Opening of the Sligo Rovers exhibition
The Sligo Rovers exhibition at the Sligo County Museum is now open for supporters and the people of Sligo to visit and experience the full history of the Bit o’ Red.
The official unveiling took place earlier this month with a host of guests and dignitaries including Mayor of Sligo David Cawley, Deputy Tony McLoughlin and personalities from the club such 1977 league-winning manager Billy Sinclair, record appearance holder Tony Fagan and club President Mickey Robinson.
The exhibition was arranged by the Sligo Rovers Heritage Group, which was set up to safeguard the club’s artefacts and mementos and to increase public awareness of the club’s long and enticing history.
The contents includes memorabilia dating as far back as 1928/29 with a Junior Cup medal up until the 2012 title win including the trophy .
Mayor David Cawley said: "It is a great tribute to the people who put it together in the library service and the museum. I think they cover every angle, right the way from way back when the club was formed. There are some great stories that you probably wouldn't pick up.
"I would applaud the people that put it together and say to the people of Sligo that anybody that has any interest in football to come and visit the museum.
"It certainly will be a draw for people and to support the museum and the club is vitally important."
With players from the 1977 league winning season present, their manager Billy Sinclair gave a passionate and articulate address as he spoke about what it means to see club’s success captured and secured in public viewing.
Sinclair, who helped with the arrangement of the exhibition, said: "I always felt that we never really had anything like this. At the particular time when we won the league in 1977, I said at the time that we should have something to recall memories.
"The further we went down the line and found that Sligo were becoming more and more successful, I think it was much more important to put things in place and say this is our history. This is what we did and this is what we achieved.
"It is good for the grandchildren or the children of the players and for people in the future to say that they didn't realise Sligo Rovers were as successful at this."
Billy’s words were echoed by Kevin Colreavy, a member of the Heritage Group and long-time volunteer at the club.
He stated: "I think this exhibition will span the whole specturm of the community. People will come, young and old, to see it on display. A visit to the museum will show a full picture of Sligo Rovers' history. I would encourage people to come to it."
Deputy Tony McLoughlin spoke about a proud day for every individual ever associated with Sligo Rovers and advised people that have any family link to the club to visit.
“To see what is here, of all the years and the history of Sligo Rovers, is fantastic. The characters that we have known down the years and the history of the club and memorabilia is really super. It is very important for the people of Sligo. Not just for supporters, but for families of supporters and their children to come in and see what this club has achieved over the years. “
Ian Baraclough described the opening as a proud day for the football club and revealed that seeing mementoes from the history of Sligo Rovers and interacting with the people that shaped previous victories was inspiring to him.
Baraclough commented: "It is a proud day and a proud day for all Sligonians old and young, especially the older ones that have longer memories and some of the exhibits that are on show are truly memorable to be honest.
"Things that have been dug up, found it attics, kept in the back of cupboards and I'm sure there is a lot more out there. To know where the club come from, and hopefully where it is going, is a story of proud memories in Irish football."
Rovers assistant Gary Stevens added: "It is fabulous. The history of the club, the achievements of the club, and I think what it really does is highlights the togetherness of Sligo Rovers football fans and the club and what they built between them. It is a very special club here. I think I would say it is unique.
"We couldn't do what we're trying to do at the moment without some of the great work that has been done in the past. The foundations that have been laid and the history that has been created. The togetherness that is here only comes about over a long period of time. Sligo Rovers have been in existence a long time and I'm delighted to be part of it now."
The Sligo Rovers exhibition is open until 8 August at the museum at Sligo Library from Tuesday to Friday.