Limerick 5-1 Rovers - Report
Sligo Rovers got their 2017 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign off to a disappointing start with a 5-1 defeat to Limerick at Markets' Field.
Brazilian striker Rodrigo Tosi's hat-trick on his debut was supplemented by strikes in either half from Ian Turner and Lee Lynch.
Substitute Mathew Stevens netted Rovers' consolation on the hour.
The home side announced their return to the top table of Irish football as early as the third minute. Micheál Schlingermann saved Lynch's initial effort before the
alert Turner pounced to fire home from close range, the season's opener.
Rovers tested Freddy Hall in the Limerick nets for the first time on eleven miutes. New signing Chris Kenny's looping effort from distance pushed over the bar by the Blues number one.
Martin Russell's side doubled their lead just past the half hour.
Debutant Bastien Hery linking up with Shaun Kelly down the Limerick right. The full back's cross went to Tosi and he blasted past Schlingermann for his first.
On 38 Ian Turner's cross was latched onto bu Tosi who finished past Schlingermann.
Limerick's Tommy Robson did well to block down Raffaele Cretaro's effort from close range. This, after some good work from substitute Mathew Stevens on 55.
Stevens, on his Rovers debut, did hand the Bit O'Red some hope on the hour. Hall was only able to palm Kieran Sadlier's initial effort into the path of the waiting Peterborough loanee who slipped the ball beyond the Bermudan.
Limerick fanned the flames of any potential fight back seven minutes later.
Clarke teed up Tosi whose header was punched out Schlingermann. The Mayo keeper could do little about the striker netting his hat-trick on his first day out as finished into an empty net.
The First Division champions could have made it five on 76. Turner firing straight at Schlingermann from the penalty spot after John Russell upended Tosi inside the area.
Lynch made no such mistake three minutes later. Chris Mulhall, just moments on the pitch, providing the looping assist over the top for the former Sligo man to lob Schlingermann for Limerick's fifth.
Limerick: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Robbie Williams, Tony Whitehead, Tommy Robson; Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, Lee Lynch, Dean Clarke (Cheidozie Ogbene 71); Bastien Hery (Paul O'Conor 84), Rodrigo Tosi (Chris Mulhall 78).
Sligo Rovers: Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Mick Leahy (Kyle Callan-McFadden HT), Gary Boylan, Regan Donelon; Daniel Kearns, Craig Roddan, Chris Kenny (Mathew Stevens HT), John Russell, Kieran Sadlier; Raffaele Cretaro (Jonah Ayunga 84).
Referee: Graham Kelly.