Sligo Rovers progressed through to the third round of this year's EA Sports Cup with a well earned 4-0 win over First Division side Mervue United. An Anthony Elding brace along with goals from Evan McMillan and Danny Ventre saw Ian Baraclough's cruise past a young Mervue side who were hampered by the dismissal of midfielder Barry O'Mahony midway through the opening period.
The reigning league champions were without Gavin Peers and David Cawley who missed out through an accumulation of yellow cards. Seamus Conneely and Danny North are both close to a return from knee injuries but were not deemed fit enough to take part, while second choice goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly returned from injury to take his place on the bench.
Mervue made the trip to the Yeats County without Jason Molloy (ankle), while Mike Elwood and Kenny Farrell were both unavailable due to school and work commitments respectively. Former Rovers midfielder Gary Curran recovered from injury in time to take his place in the United eleven against his old club.
After somewhat of a reserved start to the game, Rovers carved out the first chance of the game on 14 minutes. Raffaele Cretaro's cross from the right found the head of Elding, who headed narrowly over Conor Gleeson's crossbar.
Rovers took the lead on 18 minutes but not before Mervue were reduced to ten men. Sligoman O'Mahony was given his marching orders by referee Tomas Connolly having handled the ball on the line after Elding steered Joseph Ndo's corner toward goal. Elding then stepped up and slotted the ball under the outstretched arm of Gleeson to open the scoring.
Mervue's first opportunity of the game went to centre forward Brendan Lavelle on 27 minutes, but Gary Rogers was equal to his drive from the edge of the box having being sent through by Michael McSweeney.
Rovers dominated the opening minutes of the second half and almost doubled their lead on 55 minutes when Jeff Henderson's volley was blocked down by United's Joe Woods just seconds before another volley from Danny Ventre was deflected wide by Stephen Walshe.
Cretaro was next go close on 58 minutes when he out-jumped his marker at the back post to get on the end of Aaron Greene's searching cross. The tricky winger was unfortunate to see his header sail across the face of the goal and away from danger.
Sligo's pressure eventually told on the the hour mark and the lead was doubled. Ndo's corner was headed home by the towering Evan McMillan despite the best efforts of Woods who was stationed on the Mervue goal line.
The Bit o'Red had their third on 70 minutes courtesy of Ventre. Mervue's stretched rearguard failed to clear Alan Keane's cross and following a goalmouth scramble, the Sligo captain tapped the ball in to an open goal to further extend his side's lead.
Rovers almost had a fourth on 84 minutes. Substitute Kieran Djilali created space for himself inside the area having regained possession for the home side at the edge of the area. The former Crystal Palace man was unlucky to see his shot cannon back off the top of the post having evaded the attention of United's Gary Kelly.
The woodwork kept Ian Baraclough's side at bay once more on 86 minutes. Substitute Marty Owens' ball was wonderfully controlled by Greene, who from 15 yards out, saw his vicious drive bounce back off Gleeson's crossbar.
The league champions struck a fourth on 91 minutes as Anthony Elding's magnificent shot from 25 yards curled away from the grasp of Gleeson and into the top corner.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor; Raffaele Cretaro, Joseph Ndo, Lee Lynch, Danny Ventre, Aaron Greene; Anthony Elding.
Subs: Ciaran Kelly, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Pascal Millien, Liam Martin (for Cretaro 70), Kieran Djilali (for Ndo 70), Ryan Connolly, Marty Owens (for Keane 80).
Mervue United: Conor Gleeson; Joe Woods, Stephen Walshe, Barry O' Mahony, Michael Sweeney; Paul Sinnott, Gary Kelly, Gary Curran, Brendan Lavelle; Alex Lee, Ross Kenny.
Subs: Dillon Murphy, Ryan Manning (for Lee HT), Oscar Simbanda (for Kenny 67), Martin Conneely, Tom King, Noel Varley (for Curran 38), Michael James.
Referee: Tomas Connolly