The home side were without Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor (both knee) and Iarfhlaith Davoren (calf). David McMillan was cup-tied having lined out for UCD in an earlier round of the competition. Manager Ian Baraclough made one change from last week's defeat to Dundalk at Oriel Park with Danny North replacing Anthony Elding in attack.
Sligo Rovers advanced to the quarter-finals of this year's FAI Ford Cup with a 1-0 win over a determined Cork City side at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening. The Bit o'Red progressed courtesy of a 56th minute Gavin Peers goal against a dogged Rebels side in front of a crowd of 1,978.
City made the somewhat arduous journey north without several key players including Ciarán Kilduff (cup-tied), Daryl Horgan, Garry Buckley (both suspended), Kevin Murray (groin), Darren Dennehy (foot) and Gearóid Morrisey (ankle). Caretaker boss Stuart Ashton gave starts to Kalen Spillane, Stephen Kenny and John Kavanagh in place of Murray, Kilduff and Horgan respectively.
On a slick Showgrounds pitch, it was Sligo's Joseph Ndo who produced the first chance of the game. With eight minutes elapsed, his hopeful shot from twenty yards took a deflection off Cork defender Spillane on its way to goal but City goalkeeper Mark McNulty was well positioned to deal with the danger.
The away side caused the Bit o'Red plenty of problems throughout the opening half and saw appeals for a 14th minute penalty fall upon deaf ears. Danny Morrisey did well to control Spillane's punt forward but was blocked by Rovers defender Jeff Henderson. Referee Paul Tuite indicated that the ball had hit Henderson's midriff and not his hand despite the protestations of several Cork players.
The Leesiders had Neal Horgan to thank on 18 minutes as he blocked away David Cawley's drive from inside the City area after Spillane failed to deal with Kieran Djilali's corner. City's Stephen Kenny went close moments later with a volley which sailed over Gary Rogers' crossbar.
McNulty did well to deny North on 28 minutes after the former Pat's man was sent through on goal via a wonderful through ball from Djilali. The Rebels' net minder diverting North's attempted chip away from goal.
Ashton's side were finding space down both wings but were largely wasteful in the final third. Shane Duggan sent his 35th minute shot over the Sligo crossbar after some good interplay between Danny Morrisey and Stephen Kenny on the City right.
Rogers had to be alert to keep out Morrisey's effort ten minutes into the second half. The striker did well to force his way past Gavin Peers but his daisy-cutter was relatively comfortable for the Rovers number one to claim.
Sligo hit the front on 56 minutes. Raffaele Cretaro's stinging effort was deflected away for a corner by Danny Murphy before Djilali's cross was met by the head of the tenacious Peers at the back post, to put the reigning league champions into the lead.
Rovers should have doubled their lead on the hour mark. With the goal at his mercy, North failed to make contact with Seamus Conneely's searching cross from the right. The ball fell into the path of Cretaro who fizzed his effort past McNulty's post. Djilali went close from twenty yards moments later as Sligo piled on the pressure.
Peers almost had his second on 69 minutes but Cretaro was unable to get out of the way in time to avoid the former Mansfield defender's header from another Djilali corner. North then teed up Cawley a minute later as he pulled the ball back from the end line, but McNulty was equal to the Mayo man's tame effort from the edge of the area.
Rovers were denied what looked like a clear cut penalty with twelve minutes remaining. Some patient build up play at the edge of the Cork area resulted in Alan Keane's cross reaching the head of North, whose initial attempt was palmed away by McNulty at his near post. The City goalkeeper then upended North just as he pulled the trigger for a second time, but referee Tuite was again uninterested.
Cork substitute Rob Lehane almost levelled the tie on 85 minutes. Only a minute on the pitch, his header flashed across the face of the Sligo goal after he did well to latch on to a Turner corner.
Sligo sub Lee Lynch turned up a golden opportunity to settle the game two minutes into injury time but McNulty got down well to divert the Limerick native's shot.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Gavin Peers, Aaron Greene; Kieran Djilali, Seamus Conneely (Lee Lynch 80), Joseph Ndo, Raffaele Cretaro; Danny North (Anthony Elding 87).
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Pascal Millien, Liam Martin, Danny Ventre.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Dan Murray, Kalen Spillane, Danny Murphy; Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, John Dunleavy, Danny Morrisey; Stephen Kenny (Rob Lehane 84), John Kavanagh (Colin Healy 80).
Subs not used: Dave Ryan, Darren Murphy, Jason Forde, Brian Lenihan, Eoghan Murphy.
Referee: Paul Tuite