FAI Cup Preview
On Sunday in The Showgrounds Sligo Rovers face non-league opposition in the first stage of this year’s Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.
Crumlin United come to Sligo for our first meeting with the Leinster Senior League club.
It will be the first meeting between the Bit o’Red and a non-SSE Airtricity League club since playing Pike Rovers in 2011.
We take a look at all meetings during the summer soccer era for Rovers which have produced some closely fought ties.
2003, Second Round, Moyle Park 0 Sligo Rovers 2
Then a First Division side under Don O’Riordan Rovers had to travel to Baldonnel to play Moyle Park from Clondalkin.
Raffaele Cretaro remains in the squad from that day and played in centre-midfield alongside Gerry Carr.
Rovers were always on top in the game and had plenty of chances early with Ollie Keogh, Paul McTiernan and David O’Dowd all going close with chances.
The first goal came around the half hour when top scorer Paul McTiernan found the net from a Michael McNamara flick on.
Keogh and McTiernan continued to keep the Moyle Park keeper busy during the early stages of the second half before the second goal came on 63 minutes.
It came from an own goal as a cross from Bajan Ramuel Miller was put into his own net by Robbie Gallagher.
Keeper Mark Cobey, who only enjoyed a short stint at The Showgrounds, kept the hosts out for a clean sheet giving Rovers 2-0 win. A good run followed with the Bit o’Red knocking out giants Shelbourne on the way to a quarter-final.
Sligo Rovers: Cobey, Jinks, Miller, McNamara, Sheridan, Keogh, Carr, Cretaro, McLoughlin (Watson), McTiernan (Feeney), O'Dowd.
2005, Second Round, Sligo Rovers 1 Malahide United 1, Malahide United 0 Sligo Rovers 2 (AET Replay)
A marathon tussle took place in Rovers promotion-winning year of 2005 with another Leinster Senior League club Malahide United.
Rovers looked set to get the expected win as the home side in the first game.
Paul McTiernan scored from a pass by Faz Kudozovic early in the game but it wasn’t enough.
With just 12 minutes left Kevin Craven scored from a corner forcing a replay to take place in Malahide a few days later.
The replay in Gannon Park would again be extremely tight. There was nothing between the teams after 90 minutes meaning extra-time would be needed.
Early in the first half of extra-time the breakthrough came, again from Paul McTiernan. He took advantage of an error by keeper Colin Blanche to put Rovers ahead.
The Bit o’Red’s path to the next stage was secured early in the second period when McTiernan finished off his second at the end of a great solo run. Rovers were through after a tough fight.
An upset was caused in the next round by beating St. Pat’s in The Showgrounds but Cork City ended the run in Turner’s Cross in the quarter-finals.
Game one: Sligo Rovers: O'Hara, Gallagher, Kusten, McNamara, O'Dwyer, O'Grady, O'Donnell (Cretaro), Kudozovic, Flannery (Alvarez), McTiernan, Foley.
Game two: Sligo Rovers: O'Hara, Cretaro, Feeney, Kusten, Kudozovic, Curran, Gorman (Flynn), Foley, McCarthy, Flannery (Alvarez), McTiernan.
2006, Second Round, Carrigaline 0 Sligo Rovers 4
The following season seen Rovers again with non-league opponents at the first stage but this time it was an easier passage through for Sean Connor’s team.
Munster Senior League team Carrigaline were tough opponents having got to the Intermediate Cup semi-finals just before.
The home side, playing at Turner’s Cross, were able to keep Rovers at bay for most of the first half but with a few minutes left in the half striker Matthew Judge flicked in at the near post.
Just after an hour Kudozovic got the second goal which opened the game up. McTiernan got the third a few minutes later with a header.
The final goal came with a penalty by Keith Foy. That would not be the final meeting between Rovers and non-league opponents that season however.
Sligo Rovers: O'Hara, Peers, Burns (Mackenzie), McNamara, Foy, Hughes, Kuduzovic, Turner, Judge (Mulligan), McTiernan, Mansaram (McCartney).
2006, Quarter-finals, Sligo Rovers 0 Killester United 0, Killester United 3 Sligo Rovers 4 (Replay AET)
Rovers were on top for much of the first game in The Showgrounds with AUL club Killester United but were unable to get any breakthrough.
Kudozovic, McTiernan, Adam Hughes and Harpal Singh all went close but no way to beat keeper Lee Murphy could be found.
Tolka Park hosted the replay five days later in a highly dramatic encounter.
The Bit o’Red took the lead early, on 12 minutes, with John Bellew getting a header. But not for the first time Killester were quick to reply.
Michael Keogh scored seven minutes later with a volley and the game was level.
From a corner just before half-time the lead was regained with Adam Hughes getting on target.
But again the lead wasn’t maintained and Killester found the equaliser six minutes later with David Lacey shooting in from close range.
Gavin Peers scored a third which looked set to surely give the win this time following in after his own header came off the bar.
But Killester showed tremendous spirit and came back again for a goal that forced extra-time. Keogh got his second with a free-kick.
Paul McTiernan was again the hero as he got an extra-time winner to end the tie. A shot from Kudozovic was parried out and McTiernan was on hand to put the ball in at close range.
The win put Rovers into a semi-final where extra-time was again needed but Derry City came out on top.
Sligo Rovers : O'Hara, Burns (Peers), McNamara, MacKenzie, Hughes, O'Grady, Turner, Kudozovic (McTiernan), Singh, Judge (Aisien).
Sligo Rovers: O'Hara, Turner, Peers, McKenzie (Curran), Foy, Hughes, O'Grady, Kuduzovic, Singh, Judge (Bellew) (Kelly), McTiernan.
2011, Third Round, Sligo Rovers 3 Pike Rovers 2
Limerick club Pike Rovers came to The Showgrounds to face Rovers in the first game of the defence of the FAI Cup.
The shock looked to be on when the visitors scored first but it took almost an hour for the first goal to come in this high-scoring affair.
The Bit o’Red had been the better team but Pike produced the goods with a great header from Colm Carroll.
The lead didn’t last long with Raff Cretaro putting in a cross that seen Jason McGuinness tap in his first goal for the club.
And shortly after he did it again as he dominated from a corner to head in. The scoring continued as a third goal in ten minutes came for Cretaro as his effort got deflected in.
There was still life left in Pike Rovers and they got back into the game with five minutes to go as David Ryan with a good finish.
It gave Rovers a scare but Paul Cook’s team held on and went on to lift the trophy for a second year in succession.
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Jason McGuinness, Derek Foran, Alan Keane, Danny Ventre (Rafael Cretaro,), John Russell (Richie Ryan), Alan Kirby, Daryl Horgan (John Dillon), Aaron Greene, Matthew Blinkhorn.