Author: David Goulden

Rovers lose at home to Pat’s

Two first half goals saw St Patrick’s Athletic pick up their first points of the season against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Ronan Hale handed Pat’s the advantage on 26 minutes, while Chris Forrester doubled the lead ten minutes later for a Saints side who finished the game with ten men. Oliver Younger dismissed for a second yellow card mid-way through the second period.  

Having made four changes from their opening night defeat to Waterford, it was the visitors who threatened first.

Sligo did cause the Saints one or two early moments of worry, but once Pat’s settled, they were in control.

Hale saw his improvised effort take a touch off a Rovers defender after he hooked the ball goalwards from the left. This heralded some stiff pressure from Stephen O’Donnell’s side who hit the lead on 26 minutes.

Darragh Noone’s loose pass was pounced upon by Hale who unleashed a stunning drive from 20 yards past Ed McGinty.

Forrester was off target with an audacious effort from a set piece from a similar range on the half hour.

He was involved again on 35 minutes.

The attacker muscling Niall Morahan off the ball before linking up with James Doona who was denied by McGinty. The goalkeeper grabbing the ball from the feet of Doona as he prepared to shoot.

The Dubliners doubled their advantage nine minutes from the break.

Recent recruits Robbie Benson and Billy King were involved on the left as the latter found Forrester, who seized the opportunity, picking out the bottom corner on the turn from ten yards.

Pat’s almost had their third four minutes into the second half. A lapse in concentration from Kyle Callan-McFadden allowed King the chance to finish from close range. McGinty sparing his team-mate’s blushes as he spread himself, getting a stud to King’s placed attempt.

Forrester was next to go close just before the hour. McGinty scrambling to keep hold of the former Aberdeen man’s attempted lob as Pat’s looked to put this game to bed early on.

The home support were offered a glimmer of hope when Pat’s were reduced to ten on 68. Younger shown his second yellow after he tangled with substitute Jesse Devers.

The numerical advantage didn’t pay off however as the Inchicore side saw out the remainder of the game without much fuss. There was a late chance for Devers, but the Mayo man couldn’t come up with the touch he needed to half the deficit.  

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Teemu Penningkangas, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Will Seymore; Darragh Noone, Johnny Dunleavy (Scott Lynch 90); Niall Morahan, David Cawley, Garry Buckley; Ronan Murray (Jesse Devers HT); Ronan Coughlan.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely, Luke McNally, Oliver Younger, Ian Bermingham; Lee Desmond; Robbie Benson, Chris Forrester (Jamie Lennon 70); James Doona (Dean Clarke 58), Billy King; Ronan Hale (Martin Rennie 78).  

Referee:  Neil Doyle

Attendance: 2,145

Rovers defeated in final game of 2019

Sligo Rovers finished off the 2019 season with defeat to Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

The Bit O’Red took the lead 31 minutes in when Daryl Fordyce pounced on Kris Twardek’s cross, poking the ball past James Talbot for Rovers’ opener.

The visitors were impressive throughout but Bohs leveled the game after both Fordyce and Lewis Banks had chances to double Rovers’ lead.

Danny Mandroiu’s free-kick knocking the post before sneaking past Luke McNicholas just before the hour.

Bohs had their winner on 81 minutes when Derek Pender converted from the spot.

Rovers: Luke McNicholas; Johnny Dunleavy, Danny Kane, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Kyle McFadden, Niall Morahan; Kris Twardek, Ronan Murray (Niall Watson 63), Regan Donelon; Daryl Fordyce.

Rovers beaten in final home game of the year

Derry City require just a draw on Tuesday night against St Pat’s to confirm their European spot for 2020 after they beat Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Lewis Banks had handed Rovers the lead thirteen minutes in, but City recovered and levelled the game courtesy of Jamie McDonagh before an Ed McGinty mistake gifted Barry McNamee Derry’s second before half-time. 

The result means the Candystripes need just a point from the visit of the Saints next week, to secure continental football for next season.

Still chasing that third spot, City were on top in the opening half but fell behind to Banks’ first goal for the home side.

David Cawley latching on to Ronan Coughlan’s through ball, before Cawley pulled the ball back for the unmarked Banks to fire home.

Derry heads didn’t drop however and McDonagh struck the woodwork with a fine bending effort after skilfully pulling the ball past John Mahon. While Eoin Toal screwed his volley wide shortly before City had their leveller.

The ball falling to McDonagh at the edge of the area as the ex-Sligo man blasted a left footed volley past McGinty for his fourth of the season and his second against his former employers this year.

McGinty pulled off a fine stop from a close range McNamee effort on 36 minutes as Declan Devine’s charges pushed for the lead.

The Rovers net minder was at fault however six minutes later, when Derry had their second. McNamee guiding the beleaguered goalkeeper’s attempted clearance past McGinty at the first attempt.

Sligo’s Daryl Fordyce wasn’t too far away with an effort in added time at the end of the half. While the same man couldn’t get the power he needed behind his close range header when City failed to clear Cawley’s corner shortly after the re-start.

Regan Donelon almost profited from Kris Twardek’s over-cooked cross ten minutes into the second half as Rovers began the second half on the front foot. The full back’s first time volley at the far post sailing well beyond Peter Cherrie’s back post.

Both sides didn’t create much for a sustained period thereafter as this game suffered from a bout of end of season syndrome.

Grant Gillespie couldn’t find the far corner after he turned inside with 13 minutes of the second half remaining.

While McGinty managed to gather McDonagh’s corner at the second attempt, with Greg Sloggett in close proximity moments later.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Danny Kane (Sam Warde 88), Kyle McFadden, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Kris Twardek, David Cawley (Johnny Dunleavy 80), Daryl Fordyce, Niall Morahan, Regan Donelon (Brian Morley 84); Ronan Coughlan.

Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Grant Gillespie, Ally Gilchrist, Eoin Toal; Jamie McDonagh, Ciaran Coll; Barry McNamee (Michael McCrudden 92), Gregg Sloggett, Ciaron Harkin; David Parkhouse (Darren McCauley 89), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Aidy Delap 94).

Referee: Paul Tuite.

Attendance: 1,909.  

Rovers and Shamrock Rovers play out stalemate

Neither side could produce a winner as both Rovers, Sligo and Shamrock played out an entertaining stalemate at the Showgrounds.

Neither of these sides had much to play for but produced an absorbing encounter in what was Sligo’s penultimate game in front of their own support this year.

Kris Twardek had Alan Mannus at full stretch seven minutes in, while Regan Donelon’s effort from distance flashed past the Hoops goal from the resulting corner.

Ed McGinty was untroubled with Shams’ first effort on goal courtesy of Aaron McEneff on 17 minutes.

There was another nervous moment for the visitors when Twardek sent his low effort fizzing across Mannus’ goal mouth.

Preparing for their first FAI cup final since they were beaten by Sligo nine years ago, the Hoops began to pose a threat through the likes of Aaron Greene, Jack Byrne and Aaron McEneff.

Greene was involved in their next chance. The winger finding Graham Cummins at the back post, but John Mahon did enough to force the ex-Cork striker to volley wide at the first attempt.

Mannus then spilled Danny Kane’s close range header before the danger was cleared by the Hoops rearguard. McGinty relying on Lewis Banks to do likewise at the other end moments later after he let Ethan Boyle’s shot between his arms.

Mannus pulled off a wonderful stop to deny David Cawley’s 35 yard free-kick which looked destined for the top corner. Sam Warde had the ball in the net from the resulting corner, but the midfielder’s joy was short lived when he caught in an offside position.

Even without a recognised striker in their match day squad, Sligo continued to create and should have been ahead just short of the hour.

Twardek released Banks down the right before the latter found man-of-the-match Niall Morahan. The Leitrim teen couldn’t add the required power to his shot from seven yards, with Mannus able to deal with the danger. 

It was then the visitor’s turn to turn up a goal scoring opportunity.

Mahon’s slip allowed Ronan Finn through on goal, but McGinty closed the angle in time to deny skipper Finn in the one-on-one.

Greene then came within a lick of paint of finding the opener.

Sligo might have had a penalty with twelve to go when Regan Donelon was sent flying by a robust challenge. And with the home supporters still protesting the decision not to award the spot kick, Greene then struck the outside of McGinty’s post on the counter with the keeper looking beat.

There were late chances at either end. Brandon Kavanagh fired narrowly wide on the volley while Boyle had to divert Cawley’s side-footer past Mannus’ post.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, Kyle McFadden, John Mahon, Danny Kane; Sam Warde (Johnny Dunleavy 92); Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Niall Morahan, Regan Donelon (Brian Morley 81); Daryl Fordyce.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle, Roberto Lopes, Daniel Lafferty (Dylan Watts 81), Sean Kavanagh; Ronan Finn, Gary O’Neill, Aaron McEneff; Jack Byrne (Brandon Kavanagh 69); Aaron Greene, Graham Cummins (Graham Burke 63). 

Referee: Graham Kelly.

Attendance: 1,829.

Late Duffy winner sees Dundalk through

Dundalk’s hunt for an historic treble goes on after Michael Duffy’s 89th minute winner against Sligo Rovers booked them a place in yet another FAI Cup final.

Duffy struck late on after a sustained period of pressure to break Sligo hearts and propel the Lilywhites towards a date with Shamrock Rovers in October’s decider.

Aiming for a fifth cup decider on the spin, it was the holders who started on the front foot.

Applying the pressure down the Lilywhites’ left, Michael Duffy pulled an early save from a busy Rovers goalkeeper, Ed McGinty. While the Sligo net minder threw his cap on a direct set piece from the same man shortly after.

Sligo’s game plan required an early tweak when they lost top scorer Romeo Parkes to a knee injury.

Despite the setback, Liam Buckley’s men might have had the lead 22 minutes in.

John Mahon meeting David Cawley’s free from close to the corner flag, but his free header flashed past Gary Rogers’ far post.

Dundalk then lost winger Patrick McEleney, but not before he had McGinty on his toes with a bending free-kick which the Scot had to watch sail narrowly over his goal.

Sligo had a shout for penalty turned down when Ronan Coughlan was tripped by Dan Cleary.

This, before the visitors went close to breaking the deadlock five minutes from the interval.

McGinty falling on Sean Hoare’s downward header at the back post after Duffy’s corner caused problems amongst the Rovers rearguard.

At the scene of their last domestic defeat back in April, Dundalk manufactured the first chances of note of the second half.

Jamie McGrath wasn’t not too far away with his right footer, which flew across the face of the Sligo goal three minutes in.

While McGinty was again on hand to keep Dundalk at bay, when he threw an arm at Pat Hoban’s close range effort on 54.

It was only a brave challenge from Mahon that kept the tie level when he dived in front of McGrath’s powerful drive just yards from the target.

Chris Shields neat dummy allowed him space in front of the Sligo area ten minutes from time during a tense finish. His subsequent shot didn’t match the move however, as he sent the ball wide of goal.

Substitute Sean Murray should have settled the game five minutes from time with Dundalk dominating the closing stages. But he could only blast over from six yards with the goal gaping and McGinty grounded.

Murray needn’t have worried though as Duffy struck in the 89th minute.

Georgie Kelly did just enough to keep Murray’s free in play at the end line. The ball falling to that man Duffy who fired into the corner of McGinty’s net to send Dundalk to yet another Aviva visit. 

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Danny Kane, John Mahon, Kyle McFadden, Lewis Banks; Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Niall Watson 63); Romeo Parkes (Ronan Murray 11)., Ronan Coughlan.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Daniel Cleary, Dane Massey; Chris Shields; Jamie McGrath, Patrick McEleney (Robbie Benson 28); Daniel Kelly (Sean Murray 68), Michael Duffy; Pat Hoban (Georgie Kelly 87).

Referee: Rob Harvey.

Attendance: 4,079.  

Rovers extend good run against UCD

Sligo Rovers secured their top flight status for next season as they overcame UCD at the Bowl.

A calamitous Conor Kearns own goal along with Romeo Parkes’ eleventh league goal of the season also means the Students will be effectively relegated, should they lose to Finn Harps in two weeks time.

Rovers played 70 minutes of this game with ten men, after Ronan Murray was sent off for a foul on Harry McEvoy.

That single point from safety, Sligo shaded the initial exchanges.

Kearns had to sweep the ball from Danny Kane’s feet after Lewis Banks nodded Regan Donelon’s corner towards the full back.

This was the only real opening early on.

Maciej Tarnogrodzki’s side rallied on the quarter hour. Richie O’Farrell and Mark Dignam combining before the latter fired narrowly past Ed McGinty’s post.

The Rovers goalkeeper was called into play again on 18 minutes.

McGinty’s two handed save denying Yoyo Mahdy’s low drive towards the far corner after Paul Doyle picked out the striker with a crafty through ball.

Liam Buckley’s team were reduced to ten two minutes later.

Murray left a late foot on McEvoy at the edge of the UCD box. And although there was a hint of an accident about the challenge, there was little protest from Murray when referee Neil Doyle issued him his second red of the season.

The numerical disadvantage played no part in the direction of this game, for the remainder of the half at least. Although there was more than a hint of fortune when Rovers had their opener on 33.

Kearns totally mis-judged the flight of David Cawley’s corner when the ball bounced off the outside of closed fist and into his own net.

Sligo had their second on the stroke of half time.

Fordyce led the break from the edge of his own area before laying play into the path of Parkes.

There was little panic or fuss from the Jamaican, who strolled his way past the last UCD defender before finishing deftly past Kearns.

McGinty was called into play eight minutes into the second period as the home side sought to fight their way back into contention.

Jason McClelland testing the Scot with a laced effort from 15 yards, before Kearns had to be alert at the opposite end to keep out substitute Niall Watson from the angle.

Dara Keane and Kris Twardek had chances at either end as Rovers held out for their fifth win over the Dubliners this term.

Kearns then pulled off a super double save from both Parkes and Cawley with six to go.

The first from Parkes was low down at his post, before the UCD number one leapt to push Cawley’s rocket from 20 yards over his crossbar.

UCD: Conor Kearns; Dan Tobin, Liam Scales, Harry McEvoy, Evan Farell; Paul Doyle, Dara Keane; Jason McClelland, Mark Dignam (Sam Byrne 57); Richie O’Farrell; Yoyo Mahdy.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, Kyle McFadden, John Mahon, Danny Kane (Niall Watson HT); Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Niall Morahan 69); Ronan Murray, Romeo Parkes. 

Referee: Neil Doyle.

Rovers win north west derby

Sligo Rovers are now just one point away from safety after they recorded victory over Finn Harps at the Showgrounds.

First half goals from Niall Watson, Ronan Murray and Sam Warde did the damage for the Bit O’Red.

Harry Ascroft caused concern with a late Harps consolation for the Ballybofey men, who remain seven points off Cork City in eighth.

In need of the points much more than their rivals, it was the visitors who actually started this one the brighter.

Nathan Boyle wasn’t miles off with an early header from a Mark Timlin cross.

Despite their early raids forward, Harps’ world fell apart in an eight minute spell in which they conceded three.

Daryl Fordyce had an effort taken off the line eleven minutes in, but the Donegal side were powerless to resist as Sligo hit the lead 21 minutes in.

Watson added too much power to his header as he nodded past Mark McGinley having been picked out by a Murray cross. This was Watson’s second strike in as many outings.

Rovers had their second three minutes later. Murray cut inside from the left before lashing an unstoppable drive across the front of McGinley and into the opposite corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

Two became three on 29.

Warde’s corner creeping all the way past a forest of legs before sneaking in at the back post.

Timlin’s resulting shot from a well worked Mark Coyle set piece was blocked away by Danny Kane early in the second period.

While Boyle’s strength saw him see off two Sligo defenders, but the 25-year-old could only blast over from 15 yards. Harps the livelier from the dressing rooms once more.

Harps boss Ollie Horgan was then sent to the stand just before the hour when his frustrations got the better of him.

The form wouldn’t have improved much from Horgan’s vantage in the Treacy Avenue stand. Substitute Ascroft’s volley sailed past Ed McGinty’s posts after a series of ricochets saw the ball sit up for the Australian.

While Raff Cretaro had a late penalty call turned down when his smashed volley seemed to come off the chest of a Sligo defender inside McGinty’s area.

Harps did cause significant uncertainty in the Rovers camp late on. Ascroft turned Tony McNamee’s long throw past McGinty. While Cretaro saw a powerful effort bounce off the frame of the goal at the re-start.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Niall Morahan, Danny Kane, John Mahon, Regan Donelon (James McGrath 82); Kris Twardek, Sam Warde, Daryl Fordyce (Scott Lynch 77), Niall Watson; Ronan Coughlan (Brian Morley 64), Ronan Murray.

Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Dan O’Reilly (Mark Coyle HT); Jacob Borg, Mark Russell; Ruairi Harkin (Tony McNamee 72), Gareth Harkin (Harry Ascroft HT); Raff Cretaro, Mark Timlin; Nathan Boyle.

Referee: Ben Connolly.

Attendance: 1,685.

Rovers through to last four

Sligo Rovers will play in an FAI Cup semi-final later this month after they got past UCD without too much trouble at the Showgrounds.

Ronan Coughlan’s opening strike was followed up before the break by an own goal from Students goalkeeper Conor Kearns. Regan Donelon put this contest beyond doubt with a well dispatched penalty early in the second period.

While Rovers completed their first ever cup win over the Dubliners at the death when Niall Watson forced an effort past Kearns in injury time.  

Sligo welcomed back striker Coughlan for this last eight tie and he showed his worth just eight minutes in as Rovers hit the lead.

The Limerick native taking full advantage of a mix-up between Kearns and Aaron McGrath to fire past the UCD net minder for his tenth of the year.

The home side dictated the majority of this game.

The Students left to rely on Dan Tobin to rob the ball from the toe of Donelon as he looked favourite to turn Kris Twardek’s cross past Kearns at the front post on 18 minutes.

Sligo had a goal chalked off six minutes later.

John Mahon nodded Donelon’s corner to the net, but the referee’s assistant ruled it out as Coughlan was placed in an offside position while stationed on the goal line.

The visitors did enjoy a small first half spell where they looked like they might come back into this tie.

Ed McGinty had to go full stretch to deny Richie O’Farrell from the angle. While the same man went close again from a corner 60 seconds later.

Sligo however gradually settled again and doubled their advantage on 33.

Cawley’s close range effort came back off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing off the unfortunate Kearns and to the net.

Rovers looked set for a first semi-final appearance in six years ten minutes into the second period when they hit their third.

Harry McEvoy tangled with Romeo Parkes inside the UCD area before Donelon comfortably dispatched the subsequent spot-kick.    

The Premier Division’s basement side tired as the half wore on. McGinty had to move quickly to dive on Yoyo Mahdy’s drive at the target ten minutes from time. But this was to be their only glimpse of goal of the half.   

While there was some late worry for Liam Buckley when he was forced to withdraw top scorer Parkes after he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring strain.

Watson had his maiden goal for the club on his second appearance in added time. The beleaguered Kearns unable to keep out the Accrington loanee’s strike from the angle.  

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Niall Morahan, John Mahon, Kyle McFadden, Lewis Banks; Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Niall Watson 71); Romeo Parkes (Brian Morley 81), Ronan Coughlan (Ronan Murray 65).

UCD: Conor Kearns; Dan Tobin (Isaac Akinsete 63), Harry McEvoy, Luke Boore, Evan Farrell; Aaron McGrath (Ciaran Behan HT), Dara Keane; Richie O’Farrell; Yoyo Mahdy (James Daly 81), Sam Byrne, Jason McClelleand.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Attendance: 1,927.

Home defeat for Rovers

Dundalk continued their push for a fifth league title in six seasons as they saw off Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds. 

Dane Massey and Andy Boyle struck for the Lilywhites, who stretched their lead over second placed Shamrock Rovers to seven with one game extra to play.

Returning to the scene of their last defeat on Irish soil back in April, it was Dundalk who hit the opener on the quarter hour after an opening which offered little in terms of chances.

Sligo did have an early penalty appeal turned down. Massey seemed to control an awkward Lewis Banks cross with his chest amid claims for a spot-kick.

This, before Vinny Perth’s team had the lead.

Michael Duffy’s cross, meant for Daniel Kelly was cut out by a Sligo defender. The ball landing only as far as Massey who showed wonderful technique to execute a superb volley past Ed McGinty from 15 yards.

Rovers were defending an eleven game unbeaten run on their home patch and had chances for both Pat Hoban and Dan Kelly to contend with.

Hoban lashed an effort from the edge of the Sligo area across the face of goal. While McGinty held Kelly’s header on the half hour.

Jamie McGrath wasn’t too far away six minutes from the break when he attempted to twist a placed effort into the far corner as the visitors remained on top.

Rovers’ Romeo Parkes pounced on a weak back-pass from Sean Gannon late in the half. But goalkeeper Gary Rogers read the situation in time to close down the Jamaican before he could get his shot away.

The second half was eight minutes old when the champions had their second.

Boyle’s dominant jump allowing him soar above two Rovers defenders to thump Duffy’s corner beyond McGinty.

Two almost became three on 57 when McEleney struck the crossbar from range as Dundalk looked well in control.

McGinty pulled off fine reaction save from a Massey shot which deflected off a Rovers defender on 65.

The visitors struck the woodwork again two minutes later when Duffy had McGinty beaten all ends up. The Derry man’s effort from the instep coming back off the Sligo crossbar as Dundalk continued their drive for that elusive third.

Hoban was next to strike the frame of the goal when his glancing header from a Duffy corner bounced off the top of the crossbar with ten to go.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, Kyle McFadden, John Mahon, Regan Donelon (Niall Morahan 79); David Cawley, Sam Warde, Daryl Fordyce (Niall Watson 75); Romeo Parkes, Ronan Murray (John Russell 55), Kris Twardek.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Andy Boyle, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields; Jamie McGrath (Cameron Dummigan 79), Patrick McEleney; Michael Duffy (Lido Lotefa 86), Daniel Kelly (Robbie Benson 72); Patrick Hoban.

Referee: Derek Tomney.

Attendance: 1,655.

Goals for Coughlan and Parkes as Rovers beat Cork

Individual braces from Ronan Coughlan and Romeo Parkes saw Sligo Rovers take all three points from Turner’s Cross

Parkes gave Rovers the lead just past the half hour mark, but City struck back through a Dan Casey strike from a corner.

The Bit O’Red led at the break when Coughlan executed a smart finish in front of the Cork shed, while Parkes made it 3-1 on the hour.

A stunning Shane Griffin effort gave City hope, but Rovers held out and Coughlan was on hand once more to secure the win five minutes from time.

The striker making the most of a Mark McNulty mishap.

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan (Josh Honohan 76), Alan Bennett, Dan Casey, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley; Daire O’Connor (Mark O’Sullivan 53), Karl Sheppard, Joel Coustrain; Eoghan Stokes (Alec Byrne 80).

Sligo Rovers: Edward McGinty; Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Kyle McFadden, Regan Donelon (Niall Morahan 73); David Cawley, John Russell, Kris Twarderk; Daryl Fordyce, Romeo Parkes, Ronan Coughlan.