Academy Weekend Review September 27th

Aaron Heaney, Kailin Barlow and Sean McAteer fired our men’s Under 19’s to a fourth consecutive win in the league last Sunday evening at Baldonnell, Dublin. Heaney gave Rovers a deserved lead just before half-time with Barlow adding a second two minutes after the restart. Midfielder McAteer made certain of victory in the 86th minute before the hosts netted a late consolation. The 3-1 victory over the Students maintains our 100% record and sends the boys five points clear of Shamrock Rovers at the top of the Elite League as we approach the midway point of the season. Up next, we welcome Galway United to The Sean Fallon Centre this coming Sunday. Galway’s opening day 8-2 win over Derry City was their only win so far, losing their next three games.

Our Women’s Under 19 side lost their own 100% record on Sunday afternoon at Leckview Park against Donegal and slipped to second in the group, albeit only on goal difference. Ella Vahey scored for the second week running but this time it was merely a consolation as Donegal hit five to take revenge for their 2-1 defeat in Sligo last month. We travel to the Woodlands this coming Sunday to face Greystones United in a repeat of the game two weeks ago (a 3-1 home win for Rovers) hoping for a similar outcome. Victory in Wicklow, in our penultimate game, would almost certainly guarantee a top two finish and a subsequent post-season Semi-Final spot for the girls.

The blueprint for that result was outlined by our Women’s Under 17 on Saturday evening as we went top of the group with a 2-0 win over Greystones. Rebecca Doddy did what she always does – score for Sligo Rovers – and became the highest scoring player amongst all the academy teams this season. Katie McGuire was on the scoresheet also as Rovers pulled three points clear at the halfway stage. Winless Athlone Town visit the Showgrounds in two weeks (Saturday Oct. 9) with the pressure all on the visitors. Athlone’s only goal in the group so far came in their 2-1 home defeat to Rovers in early September whereas our girls have scored almost double the next highest scorers in the group. A place in the Semi-Finals looks a distinct possibility even now.

The second of three 100% records went by the wayside this weekend as our Under 17 side were beaten 3-2 by Shelbourne at the AUL Complex. Both sides are tied on nine points along with UCD at the summit, Rovers in second by way of goal difference. Aaron Heaney matched Eimear McIntyre’s fantastic efforts from last week as he too scored at two different age levels over the weekend, Conor Cannon netting Rovers’ second. Rovers (14 scored, 5 conceded) face Finn Harps (8 scored, 9 conceded) this Friday night at The Sean Fallon Centre in what could be a goal fest with 36 goals scored in their 8 combined matches so far. And with just two games remaining after this, a win is vital before a trip to UCD in two weeks.

Finally, after terrific wins over Athlone and Galway our Under 14s bowed out of the cup on Saturday at the Quarter-Final stage. A strong Finn Harps won 5-0 in Killygordon to progress to the final four and leave us to turn our attention to the final group game of the season on October 9th at home to Longford Town. A 3rd place finish is within sight and potentially another Quarter-Final place, this time in the league’s post season.

Richard Mullan