Sligo Rovers under-19s picked up their first points of the season with a 3-1 win over Longford Town at the Showgrounds today.
Goals from Mark Hannon, Ryan O’Donoghue and Liam Flatley gave the win as Rovers outclassed the mid-landers at the Sean Fallon Centre.
Five changes were made to the team beaten by Dundalk a week ago with Kyle Harrigan, Mark McCallion, Ryan McManus, Darren Kilcawley and Gary Armstrong making way for Ryan O’Donoghue, Paul Doyle, Keelan Kennoy, Gary Anderson and Martin Walsh.
Ciaran Kelly’s team made a bright start to the game and after just four minutes had their first opportunity. Liam Flatley intercepted the ball as Longford tried to play out from the back. He took the ball into the box but didn’t catch the shot well and it rolled wide.
Longford had their first chance a few minutes after when the ball came to Daryl Carrigy in the box but Adam Chambers made a great save with an outstretched hand despite going the other way.
But with nine minutes gone Rovers had another chance and took it this time to go one up. Martin Walsh beat his man on the right wing and put in a cross to Flatley on the far side. His shot came back out off the woodwork but Hannon was on the spot to drill in the rebound.
It only took six more minutes for the Bit o’Red to get a second. O’Donoghue got forward from right back picking up possession just outside the box. He took the ball in between two players before rounding the keeper and finding the net despite a defender attempting to clear on the line.
Another cross from the right on 24 minutes saw the ball come to Anderson, he teed up Hannon to run onto the ball but Keith Beirne got in front of his shot. A minute later Hannon tried again to score this time after Carney found him but keeper Dylan McGoey was able to keep it out.
Longford began to improve late in the half and got their reward after 40 minutes. The impressive Dylan McKeever made a great run on the right before bringing the ball infield and shooting across goal and into the net. There was one chance for Rovers to restore the two goal margin before the break but when a free-kick fell at the feet of Flatley he got under the ball and hoisted over the bar.
Longford made the brighter start to the second half. Again it was McKeever who looked threatening and on 53 minutes he hit a shot well from outside the box that was only narrowly wide. Just a few minutes later he looked well placed to score but captain Ross Taheny got back with a great sliding tackle to take it from his toe.
Just after the hour mark Walsh skipped in from the right and got the ball over to Anderson on the far side of the box, he took a touch before shooting but the keeper came off his line to make a save.
The game remained close until the 77th minute when Flatley put daylight between the teams. O’Donoghue got space to put over a delivery that found the head of Anderson. After his effort hit the bar Flatley was there to tap in at close range.
Substitute Kyle Harrigan made an immediate impact on 81 hitting a volley well from 30 yards that flew over the top. He would have a further two chances to score in the final minute from inside the box as Longford couldn’t clear. He was denied both times along with another effort from Darren Kilcawley.
That was the last action of the game and after two defeats to begin the season Rovers got a first three points. Next is an away game against Finn Harps next weekend.
Sligo Rovers: Chambers, O'Donoghue, Doyle (Harrigan 78), Connolly, Taheny, Kennoy, Hannon (McCallion 75), Walsh, Flatley, Anderson (McCarrick 85), Carney (Kilcawley 60).
Longford Town: McGoey, Fitzgerald, Cinelli, Doyle, Beirne, Kennedy, Higgins, McKeever, O’Callaghan, McGrath, Carrigy.