Sligo were without Ross Gaynor, Evan McMillan (both knee) and Iarfhlaith Davoren (calf). David McMillan returned to the Rovers bench having missed the last few weeks with an infection as Ian Baraclough made one change to the side that beat Cork City with Lee Lynch replacing Seamus Conneely in the centre of midfield.
Sligo Rovers moved to within six points of Airtricity League leaders Dundalk on Saturday night with a 2-0 win over Limerick at the Showgrounds on Saturday night. A ninth minute own goal from Blues defender Patrick Nzuzi put the Bit o'Red in the driving seat before Danny North's 54th minute strike sealed the points for the league champions in front of a crowd of 1,684.
Limerick were forced to plan without Shaun Kelly and Rory Gaffney who were both suspended. Shane Costelloe (ankle), Shane Tracy (knee) and Stephen McGann (foot) all watched on from the sideline while Stuart Taylor made four changes to the side that suffered cup heartbreak at the hands of Dundalk last week. Patrick Nzuzi, Stephen Bradley and Craig Curran each made their return to the starting eleven having missed last week's trip to Oriel Park, while new signing Samuel Oji made his debut for the reigning First Division champions.
The home side were looking for their third win over their Shannonside based opponents this season and they looked good to do just that as early as the ninth minute. Danny North's effort from a Kieran Djilali cross was blocked away for a corner by full back Nzuzi, before the resulting set piece fell again to Djilali out wide on the right, His searching cross to the back post was misjudged by the off-balance Nzuzi who under close attention from the incoming Raffaele Cretaro, erroneously sent the ball into his own net.
Limerick pressed the Sligo defence in search of an equaliser and Rovers had to rely on the reactions of Gavin Peers on 19 minutes The Sligo captain did well to cut out Stephen Bradley's attempted through ball to striker Craig Curran who would have been clean through had it not been for the quick thinking of Peers.
Folan almost grabbed an equaliser on the half hour mark when David O'Leary's corner found the head of the former Newcastle United man inside the six yard box. The Limerick centre half was unlucky to see his attempt blocked away by a Rovers defender. Lynch fired over from distance from the resulting counter attack moments later.
Djilali tried his luck from distance nine minutes before the break but saw his attempted drive toward the top corner of Barry Ryan's net sail wide. The winger was almost left red faced on 42 minutes when his weak pass intended for Alan Keane was picked up by Robbie Williams who in turn, teed up Darragh Rainsford. But Sligo defender Jeff Henderson was on hand and did well to take the ball off the toe of the attacker as he pulled the trigger.
The champions doubled their lead nine minutes into a largely uneventful second half. Referee Derek Tomney adjudged O'Leary to have upended David Cawley at the edge of the Limerick area and Joseph Ndo's scooped pass over the Limerick wall fell to North, who at the second time of asking finished past Ryan for his second league goal of the season.
The following twenty minutes of play suffered from a lull in play and therefore a lack of clear chances before North almost grabbed his second of the contest. Some neat interplay between Djilali and Ndo resulted in the latter setting up the former St Pat's striker who was foiled by a fine save from Ryan at the first attempt before his second flew over the crossbar.
Substitute David McMillan then went close twice in quick succession on 83 minutes. The former UCD man did well to hold off the challenge of Folan before spinning past his marker and unleashing his shot which fizzed across Ryan's goal. The Blues 'keeper was called upon just seconds later to push McMillan's next effort from close range past his post.
Sligo now sit in third spot, five points off second placed Saint Patrick's Athletic and six off leaders Dundalk with a game in hand. Limerick continue to sit nine points off bottom sides Shelbourne and Bray Wanderers.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jeff Henderson, Aaron Greene; Kieran Djilali, David Cawley (for Seamus Conneely 67), Joseph Ndo, Lee Lynch (for David McMillan 75), Raffaele Cretaro (for Danny Ventre 83); Danny North.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Pascal Millien, Liam Martin, Anthony Elding.
Limerick: Barry Ryan; Patrick Nzuzi, Stephen Folan, Samuel Oji, Robbie Williams; Axel Bossekota (for Danny Galbraith 64), Stephen Bradley, Joe Gamble, David O'Leary (for Carel Tiofack 77), Darragh Rainsford (for Barry Sheedy 87); Craig Curran.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Pat Purcell, Jason Hughes, Tony Whitehead.
Referee: Derek Tomney.