cretaro’s low drive found ended up at the feet of North who tapped in from close range for Sligo’s first on 49 minutes.

Gavin Peers then doubled the lead four minutes later when he
met Ross Gaynor’s corner with a ferocious header which flew past
Cherrie to put Rovers firmly in the driving seat.

Rovers dominated proceedings from then on in and they had their third on the stroke of full time when North’s shot came back off the Dundalk post, the rebound falling kindly to the in-form striker who had no problems with the resulting tap-in.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Iarfhlaith
Davoren, Ross Gaynor, Danny Ventre, Romuald Boco, Lee Lynch, Joseph Ndo, Danny North, Raffaele Cretaro.

Subs: Ciaran Kelly, David Cawley, John Dillon (for Gaynor, 75), Mark McGoldrick (for Cretaro 90), Martin Owens (for Keane 92), Liam Martin.

Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Ben Loughlin, Liam Burns, Derek Foran, Dan Cunningham, Chris Shields, John Mountney, Stephen McDonnell, Robert Waters, Michael Rafter, Shane O’Neill.

Subs: Ger Hanley, Gary Shanahan (for O’Neill 60), Cian Byrne, Gareth Coughlan (for Mountney, 69), Chris Reilly, Peter Thomas (for Waters 76), Gareth Brady.

Danny North goal enough to give Sligo Rovers all three points against Monaghan United in Gortakeegan

Monaghan United 0 – 1 Sligo Rovers

     St Patrick's Athletic man Athletic Daniel North.

A 49th minute strike by Danny North photo right was enough to give Sligo Rovers all three points against Monaghan United in Gortakeegan on Friday night.

The victory keeps the Bit ‘O’ Red on the same points as Shamrock Rovers at the top of the table while Monaghan wait for their first win of the 2012 league campaign.

Both teams started with equal levels of determination but it was the visitors who shaded the opening exchanges. The first half failed to produce an opening goal but both teams came out fired up for the second half. Despite Monaghan United putting the early pressure on, it was Sligo Rovers who made the break through.

Sligo’s goal came in the 49th minute when Raffaele Cretaro found prolific scorer Danny North in the box with loads of space and a confused home defence. North capitalised and found the back of the net past a previously unflappable Chris Bennion in the Monaghan goal.

Bennion had proven his worth in the first half when he had tipped over a smashing volley from Lee Lynch to keep the scores even and he had managed to deal with everything that Sligo threw at him without much strain until the goal was conceded.

Again Bennion was at the centre of the action when Ross Gaynor had a chance to stretch the Sligo lead in the 76th minute. Bennion managed to block the ball with his feet and even though Gaynor tried again, Bennion had the measure of him.

In the 80th minute Monaghan United were blessed as it looked certain that Sligo were about to get their second goal of the night. Danny North had rounded Alan Byrne and sent the ball goalward only for Stephen Maher to get a touch to it.  Maher almost caused an own goal though as the ball curved dangerously towards the goal line at the far post. John Dillon ran onto it but Stephen Maher, making up for his mistake, threw himself at it and a tussle ensued before Bennion hurled himself on the ball like a soldier on a grenade.

Mons escaped further embarrassment when the ball spilled to the feet of  Ross Gaynor who smacked a thunderous half volley off the post and the ball almost spun into the net off Bennion but Willo McDonagh managed somehow to get a head to it and clear the danger.

United’s substitute Owen Humphrey then had a chance at the other end of the pitch but the ball was cleared during a scramble in the box with Mons fans and players shouting handball but the referee Richie Winters flagged the game on.

The game petered out towards the end with no real chances for either side but Roddy Collins will probably feel unhappy at his team’s inability to upset the odds.  This is the third week that Monaghan have played against top teams and they have proven that they are not as weak as pundits have been predicting in the pre-season build up but there is still some room for improvement. Next up for Monaghan United are fixtures against Fanad United in the EA Sports Cup on Monday, followed by UCD and Drogheda in the league.

Sligo will have an opportunity to continue their dominance at the top of the Premier Division when they face Dundalk and Bray Wanderers in the coming weeks.

Monaghan United: Chris Bennion; Conor McMahon, Stephen Maher, Alan Byrne, Willo McDonagh; Robert Bayly, Conor Murphy, Garreth O’Connor, Keith Quinn; Jordan KeeganTony Griffiths.
Subs: Michael Schlingermann, Roddy Collins, Owen Humphrey, Darragh Reynor, Shane Dunne, Jason Marks.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Romauld Boco, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor; Danny Ventre, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Lee Lynch, Joseph Ndo; Danny North, Raffaele Cretaro.
Subs: Richard Brush, David Cawley, John Dillon, Liam Martin, Mark McGoldrick, Marty Owens, Jason Dykes.

Referee: Richie Winters.   Attendance: 750.

Baraclough maintains Sligo Rovers unbeaten record

Rovers 1 Bohemians 0

       Lynch

Sligo Rovers claimed their second win of the season with a 1-0 win over Bohemians at the Showgrounds.

Lee Lynch’s above right photo 76th-minute goal was enough to see off Aaron Callaghan’s side who fought bravely throughout but failed to really take advantage of any chances they made.

Rovers were without Mark Quigley and Alan Keane through suspension, while Bohs had Adam Martin, Stephen Traynor, Keith Ward and Dave Scully absent.

He may be a new face in Irish football, but Ian Baraclough seems to have settled into his job as manager of Sligo Rovers quite well as he extended his unbeaten start to four games with a 1-0 victory over Bohemians and he was delighted in particular with his side’s 100% record at home so far.

“It’s important we kept the home run going, three wins from three games so it gives the lads impetus to go into games full of confidence. It was a hard earned win tonight because Bohs came and set up to make it difficult for us and they did it well, they were very organised. It was a credit to the manager and players there but we’ve got to get used to that because teams are going to come here and try and make it difficult for us first and foremost and maybe hit us on the break so one we’ve got to pass the ball quicker and brighter and two we’ve got to concentrate when we’ve got possession so that we don’t leave the back door open.

With games coming thick and fast already with the Airtricity League and Setanta Cup, Baraclough admits a couple of players could do with a rest and sit out of Tuesday’s game with Glentoran.

“We haven’t assessed what injuries and niggles there are, but I think maybe one or two players need a rest. The League is the most important thing but the Setanta Cup is a big trophy to go and win and I’d like to go and win it if possible so I’ll have to see, it’s too early to assess. The players are in for light training tomorrow morning so we’ll assess them then.

There were some worries for Gavin Peers as he looked to be struggling at times during the second half. Ian revealed that the centre-back had been ill for the last 48 hours and to play at all last night was a true credit to his mental strength.

“Gavin Peers has been ill for the last 48 hours, so for his to get off his bed and play tonight was a credit to him and shows his attitude and shows he’s mentally strong and I thought he played really well tonight having known what he’s gone through in the last couple of days.”

The Bit O’Red’s next league encounter will be a trip to Gortakeegan to face Monaghan United and Ian admits he doesn’t know a great deal about Roddy Collins side but he looks forward to finding about them for himself.

“I’m being told little bits and bobs about Monaghan, but I think people are holding things back not to scare me, but I look forward to finding out for myself, if you’re going to go and do anything in the League you’ve got to go to places all over Ireland and try and win games so it doesn’t matter whether it’s on grass, on mud, on astroturf you have to go and do it.”

With a limited squad and two suspensions already, Baraclough admits it can be a struggle at times but just has to get on with it.

“You would like to go and change a few things and you certainly like to see an impact from the bench if things aren’t going right because I like the players to understand two or three different formations.

We had to go and change it tonight a little bit. You are limited at the moment to what personnel you can put on so yes it is difficult but the cards are there, they’ve been dealt and I’ve got to go play the hand.”

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Romuald Boco, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor, Danny Ventre, Lee Lynch, John Dillon (Davoren 74), Joseph Ndo, Raffaele Cretaro (Cawley 88), Danny North. Subs not used: Richard Brush, Jake Dykes, Liam Martin, Mark McGoldrick, Martin Owens. Booked: Peers

Bohemians: Craig Sexton, Owen Heary, Evan McMillan, Kevin Feely, Karl Moore, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Peter McMahon (Harney 81), Dwayne Wilson (Buckley 68), Daniel Corcoran, Danny Joyce (O’Connor 64). Subs not used: Roberto Lopes, Ryan McEvoy, Sean Stewart, Andrew McNulty. Booked: Feely

Referee: Graham Kelly.   Attendance: 2,573.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sligo Rovers 2-1 UCD

Again Jason McGuinness was the injury-time hero for the second league game in a row with the winner

Jason McGuinness struck the winner for Sligo deep into stoppage time       

Rovers led through Danny North’s superb 23rd minute chip, which came just three minutes after defender Alan Keane lost the ball to Ciaran Nangle and slid in to claim it back, catching Nangle in the process. Referee Rob Rogers showed the red card without any hesitation and with that, Sligo were down to ten.

David O’Connor thought he had grabbed a point for the visitors with a last-minute equaliser, but McGuinness popped up to head Lee Lynch’s corner home to delight the home crowd of over 2,000.

Rovers made just one change from the team that drew with Shelbourne in the league last week, with Lynch coming in for the suspended Mark Quigley.

And it was Lynch that had the game’s first chance, after he worked a neat one-two with North on five minutes, but fired his shot straight at goalkeeper Ger Barron.

UCD made one change to the team that beat Cork City, with Graham Rusk coming into midfield in place of Mark Langtry, who got the goal against Cork.

UCD were presented with an extra man advantage on 20 minutes, when Keane was shown a straight red card for sliding in on Ciaran Nangle.

It looked harsh but Rovers took less than three minutes to respond, as Ross Gaynor’s long ball over the top found lone striker North, who brilliantly chipped the keeper.

The Bit O’ Red almost doubled the lead three minutes later after Lynch won possession in midfield and countered with North and John Dillon, but the latter could only hit the side-netting from inside the box.

But it was far from one-way traffic, and Paul O’Conor twice tried his luck from distance, though he failed to trouble Gary Rogers on either occasion.

The second half saw plenty of endeavour from both teams, but precious few chances until the dramatic closing stages.

Chris Lyons did have a great chance for UCD when released by Robbie Benson’s pass, but he dragged his shot across the face of goal.

But O’Connor found the net for the Students in the 90th minute, when he stabbed the ball home from close range, after the visitors saw two efforts come off the crossbar in quick succession.

But Rovers didn’t give up, and McGuinness forced the ball over the line in injury-time as Rovers dramatically claimed all three points.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor; Danny Ventre, Lee Lynch, John Dillon (David Cawley 78), Joseph Ndo (Iarfhlaith Davoren 58); Romuald Boco, Danny North (Raffaele Cretaro 73).

Subs not used: Richard Brush, Mark McGoldrick, Liam Martin, Jake Dykes.

UCD: Ger Barron; Danny Ledwith, Michael Leahy, David O’Connor, Ciaran Nangle (Mark Langtry 68); Chris Mulhall, Paul O’Conor, James Kavanagh, Graham Rusk; Robbie Benson, Chris Lyons (Dean Clarke 78).

Subs not used: Hugh Douglas, Mark McGinley, Barry McCabe, Stephen Doyle, Cillian Morrison.  Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin

Last minute Jason McGuinness goal gives Sligo Rovers a share of the points

Shelbourne 1-1 Sligo Rovers

  Philip Hughes opened the scoring at Tolka Park on Shelbourne's return to the top tier
Joseph Ndo left pic goes high jinks for this ball? & Hughes’ 42nd minute opener.

A last minute Sligo Rovers goal gave Ian Baraclough a hard-earned point against newly promoted Shelbourne in the opening game of the season. Philly Hughes’ 42nd minute opener looked as if it had given Shels all three points until Jason McGuinness equalised with virtually nothing left on the clock.

It was a lively first-half and both sides were out to prove a point. Shels’ keeper Dean Delany was called in to action after just two minutes when John Dillon had an effort on goal. Former St Pat’s striker Danny North was through on goal but Delany responded quickly to keep the game scoreless.

North was looking sharp early on and latched on to a flick-on from Jason McGuinness, but could only hit it over the bar. It was a scrappy 45 minutes and both sides were giving away plenty of needless free-kicks. Philly Hughes scored against the Bit o’Red in the FAI Ford Cup final and, looking as dangerous as ever, proved his worth when he scored on 42 minutes with a curling free-kick. The free-kick may have been controversial as Danny Ventre looked to have taken the ball cleanly but you can take nothing away from Hughes as he hit it so beautifully.

Sligo were reduced to ten men in the dying stages of the first half when Mark Quigley was given his marching orders for a dodgy tackle on Shelbourne’s Paddy Kavanagh. Sligo started the second-half brightly and were keen to send out a warning early on. David Cassidy is a cult hero at Tolka Park and went so close to doubling the Dublin side’s lead when Lorcan Fitzgerald played a perfect ball over the top to Cassidy, but it was cleared by Jason McGuinness.

Former Dundalk man Ross Gaynor, filling in at left-back, was sending warning signals to Shelbourne with his early corners and was finding himself in acres of space at moments throughout the game. The Ardee native was playing in perfect crosses in front of Delany’s goal but Rovers were unable to convert anything.

Paddy Kavanagh was a regular bench-warmer for Shamrock Rovers last season but looked sharp and went agonisingly close to giving Shels a second when he headed just wide of Gary Rogers’ goal. A Joseph Ndo free then reached the head of Jason McGuinness perfectly but the former Bohs man hit it straight at Delany in goal.

Derek Tomney was at the receiving end of plenty of abuse from both sets of fans and did nothing to help this matter when he denied a penalty shout for Shels. Philly Hughes appeared to be taken down in the box by Gavin Peers but Tomney waved play on. Hughes and David Cassidy were linking up nicely but were unable to turn their play in to a goal.

Sligo had been threatening throughout the second half and grabbed a late equaliser through the head of Jason McGuinness in the last movement of the game. Gavin Peers’ overhead kick met the head of McGuinness perfectly and he slotted home to give Ian Baraclough his first point of the season.

Sligo responded well after being reduced to ten men but Alan Mathews’ side showed great strength to take the lead.

Shelbourne: Dean Delany, Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Andy Boyle, Glen Cronin, Conan Byrne, David Cassidy, Philip Hughes, Paddy Kavanagh, Stephen Hurley, Ian Ryan.

Subs not used: Brendan McGill, Brian Shortall, Paul Skinner, Sean Byrne, Philip Gorman, John Sullivan.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Jason McGuinness, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Ross Gaynor, Danny Ventre, John Dillon (Liam Martin, 86), Romauld Boco, Mark Quigley, Danny North, Joseph Ndo (Lee Lynch, 72).

Subs not used: Richard Brush, Jake Dykes, Ben McGarry, Mark McGoldrick, David Cawley.

Attendance: 1718.  Referee: Derek Tomney

Extratime.ie man of the match: Ross Gaynor

David Kelly on course for a Sligo return against Cavan

Kelly's return will be a boost to Sligo as they bid to bouce back from a disappointing 2011

Kelly’s return will be a boost to Sligo as they bid to bouce back from a disappointing 2011
After nearly a year out with injury, David Kelly is set to make his inter-county return as Sligo take on Cavan in the Allianz League Division 3 on Saturday.

The Tubbercurry player featured for DCU in their Sigerson Cup success last weekend and Yeats county boss Kevin Walsh is expected to give the live-wire forward action at Breffni Park.

Sligo impressed when seeing off Wexford in their last league match, while Cavan have yet to register a point in this year’s campaign.

Walsh, however, is expecting the Breffni county to provide a stern test on Saturday and said: “Cavan lost their first two games but they played well by all accounts. Now they are at home again and we will be desperate for a win.

“The break in the league has given them time to regroup, so they will definitely be a serious test for us.”

Ian Baraclough is confirmed as new manager of Sligo Rovers

  

Left picture the new manager Ian Baraclough and right pic the new kit for 2012.

Sligo Rovers have announced the appointment of Ian Baraclough as the club’s new manager. The 41-year-old joins Sligo Rovers after the unanimous approval of the club’s interview board as the outstanding candidate for the Bit o’ Red job.

The former Scunthorpe United boss takes over from Paul Cook, who left Sligo to take over at Accrington Stanley. Much will be expected of the new manager, with the north west club expected to mount a strong challenge for the 2012 Airtricity Premier Division title.

Following his appointment, Baraclough said joining Sligo Rovers is an exciting challenge and one that he is relishing.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m very thankful for the chance.

“The club has had a magnificent four or five years and moved to a very high level, one that I want to continue. It’ll be a tough job to carry it on but I’m determined to do it.

“Timescales are not helping in terms of the league starting but there is nothing that can be done about that now and I just want to get down to work with the group of players.

“There is a keenness about the club and I think we want to show that this is where the club belongs. We want to make a massive effort to move the club further forward and bring more success to Sligo Rovers.

“The season begins on Friday night and I can’t wait to get started.”

Easy win for Rovers as good pre-season form continues 

Sligo Rovers 3-0 Athlone Town

Managerless Sligo Rovers continued their fine pre-season form with another victory, this time over Athlone Town, at the Showgrounds on Saturday night.

Although Paul Cook suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat in his first game in charge of Acrington Stanley, his former side don’t look to be suffering with a fortnight to go before the big kick-off as they fired three past their first division opponents.

The home side were on top right from the start of this tie. New signing Danny North had the first opportunity of the game after six minutes when he turned and struck from the edge of the box forcing a save from Bernard Power.

Athlone’s first chance of the game was from a corner, although Paul Danagher failed to make the most of it as he headed well over the bar of Bit O’ Red stopper Gary Rogers.

Rafael Cretaro came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after 15 minutes when he met an Alan Keane cross, but his header cannoned off the crossbar. Six minutes later however, Cretaro broke the deadlock as he saw another header hit the woodwork, only for the ball to fall nicely for him to tap in.

Power was forced into a save from his own defender when a completely mistimed clearance almost trickled into the net with ten minutes of the half remaining.

Rovers hit the crossbar for a third time on the brink of half-time, as Ross Gaynor’s powerful strike struck the woodwork and went out of play. North looked to have doubled the home side’s lead just before the half time whistle went when he met a Romauld Boco cross, but he was judged to have been offside.

Rogers was finally forced into a save early in the second half when Garvan Broughall bared down on goal, but the Meath native came out quick to stop the winger from grabbing an equalizer.

Efforts were now few and far between, Danny Ventre’s 25-yard strike being tipped wide, but trialist Pascal Millien brought life back into the game when his fantastic effort from outside the box found the far corner of Power’s goal. Pascal wasn’t finished however, as he celebrated with a series of somersaults and cartwheels.

North made sure of the victory just seconds later when he was picked out by a superb John Dillon ball and found the back of the net when he slotted the ball low under the ‘keeper. It proved to be the last action of note as Rovers finished the game with a very comfortable victory.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers, Iarfhliath Davoren, Romauld Boco (Pascal Millien h-t), Lee Lynch (David Cawley 83), Danny Ventre, Ross Gaynor (Mark McGoldrick 86), Rafael Cretaro (John Dillon h-t), Danny North (Liam Martin 86).

Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Jake Dykes, Ben McGarry.

Athlone Town: Bernard Power, Damien Rushe, Paul Danagher (Stephen Relihan 65), Ross Kenny, Brian McCarthy, Brian Gill (Joe Woods 65), Jason Hughes, Kevin Williamson, Garvan Broughall, Noel McGee, Mark Sherlock.

Subs not used: Roy King, Robbie Kelleher.

Marren’s stunning accuracy beats Wexford into submission in a thriller at Markievicz Park on Sunday last     SLIGO 4-14 WEXFORD 1-17

 3-5 for Marren 

 ADRIAN MARREN produced a stunning individual performance to help Sligo secure their first win in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League as they held off an heroic second-half revival by Wexford in a highscoring thriller at Markievicz Park on Sunday last.

The Curry sharpshooter grabbed a personal tally of 3-5 to set Sligo up for their first victory in league or championship for almost a year.

In a game of fluctuating fortunes, rampant Sligo coasted into a twelve-point lead (3-10 to 0-7) five minutes into the second-half but had to sweat it out in the closing stages as Wexford turned the match on its head with a string of unanswered scores, including a well-taken opportunist goal by P.J. Banville.

By the 62nd minute, the Leinster side had cut the gap to three (3-12 to 1-15) and panic set in for the home side.

Superb points from play by Alan Costello and Brendan Egan steadied the ship but still Wexford refused to give in and got to within three points of Sligo again as the game ticked into injury time.

Anxious Sligo needed an insurance score and the prolific Marren was the man to deliver the goods, delightfully lobbing stranded ‘keeper, Anthony Masterson, with virtually the last kick of the game after David Rooney’s precise pass over the top of the Wexford defence had created the opening.

In the end, Marren’s lethal finishing proved the difference between the sides and it was with relief rather than jubilation that the home supporters greeted the final whistle.

Wexford, touted as favourites for promotion, came with a big reputation but were chasing the game from as early as the first minute when Sligo jumped in front with a well-taken penalty.

The tireless Johnny Davey created the danger with a penetrating run down the right flank and when young full-forward, James Clarke, starting his first Senior game for Sligo, was hauled to the ground as he attempted to make contact with Davey’s crossfield pass, the referee, Robbie O’donnell, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Marren dispatched a stinging shot high into the roof of the net to ignite Sligo and for much of the first-half there was only one team in it.

Taking heart from their whirlwind start, Sligo took the game to Wexford with renewed confidence. Marren blasted over an excellent score in the fifth minute and Mark Breheny added on two more scores to ease the Yeats county into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead by the ninth minute. Wexford’s only score in this period came from the hard-working Ciarán Lyng.

Redmond Barry and Ben Brosnan kept the visitors in touch but Marren was on fire for Sligo and his confidence was perfectly illustrated with a text book score in the 13th minute. Pat Hughes got in on the scoring act with a point from play minutes later before Marren grabbed Sligo’s second goal in the 19th minute. Once again, Davey was the provider, crossing low across the goalmouth for Marren to guide the ball low to the net from a tight angle.

Wexford replied with unanswered points by Lyng (two) and the excellent Adrian Flynn, but Sligo continued to make most of the running and had scores from Marren and Mcgee in quick succession before they grabbed a third goal two minutes before the break.

This time it was Breheny who initiated the danger, releasing Costello who charged through the heart of the Wexford defence before crashing a deceptive shot low to the keeper’s left.

That gave Sligo a 3-7 to 0-7 lead at the interval and it looked to be all over when they stretched their advantage to 3-10 to 0-7 within five minutes of the restart, courtesy of good scores from Marren, Breheny and Costello.

Wexford didn’t register their first score of the second-half until the 46th minute and even then it was a free by substitute, Shane Roche. The visitors’ first score from play in the second period came in the 50th minute, a good effort by Flynn.

At that stage, Sligo were still well in control but with substitute Roche a growing influence and Eric Bradley, Lyng, Flynn and Andrew Shore all becoming more prominent, Wexford gradually chipped away at the home side’s big lead.

The Leinster side got the break they needed in the 22nd minute when Sligo ‘keeper, Philip Greene, parried Lee Chin’s effort and Banville followed up to force the ball to the net.

That left Sligo leading by 3-12 to 1-10 and then five points in a row by rejuvenated Wexford, courtesy of Paddy Byrne (two), Flynn, Roche and Redmond Barry, cut the gap to just three points.

Sligo were clearly rattled at this stage but they managed to engineer two great scores from Costello, who swung over a brilliant point from an acute angle, and Brendan Egan, who found the range with a magnificent long-range kick, to settle their nerves.

Points by Lyng and substitute, Colm Morris, brought the gap back to three points (3-14 to 1-17), and Sligo were hanging on as the game drifted into injury time.

They needed one further score to seal the win and Marren answered the call, completing a magnificent hat-trick with a clinically-taken goal right at the death.

Cook finally move’s on to manage Accrington Stanley

 

PAUL COOK was yesterday confirmed as the new manager of Accrington Stanley, ending a protracted spell of uncertainty regarding the future of the 44- year-old, whose future at Sligo Rovers had been in doubt since he was linked with St Johnstone last October and, subsequently, Derry City.

The move to the League Two side, with whom he has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal, had been the subject of prolonged speculation. Cook was keen to take over at Accrington Stanley, a club he previously played for and one that is close to his home in England, while Sligo were reluctant to let him go, at least without adequate compensation, so close to the start of the new season.

On Friday, Sligo announced that the move was off and that they expected Cook to return over the weekend but Stanley persisted and were finally in a position yesterday morning to confirm that they had got their man.

“It’s with great sadness that I leave Sligo,” said Cook, who won League Cup and two FAI cups during his almost five years at the club. “But all my thoughts now are on trying to maintain the success that Accrington Stanley have enjoyed since I was here as a player.”

Sligo chairman Michael Toolan wished him well and said that the process of finding a replacement would start immediately. “Paul Cook has the distinction of being the most successful manager in the history of Sligo Rovers,” he said. “His achievements will live long in the memory of everybody associated with Rovers and we want to thank him for his outstanding and historic contribution to us.

“The process of appointing a manager to build on the progress of the club starts now and with a view to challenging for major honours in 2012, our intentions and ambitions remain as high as ever.

“We have a large and talented squad already assembled and we’re setting our sights on a high-calibre replacement to give ourselves the best platform possible.”

Thursday 9th February 2012 

Cook is expected to return to the Rover’s after un-successful talks with Accrington Stanley

Paul Cook is expected to return to Sligo Rovers after talks regarding the vacant managerial position with Accrington Stanley “concluded unsuccessfully”.

Cook was given permission to speak with the English League Two side earlier in the month.

The Liverpudlian, who has served close to five years in the north west, has been linked to a number of jobs in recent times, including St Johnstone who he turned down last November.

A Sligo statement read: “Sligo Rovers wish to announce that Paul Cook is expected to return to Sligo this weekend after talks between Paul and Accrington Stanley concluded unsuccessfully.

“We would like to thank Accrington’s Peter Marsden for his professionalism and courtesy in the negotiations with Sligo Rovers and we wish them the very best for the future.

“We would also like to thank our supporters for their patience this week regarding this issue and look forward to a return to focus on our pre-season preparations.”

Narrow win for Rovers in Galway

A second-half penalty from Mark Quigley gave Sligo Rovers a 1-0 victory against SD Galway in Drom this afternoon.Quigley scored from the spot after the Salthill goalkeeper brought down Danny North following a through ball from John Dillon.A scrappy affair, played in difficult conditions in Galway, saw Rovers dominate possession but chances were few and far between over the 90 minutes.Rovers began the game brightly with defenders Alan Keane and Iarfhlaith Davoren threatening with speculative effort, with the latter’s effort flashing by the post.Dillon and Lee Lynch then tested the Salthill goalkeeper with long-range efforts but he comfortably held the ball on both occasions.Keane struck the crossbar just before half-time with a well-struck effort from the edge of the area.Gary Rogers replaced Richard Brush in the only change at the break for Rovers.The breakthrough came on the hour mark when North was bundled over and Quigley stroked home.Rovers made several changes in the final quarter with trialists Seid, David Cawley and Stephen Maher seeing action but there were no more goals in the second pre-season outing of the season.Sligo Rovers starting XI: Richard Brush, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre, Iarfhlaith Davoren, John Dillon, Lee Lynch, Romauld Boco, Aaron Greene, Mark Quigley, Danny North.Subs used: Gary Rogers, David Cawley, Ross Gaynor, Mark McGoldrick, Raffaele Cretaro, Seid Khiter, Stephen Maher.  

Up and coming games for Rovers

Meanwhile, Rovers will play other friendlies this month in addition to those already organised, with Limerick providing the opposition in Terryland Park on Monday 13 February. Kick-off will be 7:45pm.

Saturday 4 February – SD Galway v Sligo Rovers, Drom, 2pm

Monday 13 February – Limerick v Sligo Rovers, Terryland Park 7:45pm

Saturday 18 February – Sligo Rovers v Athlone Town, The Showgrounds, TBC kick-off 

Saturday 25 February – Longford Town v Sligo Rovers, Flancare Park, 2:30pm

Sligo Rovers are keen for a quick decision from Accrington Stanley

by the Lancashire Telegraph 
              

SLIGO Rovers are hoping for a quick decision from Accrington Stanley over their interest in Paul Cook – but the Reds remain keen to take their time before choosing a new boss.

Stanley requested permission to speak to current Sligo boss Cook late last week after contact was made between the two clubs, but they are in no rush to make a decision over whether they want to appoint the 44-year-old.

The Reds still regard Cook as a back-up option after telling caretaker manager Leam Richardson that the job will be his if he continues to impress in temporary charge.

Stanley do not want to make any decisions before Saturday’s home match against Oxford, and may indeed opt to give Richardson further games after that to prove himself, even if Sligo are keen for a swift resolution to the situation.

Cook returned to his native Liverpool at the weekend after news of Accrington’s request became public, with the decision made that it would be difficult for him to attend Sligo’s pre-season friendly against Galway on Saturday.

Sligo’s 2012 season starts on March 2 and the Irish club want to know if Cook will be leaving in case they need to make plans for a replacement ahead of their first match of the campaign.

Rovers continue the battle to keep Cook from moving to Accrington Stanley

Accrington Stanley Accrington Stanley FC v  Sligo Rovers

THE Sligo Rovers board of management will meet today to discuss the future of manager Paul Cook, who is moving closer to a return to England. The 44-year-old is in Liverpool after asking for permission to speak to League One club Accrington Stanley.

But caretaker manager LEAM Richardson will be given more time to stake his claim for the vacant Accrington Stanley job – even though the Reds are in talks with Sligo over boss Paul Cook.

Stanley told Richardson earlier in the week that he would be handed the job full time if he continues to impress as caretaker manager and the postponement of today’s match at Crewe, because of a frozen pitch at Gresty Road, means a decision is unlikely in the next few days.

Negotiations over compensation remain ongoing, between he clubs with the Bit O’Red holding out for a better deal than what the Lancashire club have offered.

It was reported the Lancashire Telegraph newspaper that Sligo agreed a figure of around £30,000 with St Johnstone in October before the Liverpudlian opted to turn down the move.

Cook remains the bookies’ favourite for the job, but some reports in Lancashire suggest the Accrington board are prepared to give caretaker boss Leam Richardson more time to prove himself.

The speculation couldn’t come at a worse time for Sligo, who are preparing for the 2012 season after signing a host of new players.

Sligo, winners of the FAI Cup in the past two seasons, are seen as the main challengers to Shamrock Rovers ahead of the new season, but they may have to take on that challenge with a new manager as Cook is keen to return to the club where he finished his career and took up coaching.

Paul Cook wants to talk to Accrington Stanley ‘Under contract with the bit O Red’

Saturday, 4 February 2012 12:14
    
Sligo Rovers have confirmed that Paul Cook has asked for permission to speak to Accrington Stanley over the vacant managerial position.

In a statement released this morning, the club stated that:

“Sligo Rovers can confirm that Paul Cook has asked for permission to speak to Accrington Stanley over their vacant manager position, with a view to his long-held desire to one day return to England to be closer to his family.

“Accrington have been informed that Paul Cook is under contract at Sligo Rovers and we have no desire to see him leave the club.

“The Management Committee has been working with Paul in recent months to assemble an excellent squad of players and it is our intention that this should continue at this critical time in our pre-season.”

Paul Cook adds three more to the 2012 Sligo Rovers squad

  

Sligo Rovers have announced three more signings for the upcoming 2012 season. Two time cup final hero Ciarán Kelly and league winning goalkeeper Richard Brush have signed contracts with the Northwestern side along with midfielder John Dillon, who will be entering his third year with the side.Kelly, who has saved six penalties in the cup finals in 2010 and 2011, will be now be the club’s goalkeeping coach while also challenging Rogers and Brush for the number 1 spot on Paul Cook’s teamsheet.Brush will be entering his second spell with the Bit O’Red after playing for Shamrock Rovers from July of 2011. After being signed by Sean Connor in 2006 and being John O’Hara’s understudy for that subsequent season, Brush firmly established himself in the number 1 shirt in the Showgrounds from 2007 onwards, making 115 appearances for the Bit O’Red becoming a firm fans favourite in the process.“It is fantastic to have Richard Brush back at the club. He is a great lad and I think we have top class goalkeepers. Ciaran brings with him a wealth of experience which is important to have. We have three goalkeepers who are proven in this league so I’m very happy with that”, manager Paul Cook said after the announcement.John Dillon resigning for the club will be seen to add much more creativity and width to the Rovers midfield, while his knack of scoring important and memorable goals for the club, the most memorable the injury time winner against Shamrock Rovers in September, is always one that will prove popular with fans. He has scored 10 goals in 58 league appearances for the Cup winners.“John has been improving all the time at the club and I think there is more to come,” said Cook. He implied there maybe a couple of signings to come when he said, “The squad is very close to completion and it is quite versatile. John is one of those players and I think he can make an even bigger contribution this season.”

Sligo Rovers add Lee Lynch to the 2012 squad

                

Sligo Rovers have announced the signing of Lee Lynch above from Drogheda United on a one-year deal.

The Limerick born player previously spent over two years with West Bromich Albion, where he played for thr reserve side and is a former Republic of Ireland Under-19 international.

Lynch becomes the latest addition to Paul Cook’s squad ahead of the 2012 campaign.

 Speaking on the Sligo Rovers website, Cook said of his latest signing: “Lee is an exciting young player and already has experience in the league with Drogheda. He is ambitious and I think he will enjoy being part of our side.

“We will be exploring more options in midfield but I think in Lee we have a player who can play a good part in what we’re trying to do this season.”

16th January 2012

Davey’s goal puts paid to IT Sligo comeback    Sligo 1-9 IT Sligo 0-6

GAA  v 

SLIGO recorded their second victory of the FBD Connacht League — one more win than they managed in 12 competitive games last year — when overcoming a dogged IT Sligo at a breezy Quigabar.

The winners’ greater guile saw them home by six points, but raiding defender Johnny Davey’s 48th-minute goal — which owed a lot to poor handling by IT Sligo goalkeeper Adrian Faherty — was needed to quell the students’ comeback.

Having trailed by four points, 0-6 to 0-2, after an opening period when Sligo had the huge breeze but also landed seven wides, IT Sligo kicked three unanswered scores to squeeze the margin to a single score, 0-6 to 0-5, by the 43rd minute.

Davey’s goal turned matters back in Sligo’s favour, however, and substitute Colm McGee found the range with a hat-trick of frees.

IT Sligo only pointed once in the last 20 minutes but were denied a goal when Paul Garvey, one of only three scorers for the losers, saw his low effort kept out by Philip Greene.

Alan Costello, who pointed twice, and Eugene Mullen, impressive at midfield, struck the best of Sligo’s first-half scores.

SCORERS — Sligo: J Davey 1-0, C McGee 0-3 (3f), D Maye (2f), A Costello 0-2 each, M Quinn, E Mullen 0-1 each; IT Sligo: P Garvey 0-3 (1f), A Croal 0-2, D Maye 0-1

SLIGO — P Greene; C Harrison, J Martyn, K Cawley; J Davey, S McManus, M Quinn; E Mullen, B Egan; A Costello, D Maye, J Hynes; S Coen, V Frizzell, S Kilcoyne. Subs: P Hughes for Hynes (28), A Marren for Frizzell (28), C McGee for Kilcoyne (35); M Breheny for Maye (47), T Taylor for Egan (57).

IT SLIGO — A Faherty; R Donovan, K Keane, J Kelly; D Drake, D Geraghty, D Maye; J McDaid, S Henry; G Gaughan, K Sweeney, P Garvey; D Cummins, M McHugh, A Croal. Subs: S Ryder for McDaid (HT), R McLoughlin for D Cummins (58), E Kenny for Croal (58).

REF — V Neary (Mayo).

– Sligo 1-9 IT Sligo 0-6

10th January 2012

Sligo Rovers going all out for the league title in 2012

    

Good new signing for the reds Danny North, Mark Quigley and Boco is back.

Since Raffaele Cretaro placed Sligo Rovers’ fourth penalty past Shelbourne goalkeeper Dean Delany on November 6th to give Rovers their second FAI Cup success in as many years, Paul Cook has set out on bringing further success to the Showgrounds.

Despite finishing the 2010 season as top scorers in the League of Ireland, the Bit o’ Red’s lack of fire power in the first round of games came back to haunt them.

Disappointing results against Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, Dundalk and UCD in the first round of games came back to haunt them at the money end of the campaign as the other Rovers eventually took the title.

Apart from a 2-1 defeat in the UCD Bowl in late April, the poor results in these games were not down to poor defending or beggarly form. They were down to a lack of a clinical finisher in the squad. Eoin Doyle, who had an amazing season considering he was still settling in to life as a striker, finished the season as the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 25 goals.

But ‘Gingerito’ took eight games to score his first goal of the league campaign and only scored once in the first round of league games against Bohemians in late April. Rovers, since gaining promotion in 2005, traditionally have had a slow start and this is where Paul Cook needed to act and acted he has.

The signature of proven League of Ireland goal scorers Danny North and Mark Quigley are the perfect remedy. North scored 19 goals in all competitions last year and is expected to be the star at the top of Paul Cook’s 4-5-1 tree. He will also bring that bit of physicality needed at the front line of the team while Quigley will probably sit in behind North along with Aaron Greene who recently re-signed with the club.

Quigley is, in my opinion the most exciting player in the league and although he may not have had the most successful season with an under-performing Dundalk side last year, he still managed to bag 15 goals. These two additions along with a few more signings will certainly boost our chances for the 2012 title.

As far as retaining players from last year’s squad, the first move was always going to be the signatures of our back four. So thankfully, we have signed four out of four with Alan Keane, Jason McGuinness and Gavin Peers putting pen to paper. Iarfhlaith Davoren has signed a new deal for next season after returning from an unsuccessful trial period at Pat Fenlon’s Hibernian. ‘Dav’ has been the most improved player over the past two seasons and has cemented and deserved his place as first choice left back for Rovers.

As for the rest of our back-line, Conor Powell, Derek Foran and goalkeeper Brendan Clarke recently travelled to Norway to take part in the FAI’s FIFPro squad. Powell confirmed recently that he was offered terms by the club, but wanted to keep his options open after a disappointing few months in the Northwest. Clarke impressed in every game last year but was rumoured not be offered a deal for this year and subsequently signed for St. Pat’s,  while Foran has always performed when called upon, but may look elsewhere for his football. Eoin Doyle has also departed the club after agreeing an 18-month deal with Pat Fenlon’s Hibs.

1st January 2012 

Paul Cook confirms he will stay with Sligo for the 2012 season

   

Paul Cook will stay with Sligo Rovers for 2012 despite holding talks with Derry City over their managerial vacancy.

Derry asked permission to speak to Cook after Stephen Kenny left for Shamrock Rovers.

Sligo have already signed 12 players, including the capture of Ross Gaynor, for next season and Cook has now confirmed he will not depart the Showgrounds with one year left on his current deal.

 Cook said: “Despite the reports I am committed to Sligo Rovers. I would like to thank Derry City for their interest, they are a great club and I was flattered by their approach. But my ambition is to stay with Sligo and compete for more honours in 2012. I wish Derry City all the best with their future endeavours.”
 
Tuesday 20th December 2011

Sligo Rovers to begin their 2012 efforts to win the title against Shelbourne away

 v 

Shamrock Rovers will begin the defence of their Airtricity League title with a trip to Hunky Dorys Park to face Drogheda United on Friday, 2 March

 Sligo Rovers, who finished in second place behind the Hoops, start their campaign away to newly promoted Shelbourne in Tolka Park.

First Division winners Cork City will face UCD in Belfield while Roddy Collin’s Monaghan United play Dundalk in Gortakeegan.

 Derry City host Bohemians and Bray Wanderers travel to St Patrick’s Athletic.

The mid-season break will be from 5 to 21 June due to theEuro 2012 finals and the league will conclude in the last week of October.

The fixtures for the 12-team league were issued this afternoon by the FAI, while the First Division schedule will be published when the licensing process is complete on the 12 teams.

The full 2012 fixture list for Rovers.

Date Time Comp Opposition Result Venue Report
Fri 2 March 8.00 AL Shelbourne Tolka Park
Sat 10 March 7.45 AL UCD The Showgrounds
Sat 17 March 7.45 AL Bohemians The Showgrounds
Fri 23 March 8.00 AL Monaghan United Gortakeegan
Mon 25 March EA EA 1st Round
Sat 31 March 7.45 AL Dundalk The Showgrounds
Fri 6 April 7.45 AL Bray Wanderers Carlisle Grounds
Midweek EA EA 2nd Round
Sat 14 April 7.45 AL Derry City The Showgrounds
Fri 20 April 7.45 AL Cork City Turner’s Cross
Sat 28 April 7.45 AL St. Patrick’s Athletic The Showgrounds
Fri 4 May 7.45 AL Drogheda United Hunky Dory’s Park
Sat 12 May 7.45 AL Shamrock Rovers The Showgrounds
Fri 18 May 7.45 AL Shelbourne The Showgrounds
Mon 21 May 7.45 AL UCD The UCD Bowl
W/E 27 May FAI FAI Cup 3rd Round
Fri 1 June 7.45 AL Bohemians Dalymount Park
Mid-eason break
Sat 23 June 7.45 AL Monaghan United The Showgrounds
Midweek EA EA Quarter Final
Fri 29 June 7.45 AL Dundalk Oriel Park
Sat 7 July 7.45 AL Bray Wanderers The Showgrounds
Fri 13 July 7.45 AL Derry City Brandywell Stadium
Sat 21 July 7.45 AL Cork City The Showgrounds
Fri 27 July 7.45 AL St. Patrick’s Athletic Richmond Park
Sat 4 August 7.45 AL Drogheda United The Showgrounds
Mon 6 August EA EA Semi-Finals
Fri 10 August 8.00 AL Shamrock Rovers Tallaght Stadium
Fri 17 August 8.00 AL Shelbourne Tolka Park
Mon 20 August 7.45 AL UCD The Showgrounds
W/E 26 August FAI FAI Cup 4th Round
Sat 1 Sept 7.45 AL Bohemians The Showgrounds
Fri 7 Sept 8.00 AL Monaghan United Gortakeegan
Mon 10 Sept 7.45 AL Dundalk The Showgrounds
W/E 16th Sept FAI FAI Cup Quarter-Finals
Fri 21 Sept 7.45 AL Bray Wanderers Carlisle Grounds
Sat 22 Sept EA EA Sports Cup Final
Sat 29 Sept 7.45 AL Derry City The Showgrounds
Fri 5 Oct 7.45 AL Cork City Turner’s Cross
Sat 13 Oct TBC AL St. Patrick’s Athletic The Showgrounds
Fri 19 Oct 7.45 AL Drogheda United Hunky Dory’s Park
Fri 26 Oct 7.45 AL Shamrock Rovers The Showgrounds
Sun 4 Nov TBC FAI FAI Cup Final Aviva Stadium

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Sligo Rovers sign Gary Rogers from St. Pat’s

    

Goalkeeper Gary Rogers has joined and Romuald Boco rejoined Sligo Rovers for next year’s Airtricity Premier Division. Rogers, 30, moves from St Patrick’s Athletic after three seasons at Richmond Park.

He becomes the fourth new signing for 2012 along with Romauld Boco,  The Benin international Romuald Boco has also rejoined the club from Chinese side Shanghai East Asia.

“I’m delighted to bring Romauld back to Sligo,” Cook told the club’s official website. “He was keen to re-join the club and I know he is determined to do well for us again.

“We want to improve the squad and I think everyone knows what he brings us.” Mark Quigley and Danny North, makes it 11 senior players now committed to the club.

 Manager Paul Cook said: “Gary Rodgers brings with him a decade of experience in the league and has been consistently one of the best goalkeepers around.

“We have put together the basis of a good squad. I’m happy with the business we have done so far and I think it will excite our supporters.”

Elsewhere, Shamrock Rovers have said that midfielder Stephen O’Donnell has signed for another season with the League of Ireland champions.             ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

SUNDAY 11th December 2011

Connacht 10 Gloucester 14  

Connacht win their first bonus point in Galway

      Gavin Duffy - Touched down with a first-half try for Connacht but it was not enough to earn a maiden victory in the competition

Gavin Duffy goes over for a Connacht try.

ANDY HAZELL admits Gloucester are determined to salvage whatever they can from Europe after scraping a Heineken Cup win in Galway.

Connacht went down to a narrow defeat, but did pick up a bonus point against Gloucester in their Pool 6 Heineken Cup match at the Sportsground.

Freddie Burns kicked the English side 6-0 ahead at the Sportsground before James Simpson-Daniel and Connacht captain Gavin Duffy swapped tries coming up to half-time.

The second period was bookended by penalties from Niall O’Connor and Burns as the Cherry and Whites stood firm to pick up only their second away victory in all competitions since February.

 Connacht showed their intent in the opening minutes with Ethienne Reynecke snaffling a turnover and David Gannon bounding up the right wing.

The Cherry & Whites went into the clash on the back of a five-match losing streak in all competitions — but a James Simpson-Daniel try and the boot of Freddie Burns was enough to secure the victory.

Gloucester still have a slim chance of qualifying but need other results to go their way.

Flanker Hazell, 33, admitted: “Connacht’s never an easy place to play and it wasn’t an attractive game.

“But we’d love to go as far as we can in the competition. We haven’t done the sums but if we can qualify it will be absolutely fantastic.”    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Trapattoni settles for the town of Gdynia near Gdansk for the 2012 Euro’s

      

SOCCER: AFTER A three-day trip to weigh up his options, Giovanni Trapattoni has settled on the town of Gdynia, near Gdansk as the Republic of Ireland’s base for next summer’s European Championships. However, no decision has yet been taken on the squad’s pre-tournament training base.“Gdynia is pretty much perfect in terms of what we want,” the Ireland manager said yesterday. “We’re in Poland. In terms of training facilities, they’re perfect, and they are close both to the hotel and airport. It also works well that we have one of our matches in Gdansk. The transfer times for the other matches are very small (an estimated 30 or 40 minute flight).“It’s a really good quality pitch even now,” he continued, “but they’ll be doing even more work coming into the summer months and by then it will be in pristine condition. It was important that we got a good surface. In Ireland and England we’re used to ones of good quality. It’s something that is important to us.”Trapattoni and his team’s schedule prior to touching down in Poland remains less clear. Both he and Marco Tardelli yesterday visited the training facility in Montecatini, near Florence, that had been recommended to him by friends, but the 72-year-old has not made a decision yet.     …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Wednesday 30th November 2011 

Boost for Sligo as Greene joins North, Gavin Peers and Alan Keane in signing for the Reds

         

SLIGO ROVERS have received a major boost ahead of next season as Ireland U21 cap Aaron Greene has signed a new deal with the club.

Rovers announced that former Bohemians man Greene had agreed a 12-month contract extension, welcome news for Rovers fans as Greene had been linked with a move to England.

The announcement comes after Sligo revealed that they had signed striker Danny North from St Patrick’s Athletic and also agreed new deals with FAI Cup heroes Gavin Peers and Alan Keane.

North said: “I’m delighted to get the deal sorted and join the club.

“I’ve been in the league for 18 months so obviously I know all about Sligo.

“Everyone knows the type of football they play and it’s my job to get into the team now and do well.

Decision, “I like to think I will fit in well with Sligo. Paul Cook called me basically as soon as the season was over so I knew he was keen and that was a big factor. It was not an easy decision to leave St Pat’s as I enjoyed my time there but I didn’t want to wait.

“Every player wants to improve and I’ll try to score as many as I can but I just want to do well with the team.

“The club has won three trophies in two years and I want to try and continue that.”         ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Six-month ban given to Sligo official for the verbal abuse of a fellow referee

               

A Sligo club referee has been banned for six months for verbally abusing another Sligo referee.

Curry club referee Malachy Maher has been banned for six months for verbally abusing Eugene MacHale as the county board cracks down on abuse of officials.

Maher is the second Sligo referee to be banned for abusing another official in the past 12 months. Drumcliffe Rosses Point whistler Des Henry was banned for two months for verbally abusing an underage referee last year.

And a young Curry player, James Connolly, has been banned for three months for clashing with St Molaise referee MacHale towards the end of the Sligo U-21 championship final between St John’s and Curry in Tourlestrane on November 12. MacHale, who won a Connacht senior medal with Mayo in 1985 was said to be “shaken” after the incident.

Maher was hit with the suspension for shouting verbal abuse during the closely contested affair. Maher was a spectator at the match, in which St John’s edged out their opponents in extra-time by 1-8 to 0-7.

Angry: Curry midfielder Connolly got a straight red card in extra-time for shouldering the referee. It is believed that the official was surrounded by angry Curry players as his umpires came to his aid at the end of the match.

Connolly, it is said, later apologised to the referee.

It is also understood that the referee’s way off the pitch was blocked by some Curry players and that the referee was not able to stay for the presentation. Both the referee and the U-21 player now have the option of appealing the decision to the Hearings Committee.

That committee hit the headlines in September after it was found that they erred in overturning a red card ban on St Mary’s star Mark Breheny in the absence of video and independent eye-witness evidence.

Sligo County Board admitted the committee got it wrong. Referees in the county threatened to go on strike in anger at the decision to re-instate the Sligo star for the county semi-final.

Meanwhile, the probe into the unruly scenes at the end of the Connacht club SFC final will begin in earnest this evening.

A special committee set up to investigate the disgraceful scenes at the end of the provincial SFC final last Sunday week will meet at the Connacht Council headquarters in Ballyhaunis.

The Connacht Competitions Control Committee met on Friday night and set up the special committee after Mayo referee Liam Devenney was accosted and needed an escort off the field following the final at Kiltoom.    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Saturday 26th November 2011

Ireland pair Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell hold lead on final day of golf World Cup               Ireland pair Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell hold lead heading into final round of golf World Cup   Ireland pair Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell joint leaders with Australia at golf World Cup

Sand play: Rory McIlroy chips the ball out of a bunker

Ireland will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Golf World Cup after Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell carded a 64 in today’s fourballs to move to 21 under par.

Starting the day level with Australia on 13 under, the duo sank eight birdies at Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island to establish a useful cushion over Germany, South Africa and the United States, who are all at 19 under

“We are right where we want to be going into tomorrow,” McDowell said.

“The leaderboard was really going to not mean anything until tonight and we are two shots ahead going into tomorrow, but there are some great teams up there, some great players.

“We are going to have to go and play well tomorrow but this is where we want to be. We are both playing lovely. I managed to heat my putter up today and make a few, and we are very excited looking forward to tomorrow.”

Ireland wasted no time improving their overnight score with five birdies in their opening seven holes to reach the turn in 31.

McIlroy and McDowell then picked up three more coming home to put themselves in a good position to go one better than 2009, when they finished runners-up to Italy.

“We thought something similar to the first day was going to be a solid score and we ended up sort of coming one short of that,” said McIlroy.

“But anything around eight, nine, 10-under par is a good score in that format, and I was just lucky enough that Graeme played very, very well today and holed a lot of great putts. I was a spectator for the majority of the round, but it was good.”

Germany and South Africa thrust themselves into contention on 19 under par with rounds of 61.

Germany, represented by Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka, tore up the Blackstone course with 11 birdies, a feat matched by South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

“That was our goal, to close the gap a little bit,” said Cejka.

“We knew we had to go low in that format today. We kind of got lucky that we made birdies on different holes. I think we played pretty solid and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s format.”

Schwartzel felt an improvement on the greens paid dividends for South Africa.

“We scored very well today. The first two days, we really struggled with putting and today the first few holes we didn’t make any putts,” he said.

“But then from seven, eight, nine, we made three birdies in a row, so suddenly we felt like we were back to our normal selves. Yesterday our score was the worst we could have had, we were playing well but we couldn’t putt. Now we have a good chance going into tomorrow, and it’s always an honour to play for your country.”

The duo were joined on 19 under par by the United States as Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland posted a 63 containing 10 birdies and a bogey while Australia slipped to fifth as a 67 left them 18 under.

Scotland lie six shots off the pace on 15 under after Martin Laird and Stephen Gallacher could only manage a 69, joining Wales after Rhys Davies and Jamie Donaldson returned a 65.

English duo Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, meanwhile, were languishing in 15th on 13 under par following a 68.             ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Wednesday 16th November 2011

Republic of Ireland are into the Euro 2012.  The party starts here

Ireland's Stephen Ward scores against Estonia
Ireland 5   Estonia 1 
Ireland’s Stephen Ward, left, beats the Estonia goalkeeper Pavel Londak to score during the Euro 2012 play-off in Dublin.Saturday 29th Octomber 2011                                                                                  
As no-contests go, this was about as enjoyable as they come. The Republic of Ireland‘s  supporters turned out in their droves to toast an exciting new dawn. The hard work had been done in the play-off first leg – the 4-0 win in Estonia representing something beyond wild dreams – and Giovanni Trapattoni’s players merely had to turn up to confirm their nation’s place at Euro 2012.
They did more than that, against an Estonia team that once again looked limited. Ireland’s professionalism did not desert them, as Dublin’s night-spots braced themselves for rich pickings, and they signed off from a memorable qualifying campaign by extending their unbeaten sequence to 11 matches.
It might have irritated Trapattoni that Estonia were allowed to equalise out of the blue and even finish with more punch than they had shown over the rest of the tie. But it did not really matter. The die had been cast and, despite the game petering out, the crowd responded to what they had seen, particularly in the first half and, more generally, in every tie since the crucial 1-0 win in September of last year in the stifling heat of Armenia, which Trapattoni considered the most decisive moment.
A thumping home win here never seemed likely but this was no anticlimax and the players’ post-match lap of honour felt like a love-in. Optimism followed each stride and the rapture from the stands made the senses bristle. Ireland had confirmed their qualification to a major finals for the first time on home soil.
“We’ll shake a few people up next summer, that’s for sure,” the goalkeeper Shay Given told the crowd. They bellowed their approval. The Football Association of Ireland chief executive, John Delaney, looked tired and emotional. “It’s made my day, my night, my life,” he said.
This could have been considered as one of the biggest games of the Ireland players’ lives and so the lack of tension, after the romp in Tallinn last Friday, felt weird. The dreams of everyone connected to the shirt had long since turned towards next summer. “Green with pride” read the signs around the ground at kick-off. The challenge for Trapattoni’s players had been to maintain focus.
There was levity in the crowd. The paper aeroplanes, made from the signs on the seats, glided down, some with no little majesty, and it became a competition to land them on the pitch. There were plenty of successes, which drew hearty cheers. The sideshow was diverting and the first half drifted by on the breeze.
Ireland controlled it even if their trademark intensity was inevitably diluted. Damien Duff was sharp and Robbie Keane looked in the mood to plunder. Twice in the opening minutes Keane might have scored. He wriggled through after an error by Taavi Rahn but he could not round Pavel Londak and then, after the goalkeeper had only parried Duff’s shot, he pulled wastefully wide of the near post.
Londak’s shortcomings were highlighted when Ireland went ahead on the night, and so were those of the defenders in front of him. Kevin Doyle was allowed to find space inside the area to head Duff’s corner goalwards and Londak’s parry was more of a pat, which failed miserably to get the ball out of the danger zone. The left-back Stephen Ward gleefully gobbled up the chance. Trapattoni smiled and applauded. For once, he could enjoy the show.
There was a gentleness about the second half until Estonia provided an unexpected jolt when the captain, Konstantin Vassiljev, struck from distance; Given got down sluggishly and allowed the ball to slip through his fingers. It was only the second goal that Ireland had conceded in 11 matches; Given had been similarly at fault for the other one, scored by Armenia’s Henrik Mkhitaryan from distance in Dublin.
Ireland raised the tempo. With Aiden McGeady on as a substitute, they threatened through Keane and Doyle and Richard Dunne thudded a header into Londak. By then, though, the action felt like it was getting in the way of the party. The celebratory mood was reflected in the ovations for Keane and Duff when they were substituted.
And then the final whistle sounded. Ireland had made the European Championship for only the second time. “The players deserve to have a party and to drink beer,” Trapattoni said, “but maybe it’s better that I don’t see it. Greece won Euro 2004. With this group of players, why not? We have good options.                                                                 It’s not a dream.”      Let the Party begin. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Kirby wraps it up for buoyant Sligo.    Sligo Rovers 4 UCD 2                             Sligo Rovers warmed up for the FAI Cup final with an entertaining victory at the Showgrounds in a match which featured six goals, a missed penalty and plenty of attractive football.

Rovers took the lead after just 12 minutes, as Matthew Blinkhorn headed home John Dillon‘s corner from close range.

Ciaran Kelly saved Dean Marshall’s penalty on 19 minutes, but the hero ‘keeper turned villain on the stroke of half-time when he spilled Robert Benson’s shot from outside the box into the net.

Raffael Cretaro restored Rovers’ lead with the help of a deflection two minutes into the second half after a neat move and Dillon made it 3-1 just after the hour-mark.

Good work by Paul Corry enabled Benson to pull one back on 73 minutes only for Alan Kirby to seal victory for Sligo in the closing stages.

Sligo — Kelly, Keane, McGuinness, Foran, Davoren, Ventre (Kirby 64), Russell, Dillon (Martin 79), Greene (Doyle 60), Cretaro, Blinkhorn.

UCD — McGinley, Douglas, D O’Connor, Leahy (Boyle h-t), Nangle, Marshall (Doyle 80), Corry, P O’Conor, Russell, Belhout (Lyons 54), Benson.

Ref — P Sutton (Clare)               ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Goals from Doyle keeps Sligo’s title hopes alive for now

Sligo's Eoin Doyle celebrates scoring the opening goal against Bohemians at Dalymount Park last night. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Sligo’s Eoin Doyle celebrates scoring the opening goal against Bohemians at Dalymount Park last night.

Bohemians 0 Sligo Rovers 3: EOIN DOYLE came off the bench to score twice inside eight minutes to ensure his former club wouldn’t retain their title without kicking a ball last night. The brace brought Doyle’s tally to 20 for the league season, beating the Sligo Rovers’ club record set in their title winning season of 1937.
 
While champions Shamrock Rovers apparently endured a somewhat bumpy landing at Dublin airport on their return from their Europa League clash in Thessalonika, second in the table Sligo belied their poor display in the opening 45 minutes to win this game at a canter in the second half.
They thus narrow the gap on their Dublin rivals to just one point, putting it up to Michael O’Neill’s side ahead of their trip to UCD on Monday night.
For Bohemians, their biggest defeat of the season at Dalymount was a sad way to end their home fixtures, particularly so amid great uncertainty surrounding the future of the club in the close season ahead as their serious financial woes are likely to come to a head.
 
With six changes in their starting 11 from the side that won the FAI Cup semi-final here last Sunday, Sligo appeared they might have already turned their focus on their third successive FAI Cup final, and retaining that trophy.
Further credence was given to that notion as Bohemians dominated the first half. Striker Christy Fagan’s hard running, determination, and no little skill, continually troubled Sligo and he snuffed out the first opening on nine minutes when controlling Anto Flood’s flick to turn and shoot narrowly wide.
On 21 minutes it was livewire Fagan again who was central to the action. His pass unhinged the Sligo defence, the pity was that Stephen Traynor wasn’t alert enough to it.
 
Traynor was pivotal, though, as Bohemians should have taken the lead on 24 minutes. A flowing, six-pass move also involving Ger O’Brien and Stephen Hurley saw Traynor thread Flood in on goal. Brendan Clarke was promptly off his line to make a terrific save with his feet.
Bohemians were now running the game and veteran Ollie Cahill warmed Clarke’s hands from all of 30 yards before the irrepressible Fagan volleyed wide.
That Bohemians trooped off not in front at the break mocked much of the 45 minutes we’d seen. But that changed, and utterly so, in the second half. There was far more purpose to Sligo from the restart and they ought to have been ahead six minutes in.
 
An unfortunate slip by Chris Forrester, named Bohemians Young Player of the Year before the game, gifted Sligo’s Alan Kirby possession. Joseph Ndo took it on to put Matthew Blinkhorn clean through on goal. But Barry Murphy outwitted the striker to get down well and save the flicked shot.
Cue Doyle’s introduction on 61 minutes for Kirby. Two minutes later Sligo were ahead as Doyle punished a mistake by Liam Burns to take the ball from the Bohemians central defender, run on and calmly shoot home.

Six minutes later Doyle was there again on the back post to volley in Raffaele Cretaro’s deep cross. Doyle was then also involved in the build up to the third in the 75th minute, feeding Aaron Greene on the right to cross for Blinkhorn to tap in from a couple of yards out.  ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………   Ireland to face Estonia in play-offs   Soccer: The Republic of Ireland has been drawn against Estonia in the play-offs for next year’s European Championships, with the second leg taking place at the Aviva Stadium. 

The FAI confirmed that the away leg in Tallinn will take place on Friday November 11th, with the second taking place at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday November 15th.

Estonia were the lowest ranked side in the draw after coming second in Group C, a group that involved Northern Ireland. Brian Kerr’s Faroe Islands team were also in the group and recorded a 2-0 victory over the Estonians in their home tie, while losing 1-2 in Tallinn.
Estonia has never reached the finals of a major tournament, and this is Tarmo Ruutli’s side’s first play-off appearance.
Tickets will be at a premium at the compact A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, with the official capacity given as 9,692, although that can be extended to 10,300. The FAI will open discussions with the Estonian FA in the coming days to determine allocations for away fans.
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni expressed his delight at the fact that the first leg will be away from home, but stressed the importance of not underestimating the challenge Estonia will bring.
“It is extremely positive for Ireland that we will play the first leg away. We should not underestimate our opposition, or any team, including Estonia, to have made it through to the play-off, they must have quality and mental fortitude,” said Trapattoni.
“Our build up to this stage of the competition has shown us the importance of organisation, attention to detail, and self-belief. That will be vitally important to us as we prepare for these games in November.”
Ireland and Estonia have met twice before, in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup under Mick McCarthy‘s management. They won both games 2-0, with defender Richard Dunne, a scorer against Armenia, on target in each match.
There were tougher-looking assignments in the pot of unseeded teams they could have been put up against, with Turkey hosting Croatia, the Czech Republic taking on Montenegro and Bosnia going up against Portugal.
Portugal and Bosnia were both losers in winner-takes-all showdowns on Tuesday, with Portugal losing to Denmark and with it surrendering top spot in Group H, while Bosnia drew 1-1 with France when a win would have seen them pip Laurent Blanc‘s men to the automatic spot in Group B.
The Czechs took second in Group I, winning a two-way tussle with Scotland to finish behind reigning champions Spain.

Play-off draw

Estonia v Republic of Ireland ; Turkey v Croatia; Czech Republic v Montenegro; Bosnia and Herzegovina v Portugal. First named team home on Friday November 11th or Saturday November 12th. Second legs on Tuesday November 15th. Ireland’s away leg has been confirmed for Friday, November 11th.  ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

UEFA confirm Ireland are seeded for the play-offs 

Euro 2012 - Ireland will be seeded in Thursday's play-off draw                  

Watch the draw for the Euro 2012 play-offs on Thursday at 11.55am on RTÉ.ie/sport

UEFA have confirmed that Ireland will be seeded for the Euro 2012 play-off draw alongside Portugal, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

Giovanni Trapattoni’s side are the third highest ranked side out of the eight play-off qualifiers in UEFA’s coefficient list.

 The Republic will now face Montenegro, Turkey, Estonia or Bosnia and Herzegovina in the two-legged play-off.

Thursday’s draw for the UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs takes place in Krakow, Poland.    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ireland through to the Euro 2012 play-offs,   Draw on Thursday the 13th October.

Richard Dunne - Scores the match winning goal

The Republic of Ireland secured a Euro 2012 play-off spot after a dramatic 2-1 win over Armenia, but it came at a price as Kevin Doyle was sent-off in the second half.

The striker is now certain to miss the first leg of the play-offs and will need some generosity from UEFA to avoid a two-game ban.

With injured skipper Robbie Keane struggling to make next month’s double header, Ireland’s striking options are limited for their biggest game in two years.

 However, Giovanni Trapattoni will take some comfort from a fine performance by Keane’s replacement Simon Cox.

This victory owed much to good fortune as referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez harshly sent-off Armenia ‘keeper Roman Berezovsky for handling outside his area.

Valeri Aleksanyan’s hilarious own goal then put Ireland in front before the break. Richard Dunne added a second after poor goalkeeping from substitute Arsen Petrosyan.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s strike ended Ireland’s run of eight clean sheets and made for a nervous last half an hour.

Had Berezovsky stayed on the field it could have been a much more tense night for Trapattoni, his players and the home fans.

Russia’s victory comfortable victory over Andorra was expected and secured the automatic qualification spot for them.

Vardan Minasyan’s young team were not overawed by the occasion and attacked in the same manner that has enhanced their reputation in recent months.

Gevorg Gharzaryan and Mkhitaryan were centrally involved as the visitors saw more of the ball and controlled the game for long spells.

Mkhitaryan’s third minute run and shot was an early indication of Armenia’s intent as the visitors settled better and attacked with pace.

Cox’s inclusion over Shane Long had prompted much talk and he had the chance to repay his manager’s faith after ten minutes.

Doyle flicked on for Cox, who turned well but was crowded out as he tried to shoot. Doyle fired straight at Berezovsky when the ball came his way.

At the other end, Ireland’s defence was cut open by Marcos Pizzelli’s pass. Shay Given was happy to see Yura Movisyan’s heavy touch push the ball wide.

Ireland were given a huge boost just before the half hour mark, as Berezovsky was sent-off for handling Cox’s lob outside the box.

The decision looked a poor one and Armenia will also feel aggrieved about Cox’s control, as the ball seemed to brush off his arm.

Substitute goalkeeper Petrosyan was called on to make his debut as midfielder Edgar Malakyan trudged off.

However, Armenia were undeterred by the dismissal and continued to press forward. Frustration was growing inside the stadium until Aleksanyan lifted the pressure.

Duff crossed low for Doyle but he failed to connect with a back flick. The hapless Aleksanyan did Doyle’s job for him by burying the ball in the bottom corner.

Petrosyan could have followed Berezovsky down the tunnel but he only picked up a yellow card when he slid out of the box with the ball in his grasp.

McGeady switched to the right at the break after a quiet first half and he earned a free-kick that saw Dunne set up Cox. The striker turned well but the shot was blocked.

Keith Andrews was next to go close as his long-range strike whizzed past Petrosyan’s left post.

McGeady was instrumental as Ireland doubled their lead through Dunne. The winger danced away from his markers to cross. Petrosyan flapped at the ball and Dunne knocked it into the net.

Armenia were rewarded for their efforts as they caught Ireland napping to get back in the game. Mkhitaryan was given too much space and fired low, although Given will feel he should have done better with the shot.

The game became stretched as Armenia pushed for an equaliser, which left gaps at the back. Duff found McGeady in space but he hesitated and was quickly closed down.

Doyle compounded a disappointing evening by picking up a second yellow card when he caught Karlen Mkrtchyan with his elbow.

Jonathan Walters’ impressive late cameo will have done little to harm his chances of starting that play-off first leg, alongside man-of-the-match Cox.

Armenia piled forward in the closing minutes but Ireland held on to secure the win they needed. It wasn’t pretty, but it was enough for a manager who favours results over performances.

It remains to be seen whether Ireland will be seeded for Thursday’s play-off draw in Krakow, but they will hope they have not used up all their luck tonight.

Republic of Ireland: 1 Given; 4 O’Shea, 2 St Ledger, 5 Dunne, 3 Kelly; 7 McGeady (15 Hunt 68), 6 Whelan (17 Fahey ’76), 8 Andrews, 11 Duff; 9 Doyle, 10 Cox (13 Walters ’80).

Subs not used: 16 Westwood, 12 Coleman, 14 Long, 18 O’Dea.

Booked: St Ledger, McGeady, Doyle. Sent-off: Doyle.

Armenia: 1 Berezovsky; 4 Hovsepyan, 15 Mkoyan, 16 Aleksanyan, 20 Hayrapetyan; 9 Malkyan (23 Petrosyan 29′), 6 Mkrtchyan; 10 Ghazaryan (11 Sarkisov ’62), 8 Pizzelli (22 Manucharyan ’53), 18 Mkhitaryan; 14 Movsisyan.

Subs not used: 21 Badoyan, 17 Artak Edigaryan, 7 Artur Edigaryan, 3 Yuspashyan.

 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Sligo Rovers 7 – 1 Galway United

 Sligo Rovers too good for Galway United                                                                  Sligo Rovers will be confident of securing maximum points against their provincial rivals          

A delay of 35 minutes due to floodlight problems threatened to grab all the headlines, but Sligo Rovers ensured the talk was about them, and not the electricians that ensured the game went ahead. Kick-off was delayed due to floodlight problems as a result of flooding. There were slight fears that the game would not happen but thanks to the services of three men, it went ahead, unfortunately for Galway.

First-half goals from Aaron Greene, John Dillon, Matthew Blinkhorn and Alan Keane meant John Brennan’s side faced an almost impossible task in the second half. An impossible task that was and two second half goals from Matthew Blinkhorn, along with a last minute strike from Rafael Cretaro meant that Oscar Sibanda’s goal had very little relevance.

Aaron Greene and Matthew Blinkhorn causd early problems for the side isolated at the bottom of the table. Eduardo Dusi was brought on in 18 minutes in place of Laurence Gaughan and did give Galway more energy when he entered the field.

Aaron Greene and John Russell linked up well on 19 minutes and the move finished with former Bohemians man Aaron Greene putting Paul Cook’s men ahead.

Just five minutes later it was disaster for United. Ronan Caldwell received his marching orders for pulling down Aaron Greene in the box. It may have been harsh but he did prevent a goal scoring opportunity. The result was the awarding of a penalty which John Dillon converted.

On 27 minutes, Alan Keane surged up the wing and crossed the ball in to the area. Former Galway man John Russell hit the ball against the crossbar but Matthew Blinkhorn was on hand to hit home to put Sligo three up.

Sligo were given a free on the edge of the box on 39 minutes, which possibly could’ve been a penalty but it didn’t matter anyways seeing as Alan Keane drove the ball in to the net from outside the box. Alan Murphy was forced to work as hard as he could and he had a cheeky effort on goal which just went over Brendan Clarke and hit the crossbar.

It took ten minutes of the second half for Sligo Rovers to add to their lead. John Russell played a perfect cross in to the area which Blackpool man Matthew Blinkhorn hit home to make it 5-0. Oscar Sibanda pulled one back for Galway on 59 minutes after a needless corner lead to some slack defending and Sibanda was there to notch the goal.

The following 25 minutes were reasonably quiet and nothing of note happened except for a large number for offsides. On 89 minutes came the hat-trick for Matthew Blinkhorn with an extremely well hit effort. Cretaro put the final nail in the coffin with his 90th minute goal. A night of misery for Galway after another annihilation from fellow Connacht club Sligo Rovers.

Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Conor Powell, 46), Derek Foran, Gavin Peers (Alan Kirby, 57), Alan Keane, Aaron Greene, Danny Ventre, John Russell, John Dillon (Rafael Cretaro, 65), Joseph Ndo, Matthew Blinkhorn.

Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Eoin Doyle, Liam Martin.

Yellow cards: Iarfhlaith Davoren, Aaron Greene.

Galway United: John Egan, Laurence Gaughan (Eduardo Dusi, 18), Eric Browne, Paul Sinnott, Gary Kelly, Sean Kelly, Oscar Sibanda (Willie Enuble, 81), Jin Gu Kim (Bobby Ryan, 55), Mikey Gilmore, Alan Murphy, Ronan Caldwell.

Subs not used: Conor Winn, Darragh Duggan.

Yellow cards: Jin Gu Kim, Paul Sinnott.

Red cards: Ronan Caldwell.  Referee: Anthony Buttimer.

Attendance: 2301. Extratime.ie Man of the Match: John Russell.   ~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rovers beat the Hoops and keep their title prize in view Shamrock Rovers 1 Sligo Rovers 2:   Shamrock Rovers' Pat Sullivan gets up ahead of Aaron Greene

Shamrock Rovers’ Pat Sullivan gets up ahead of Aaron Greene

HAVING HAD two right backs sent off in the second half of a dramatic encounter at Tallaght last night Shamrock Rovers surrendered both a lead and some significant ground in the title race as they went down to a John Dillon injury-time winner.

Referee Damien Hancock was booed by the home support at the break for a couple of first-half decisions but was harangued bitterly at the end by players, officials and fans alike after dismissing both Pat Sullivan and Pat Flynn.

The former reckoned he was very hard done by to get a second yellow but the latter can have few complaints after a reckless, and needless, challenge on Iarflaith Davoren just a few minutes after being brought on.

Having taken just six points from five games since their rampage in Galway a month ago, Sligo arrived needing to win in order to inject some life back into their title chase, but their hosts’ form of late had made the three points seem a tall order.

Both sides went for it, though, and in an even and very entertaining game, most notable for the skills of Joseph Ndo and Rohan Ricketts, Paul Cook’s side had the better of the chances to make a breakthrough over the course of the first hour.

It was in the last 30 minutes, though, that things really livened up. Hancock’s decision to show Sullivan a second yellow for throwing the ball away caused consternation amongst the locals who claimed the defender had thrown it in the direction of the corner that had just, wrongly they reckoned, been awarded.

The right back had barely finished remonstrating with the fourth official, though, when Ricketts broke forward down the left and floated in a perfectly weighted cross for Gary Twigg who got the better of both Sligo centre halves to head home.

Sligo then set about chasing things with an obvious sense of urgency and were worth their equaliser nine minutes from time when Ndo and Matthew Blinkhorn helped set John Russell up for a fine finish. With Sligo now enjoying a bit of momentum, Michael O’Neill sought to firm things up at the back by bringing on Flynn for Karl Sheppard but the defender had hardly touched the ball before he ploughed high and late into Davoren and was promptly dismissed.

Reduced to nine men, the Dubliners dug in but Sligo needed just two of the five added minutes to complete the turnaround with Dillon turning home an Ndo cross amid claims of a handball by Blinkhorn in the build-up.

SHAMROCK ROVERS : Thompson; Sullivan, Sives, Murray, Paterson; Rice; Sheppard (Flynn, 85 mins), Finn, Turner, Ricketts (Dennehy, 58 mins); Twigg (Kilduff, 56 mins).

SLIGO ROVERS : Clarke; Cretaro (Keane, 56 mins), Peers, McGuinness, Davoren; Ventre (Dillon, half-time) ; Ndo, Russell, Greene (Blinkhorn, 54 mins); Doyle.                        ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Saturday 3rd September 2011

 O’Shea injury blow with star out for Russia clash          

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has been dealt a major injury blow with defender John O’Shea ruled out of Tuesday night’s Euro 2012 qualifier in Russia.

O’Shea, who finished Friday night’s 0-0 draw with Slovakia with a sore Achilles tendon, has withdrawn from the squad with a calf injury ending assistant manager Marco Tardelli hopes that he would be fit to play in Moscow.

Trapattoni also has concerns about keeper Shay Given, who was struggling with a back injury ahead of the Slovakia game.  Given did not train at Malahide on Sunday morning as medical staff assessed his problem.      …………………………………………………………………………………………….  

Sligo Rovers 1 – 1 Derry City    

       Joseph Ndo - Got Sligo's goal at the Showgrounds

Stalemate at the  Showgrounds as Rovers lose chance to go top   

Sligo Rovers and Derry City both took their share of the spoils after playing out a 1-1 draw at The Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon. That result means that Derry are still three points clear of Sligo and have not beaten Sligo in the league this season. 

These two Premier Division’s title challengers came in to this game aware that a win would bring Sligo level on points with Derry, while a win for Derry would give Sligo’s title hopes a huge blow.

The game took off in fantastic fashion and the classy Joseph Ndo gave the bit o’ red the lead with a fantastic strike on 14 minutes. Sligo began to control things a bit more and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Eamon Zayed, was getting very little past Jason McGuinness in the Sligo defence.

Sligo were subjected to a spell of serious pressure from Derry at one stage in the first-half but it was on the counter-attack that Derry equalised. A fantastic individual effort from Stephen McLaughlin was fired in to the net, with a bit of help from a deflection off Gavin Peers.

The second-half was a lot less flowing than the first but Stephen Kenny’s men had the first chance of note. Brendan Clarke spilled the ball and his former Sporting Fingal team mate could’ve given the Candystripes the lead if it wasn’t for Gavin Peers who was on the line to clear the ball.

A significant event in the first-half was the return of Mark Farren to the Derry team. He came on as a sub and received a fantastic standing ovation. Derry were struggling to deal with Joseph Ndo but it just wasn’t happening in front of goal. Derry had pretty much the same problem but the addition of Mark Farren was certainly thanked by Eamon Zayed who was having difficulty creating anything in front of Brendan Clarke.

There were no stand-out chances towards the end of the game but Sligo had a penalty claim after it looked as if Eoin Doyle had his jersey pulled inside the box. But the claims were waved away and that was that. A draw was a fair result after neither side really created too much up front.

Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke; Danny Ventre (Matthew Blinkhorn, 79), Iarfhlaith Davoren, Jason McGuinness, Gavin Peers; Raffaele Cretaro (John Russell, 68), Richie Ryan, Joseph Ndo, Alan Kirby (Alan Keane, 62), Aaron Greene; Eoin Doyle.
Subs not used : Ciaran Kelly, Derek Foran, Conor Powell, John Dillon.
Bookings: None.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Eddie McCallion, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Danny Lafferty; Kevin Deery (David McDaid, 89), Patrick McEleney (Mark Farren, 66), Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins; Eamon Zayed (Ruairi Harkin, 79), Stephen McLaughlin.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Emmett Friars, Ryan McBride, Owen Morrison.
Bookings: Daniel Lafferty, Eddie McCallion, Stephen McLaughlin.

Referee: Dave McKeon. Good Ref.
Attendance:2,100.
Man of the Match :Joseph Ndo.       …………………………………………………………………………………………………

Friday 2nd Sept 2011

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Slovakia

      Damien Duff and Simon Cox

Simon Cox and Damien Duff show their frustration

We were very lucky as Slovikia were the better side and now we have to go to Russia looking for a good result.                                   Sean St. Ledger was man of the match he had a mighty game and saved us on several occasions.  

 

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni insists his team’s hopes of Euro 2012 qualification remain very much alive despite Friday’s 0-0 home draw against Slovakia.

The Republic dropped two points behind group leaders Russia but Trapattoni believes his team can win in Moscow on Tuesday afternoon.

“I am confident if we play in Moscow like we did this evening,” he said.    “We have this game (in Moscow). We can win it. Why not?”

The Republic appeared to be outplayed for long periods by the Slovakians on Friday at the Aviva Stadium but Trapattoni refused to be downhearted.

“The game has been in the balance,” insisted the Republic manager.

“In the first half, they were physically superior to us. In the second half, we had two or three chances, (Aiden) McGeady, Robbie Keane and (Simon) Cox.

“In the second half, we deserved to score although they too had a big chance against us on the counter-attack.”

Trapattoni claimed that Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca should have awarded the Irish a late penalty for a challenge by Martin Skrtel on Keith Andrews.

“I complained to the referee from my position. I thought it was a penalty,” added the Republic boss.

Sean St Ledger was also unhappy with the Portuguese official after receiving a yellow card which rules him out of Tuesday’s vital game in Moscow.

“I’ve not intentionally stuck my leg out. I tried to get out of the way and he’s just brandished the yellow card,” added St Ledger, who was named man of the match.

“I thought the referee was poor all night, really – indecisive, a lot of bad decisions.  “But that’s football. We have to try to get on with it and lift ourselves.”        ………………………………………………………………………………………..  

 Ireland under 21s At the Sligo Showgrounds  tonight

Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker Rhys Murphy heads home the winning goal against Hungary in the European Championship qualifier at the Showgrounds in Sligo. – (Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho).

Rhys Murphy scores the winner                                                                             Rep. of Irl  2   Hungary  1:     Murphy enjoys a dream return in Sligo                                                        Arsenal striker Rhys Murphy scored on his debut for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s as they won 2-1 against 10-man Hungary.in their Euro 2013 qualifier.

Robbie Brady opened the scoring early on at the Showgrounds in Sligo but the visitors were level at half-time thanks to Marko Futacs’ equaliser.

Murphy represented England at youth levels and was only called into the squad over the weekend but he was named in Noel King’s starting line up and rewarded his coach with a well-taken winner with 16 minutes to go.

Manchester United forward Brady, currently on loan at Hull, opened the scoring inside 15 minutes when he applied a great finish to a good move which also involved Adam Barton.

Futacs, who has recently signed for npower Championship side Portsmouth, then brought Hungary back into the game despite the hosts’ continued dominance – the tall striker bagging an equaliser after 38 minutes.

Ireland were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty on two separate occasions, firstly when James McCarthy seemed to be pulled back in the box.

The second claim came just before the hour mark when Murphy seemed to be brought down but the Arsenal youngster then made the Hungarian defence pay when he slotted home from close range in the 74th minute.

The visitors were then reduced to 10-men when Szombathelyi Haladas midfielder Bence Iszlai was dismissed for a poor challenge on Aidan White.

Ireland play again on Tuesday when they travel to Turkey who currently sit at the top of the embryonic Group Seven.                   …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..    Saturday, 27 August

Sligo Rovers 0 – 0 Monaghan Utd Stalemate at the Showgrounds in FAI Cup

Holders Sligo Rovers and Monaghan United face an FAI Ford Cup replay on Tuesday after a Showgrounds draw that featured no goals but two sendings-offs on Saturday night.

Rovers keeper Brendan Clarke was first to go for a last-man tackle on Michael Isichei after the hour-mark and  Monaghan midfielder Keith Quinn also made an early exit after clashing off the ball with Rovers captain Richie Ryan 15 minutes later.

Rovers hit the woodwork three times on the night – through Eoin Doyle, Joseph Ndo and Matthew Blinkhorn – but the visitors in a dull match worked hard to hold out and force a second meeting. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

Derry City 3-3 Sligo Rovers (Derry win 5-3 on pens)

Derry Win v Sligo in Cup shoot-out

Eugene Ferry - Was the saviour for Derry City in the penalty shoot-out

Stephen Kenny’s young Derry City side beat a strong Sligo Rovers on penalties after extra-time in the EA Sports semi-final in the Brandywell.

And making the victory all the more impressive was that Derry accomplished it after Danny Lafferty had been sent off in injury time at the end of normal time for a last-man tackle on Danny Ventre.
However, the hero of the night was, without doubt, winger Stephen McLaughlin, having netted two goals before striking home Derry’s vital fifth penalty after Sligo’s Richie Ryan had missed his side’s third spot kick.
 
Having made no fewer than seven changes to the team which defeated Bohemians on Friday night, Stephen Kenny will have been delighted with the efforts of his kids who now face Cork in the decider on 24 September.
Derry may have ridden their luck on quite a few occasions throughout the game and while short on experience they battled against the well drilled and well organised Bit O’Red who started without Joseph Ndo.
 
Derry broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when Emmet Friars flicked on Ruairi Harkin’s free and Danny Lafferty ghosted in at the back post to head the ball pass Brendan Clarke.
But Sligo levelled on the stroke of half-time when Ritchie Ryan cut the ball back into the path of the advancing Danny Ventre and the midfielder crashed a superb shot to the net from 25 yards.
With Derry keeper Eugene Ferry regularly involved in the action, Derry caught Sligo on the counter-attack in the 75th minute to move back into the driving seat.
 
Harkin’s teasing cross met by the head of McLaughlin whose downward header gave Clarke no chance from close range.
Four minutes later Sligo deservedly levelled, Aaron Green driving the ball low across the face of goal before Eoin Doyle controlled it before lashing the ball home from 10 yards.
 
During injury time Danny Lafferty was sent off for a last-man tackle on Ventre seconds before the game entered extra-time.
McLaughlin then produced a superb strike before Doyle netted his second in the 108th minute with the crowd on its feet at 3-3.
 
In the penalty shoot out Derry netted all five penalties with McLaughlin scoring the vital fifth after Richie Ryan had his spot kick saved by Ferry to send the young Candystripes through.
 
Derry City: Eugene Ferry; Shane McEleney (Eddie McCallion, 77), Ryan McBride, Emmet Friars, Daniel Lafferty; Stephen McLaughlin, James Henry (Barry Molloy, 70), Ruaidhri Higgins, Michael McCrudden (Owen Morrison, 52); Ruairi Harkin, David McDaid.
 
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke; Rafaele Cretaro, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Conor Powell; Danny Ventre (Kirby, 104), Richie Ryan, John Russell; Aaron Green (Ndo, 84), Matthew Blinkhorn, Eoin Doyle.
Referee: Mr. Richie Winter (Wicklow) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  
Wednesday 10th August 2011

Shane Long is happy with Ireland’s draw against Croatia tonight

Shane Long and Vedran Corluka battle for possession in the friendly

Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long was happy with the team’s display in the scoreless draw against Croatia.

“It was a tough test, they are ranked ninth in the world, but we defended well,” said the man of the match. “We knew they would have a lot of possession and we tried to hit them on the break.

“It was a good run-out for the lads, we are progressing and we are in good form going into two big games next month in the Euro qualifiers.”

Those games are against Slovakia and Russia, who sit joint top of the group with Giovanni Trapattoni’s team.

“Slovakia are first up and if we get three points it sets us up well for the Russia game,” added the new West Brom forward.

“If we get four points from the two games we will be doing well.”

It has been a landmark week for Long, who completed his move from Reading to the Baggies on Tuesday.

He said: “It’s been mad all right – I’m looking forward to Sunday and going straight into the deep end against Manchester United. “It was nice to get almost 90 minutes to get my fitness right and I’m raring to go on Sunday.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Euro 2012 qualifier – Team news: Ireland v Croatia: Doyle is out

Wolves striker Kevin Doyle has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Croatia on Wednesday night.

Euro 2012 qual. - Doyle misses Croatia tieIt had been expected that Doyle would feature in his match at the Aviva Stadium tonight having received his first call-up to the Ireland squad since sustaining knee ligament damage in March.

But Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni said that the 27-year-old was “not 100% fit” and confirmed he would play no part against the Croats.

Chelsea young player Conor Clifford has been called into the Ireland squad.

Clifford will join up with the seniors after playing for the under-21s against Austria in Sligo on Tuesday where Ireland won 2-1.

Trapattoni needs the 19-year-old to provide cover in midfield having seen a string of players pull out of his squad due to injury.

Stoke pair Jon Walters and Mark Wilson are the latest  withdrawals, with James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Keith Fahy and Damien Delaney – who has been replaced by Ciaran Clark – some of the other most recent withdrawals. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Sligo Rovers 0-2 Vorskla Poltava (Agg 0-2) Rovers Bow Out of Europa League

Sligo Rovers - The Bit 'o Red conceded two goals within a minute as Paul Cook's side bowed out of the Europa Cup

Action Pics from last night  Sligo Rovers have bowed out of the Europa League after going down 2-0 to Ukraine side Vorskla Poltava who were the better side of the night at The  Showgrounds.

First half goals from Serhiy Zakarlyuka and Pavel Rebenok inside 60 seconds left the home side with a mountain to climb, despite their superb scoreless draw away from home last week.

Jason McGuinness went close to pulling one back in the second half with a close range header that Serhiy Dolhanskiy stopped on the line.

But both Vasylj Sachlo and Jovan Markoski hit the crossbar as Poltava finished strongly.

Vorskla made three changes to the team that was held by Rovers last week, while the home side were dealt a blow before kick-off as Alan Keane was ruled out with a thigh injury picked up in training on Wednesday.

The visitors started brightly in front of the crowd of almost 3,500, and took the lead after just 16 minutes. They created it from deep inside their own half as the excellent Ahmed Dallku worked the ball to Sachko via Oleg Krasnoperov and Markoski.

Sachko held onto possession inside the area before slipping the ball into the path of the on-rushing Zakarlyuka, who squeezed it low into the net from a tight angle.

Within a minute, Rovers conceded a second goal.                                             This time the goal came from the left-hand side, with Ivan Krivosheenko just doing enough to hold off the challenge of Conor Powell, and firing a low cross into the area for Pavel Rebenok to fire home.

Rovers’ best chance of the game came in the second half from a Joseph Ndo set-piece, with Jason McGuinness directing a header straight at a relieved Dolhanskiy.

But the visitors could have had a couple more goals on the counter-attack in the second period.

Sachko smashed a shot off the crossbar from close range after some great work by the excellent Dallku.

Markoski also clipped the crossbar from a late free-kick, and missed the target when one-on-one with Brendan Clarke after a superb through-ball from substitute Roman Bezus.

Sligo Rovers: Clarke, Ventre, McGuinness, Peers, Powell, Cretaro (Dillon 69), Ryan, Ndo, Kirby, Greene (Doyle 53), Blinkhorn (Russell 69).

Vorskla Poltava: Dolhanskiy, Dallku, Kurylov, Chesnakov, Selin, Krivosheenko, Markoski, Zakarlyuka (Oberemko ht), Krasnoperov (Asipenka 80), Rebenok, Sachlo (Bezus 68).  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Sligo swimmers success & a big haul of medals for them   THE IRISH Age Group Division Championships held annually at the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin is the top Irish event aimed at by all 11-15 year old competitive swimmers. This year, Sligo’s top swimmers set the standard by taking home an impressive 10 Gold, 3 Silver and 1 Bronze medals.

Team-mates and friends, Ronan Anderson and Joseph Mooney were the star performers at these Championships. Ronan, age 13, who earlier this year achieved two British Age Group qualifying times, won 5 Gold in the 200m Individual Medley, 100m Breaststroke, 200m Freestyle, 400m IM and 200m Breaststroke.

He got Silver in the 100m Freestyle, missing Gold by a fraction of a second and he also took Silver in the 100m Backstroke. Ronan was awarded the Best Overall Male swimmer within his age group and received a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

Joseph Mooney, age 14, has had a great year going from strength to strength and he also won 5 Gold medals in the 100m Backstroke, 200m IM, 100m Freestyle, 200m Backstroke, and 200m Freestyle. He narrowly missed a 6th Gold in the 100m Butterfly proving what a great performer he is in all four strokes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~                    ~~~~~~~~~~                ~~~~~~~~~         ~~~~~~~~~~

Sligo Rovers Get a great result in the Ukraine:  Says Donie

 Vorskla Poltava 0 Sligo Rovers 0                                                                            

Brendan Clarke man of the match

Sligo Rovers produced a brilliant display to secure a draw with Ukraine’s Vorskla Poltava in the third round qualifying of the Europa League. 

This was a wonderful result for the Rovers and they could easily have came back to Sligo with 2 away goals from home but the goals were disallowed.

Brendan Clarke in goals was man of the match having denied Poltava on several occasions so much so that the home teams players dropped their heads and Rovers started to dominate in the second half and created many chances to get that precious away goal, Blinkhorn was superb and  Joseph Ndo and Jason McGuinness played out of their skins for the reds.

But the Rovers players and Paul Cook and the 100 or so fans that travelled the long journey some 20 hours travelling time to the Ukraine should be very happy conceding no goals again thanks to their outstanding defence and excellent keeper Brendan Clarke . This is the tenth match on the trot without conceding a goal. Rovers must be favourites to advance to the next round after their attractive home match at the Showgrounds next Thursday the 4th August.                                                                                                                                            The Sligo Rovers team:  Clarke, Keane, Peers, Powell, Mcguiness, Kirby, Ndo, Ryan, Greene (Doyle 63), Blinkhorn (Russell 90), Cretaro (O’ Davoren 77).                                                                            Subs Not Used: John Kelly, Ventre, Dillon, Foran.        Booked: Ndo.      Att: 5,000    Ref: Gediminas Mazeika (Lithuania).

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