Match stats: The President's Cup
Sligo Rovers play their second game of the season on Sunday in the President’s Cup clash with St, Patrick’s Athletic.
This will be Rovers first ever appearance in such a competition which pits the league winners St. Pat’s against Rovers, the FAI Cup holders.
The Bit o’ Red started the season with a 4-1 away win over Crusaders in the Setanta Sports Cup.
The winning margin was smaller than last year’s 5-0 win over Glentoran in the same competition in a game that was played in The Showgrounds.
It was the fourth time in the past five years that the season opener has been won with the only exception being the 2012 league-winning season when a 1-1 draw was earned away to Shelbourne.
The last side to have beaten Rovers in a season opener was the Inchicore outfit.
The last four seasons have seen strong starts made by Rovers. The best was last season with no losses in the opening 10 games last season while in 2012 there was a similar run with nine.
The year before, 2011, saw one defeat in the first 10 while in 2010, Rovers avoided defeat in the first eight.
It means that from the last 23 games played in the month of March, Sligo Rovers have only been beaten once.
That one blemish was a 1-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers at home in 2011. Rovers have avoided away from home in the month of March since a loss by 2-1 in the first ever game played at Tallaght Stadium against the Hoops in 2009.
Debutant Eric Odhiambo grabbed a hat-trick in the win against Crusaders, making him the first player to score three on a first Rovers outing since South African Falcon Rose did so in a 3-1 win in the League Cup against Derry City on August 26 1997.
He would go on to score a further five goals for the club before departing later in the season.
Odhiambo became the first player to score a hat-trick for the Bit o’ Red since Matthew Blinkhorn did so in a 7-1 Showgrounds win against Galway United on October 1st 2011.
It followed up a treble against the same opposition when a 8-0 win was recorded on July 15th in Terryland Park.
A third Rovers hat-trick was netted that season when Eoin Doyle scored three times in May.
Having being an unused substitute for the game in Seaview, this game gives Joseph Ndo another opportunity to make his 300th appearance since moving to the League of Ireland.
His debut was for Pat’s on March 19th 2003 against Derry City and he had spells with Shelbourne, Bohs and Shamrock Rovers after that before joining Rovers in April 2010.
He made his Rovers debut at the home of his first club St. Pat’s on April 23rd. He has gone on to make 137 appearances for the club scoring 11 goals.
Of his 299 appearances, 224 have been in the league, 16 in European competition, 22 in the FAI Cup, 16 in the EA Sports Cup and 21 in the Setanta Sports Cup.
Meanwhile Ross Gaynor can make the 200th appearance of his professional career if he lines out against Pat’s.
The Ardeeman started his career with Millwall before moving to back to Ireland where he played for Cobh Ramblers, Sporting Fingal, Drogheda United and Dundalk before joining Sligo Rovers.
In his time in the North-West, he has turned out 65 times in total. 48 have been in the league, seven in the Setanta Sports Cup, four in the League Cup, four in European competition and two in the FAI Cup.
In that time he has scored twice with one goal in each of his two seasons. They were against Monaghan United in the League Cup and Derry City in the league last year and both were in the Showgrounds.
Rovers are on a run of one loss from 14 games going back to last season. The only defeat in that time was against St. Pat’s at Richmond Park last October as the Saints claimed the league title.
Eleven of the 14 games have resulted in wins. The Bit o’ Red have won the last five games played in cup competitions and, excluding Europe, nine of the last 10 have ended in victories.
Last six results:
6/10/13 FAI Sligo Rovers 3-0 Shamrock Rovers (DannyVentre, Alan Keane (pen), Anthony Elding)
13/10/13 LOI St. Pat’s 2-0 Sligo Rovers
19/10/13 LOI Sligo Rovers 3-1 Drogheda United (Anthony Elding x2 (1 pen), Evan McMillan)
25/10/13 LOI Shamrock Rovers 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Aaron Greene, Danny North)
3/11/13 FAI Sligo Rovers 3-2 Drogheda United (Danny North x2, Anthony Elding)
24/2/14 SSC Crusaders 1-4 Sligo Rovers (Eric Odhiambo x3, Aaron Greene)
The last time the sides met outside of league competition was the EA Sports Cup of 2010 with Rovers coming out on top comfortably, 4-1, in the Showgrounds.
Goals on that night came from John Russell, Ndo, Padraig Amond and Eoin Doyle.
Five of the Rovers team from that day (Russell, Ndo, Richard Brush, Alan Keane and Gavin Peers) are still with the club with the only Pat’s player remaining being Ian Bermingham.
Two other cup meetingz took place between the sides that season in the Setanta Cup with Pat’s winning 6-2 on aggregate with a 4-1 home win and a 2-1 victory in Sligo.
Rovers haven’t won any of the last eight visits to Richmond Park, including six defeats.
Going back further, Rovers have won there once in the last 17 with 13 losses in those games.
That win was a 2-0 victory in October 2009 with Raf Cretaro scoring twice. He also has five goals in his last five starts against the Saints.
The win previous to that came on 2nd January in 1998 with Marcus Hallows scoring in a 2-1 win.
In the last seven visits to Inchicore, Rovers have scored just once with Alan Kirby getting the only goal in a 2-1 defeat in May 2011.
That means that on the last four trips to Dublin 8, the Bit o’ Red have been held scoreless.
The last 14 clashes between the clubs have had four wins apiece, as well as the six draws. The aggregate score in those games is slightly in Rovers favour at 13-12.
Rovers famously won the meeting between the sides to win in October of 2012 in the Showgrounds but it’s our only win against them in the last nine, with Pat's taking victory last year as they became champions.
Danny North has yet to score against Pat’s since leaving them for Rovers, he is one short of 50 in his time in the League of Ireland.
Twenty-five were for Pats and he has 24 so far for Rovers.
John Russell faces his former club having rejoined the the FAI Cup holders from Pat’s during the off-season.
He played 60 times for the Inchicore club in his two years there and scored seven times. Going in the opposite direction is Lee Lynch who made 70 appearances over his two year period in the Showgrounds with nine goals being scored.
Last six meetings:
27/4/12 Sligo Rovers 1-1 St. Pats (Kenny Browne o.g.)
24/8/12 St. Pats 0-0 Sligo Rovers
13/10/12 Sligo Rovers 3-2 St. Pats (Raf Cretaro x 2, Mark Quigley(pen))
19/4/13 St. Pats 2-0 Sligo Rovers
17/7/13 Sligo Rovers 1-1 St. Pats (Evan McMillan)
13/10/13 St. Pats 2-0 Sligo Rovers