Author: Rory Houston

Tickets and updates: Shamrock Rovers on Saturday

Sligo Rovers host Shamrock Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Men’s Premier Division on Saturday 9th March. Kick-off is 7.45pm.

Tickets:

With season tickets, individual match tickets already sold and the complete away allocation for Shamrock Rovers being taken, we are already approaching 2,700 tickets gone for the game.

Match tickets are on sale here.

The club expect the game to sell out following the previous sell out against Derry City and over 3,000 in attendance for a Friday fixture against Shelbourne.

Tickets may be on sale on the night depending on sales but we encourage fans to buy in advance to avoid disappointment and also to ease congestion on entry.

We will update on our social channels when tickets are close to selling out.

The club wish to acknowledge the wonderful backing of the team in the opening games of the season, both home and away, and the exemplary behaviour of our supporters. Please give enough time to enter the stadium for kick-off and continue to respect our stewards and turnstile operators.

All tickets will be checked and concession passes must be shown or the club reserves the right to refuse entry.

Please note any Shamrock Rovers fans found to have purchased tickets for the home areas will not be admitted to the ground.

Season tickets:

Season tickets are still available if you purchase before Saturday’s game.

It will include 16 matches from now to the end of October. If you intend on purchasing a season ticket please allow enough time to purchase and collect should you intend to use it this Saturday.

To purchase click here.

Parking:

With large crowds expected over the next few home games we ask that supporters be mindful not to block local residents’ driveways, footpaths and exits.

We offer parking at the Showgrounds, and also there is parking available at Nazareth House and a short walk away in the centre of town.

Programme:

As part of entry to our home games the club will make a complimentary e-programme available to supporters. This will be accessible via QR codes at various points inside the entrance of the Showgrounds.

To access the programme supporters can scan the QR code using their mobile phone camera. This will then provide a clickable link to download the e-programme. The e-programme will require internet access on supporters mobile phones to download.

Heritage newsletter

The Sligo Rovers Heritage group will provide a separate physical newsletter for collectors and supporters for a fee of €2, which can be purchased inside the entrance to the Showgrounds.

Jinks Avenue home section

The home section of the Jinks Avenue stand has become standing only for the season ahead. We want to thank our fans in the Jinks Avenue stand for the fantastic support of the team in the first two matches. As John Russell said, the bond between players and fans has been very noteworthy so far. We also wish to thank the fans for not using pyrotechnics and to continue to keep this position.

New megastore location

The Megastore has been moved from the BORST club house to a new location on the left before the Tracey Avenue stand.

Women’s team

The women’s team’s season begins on Saturday away to Shelbourne in Tolka Park at 2:00pm. There will be 10 home league games in the Showgrounds with a new regular start time of 7:00pm on a Saturday night, unless otherwise advised. 

Supporters are encouraged to show their support by purchasing a Season Ticket or attending home games for 2024. The cost of a Season Ticket is €50 and helps fund the growth of our Women’s team which is in its third year. Season Tickets can be purchased here.

Volunteering

Our supporter-owned club is built on the dedication and hard work of our committed volunteers. If anyone is interested in becoming involved as match-night volunteer for 2024, they are encouraged to contact: shane@sligorovers.com

Our match-nights are made possible by volunteers and we appreciate any new volunteers willing to assist for any number of our remaining 16 men’s home league games or 10 women’s home league games. 

As always volunteers are free to choose which games they are available to help. Match-night roles include security, half-time raffle, BORST clubhouse, club shop.

Match report: Superb Rovers hit five in Dundalk

Sligo Rovers recorded their biggest ever away win in Dundalk on Monday night as they thrashed the Lilywhites by five goals to nil at a soaked Oriel Park.

Both Max Mata and Ellis Chapman hit braces, while Fabrice Hartmann netted his second goal of the season as the Bit O’Red totally over-ran their opponents on a stormy night in County Louth.

Despite the lashing rain and strong winds, Rovers pressed Dundalk immediately and opened the scoring with seven minutes played.

Chapman slipping the ball between the legs of Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey after tidy interplay on the behalf of Mata and Hartmann.

The travelling support had only to wait another seven minutes for the second goal. Hartmann firing home from outside of the area for goal number two of the term for the German.

Two became three just past the half hour.

Andy Boyle recovering in time to dispossess Mata with a challenge, but the home defence weren’t to deny Chapman who cooly finished past the beleaguered Shelvey.

Things got even better from the now red hot Rovers when they became the first team in almost 60 years to score four first half goals in the league game at Oriel Park.

Sligo capitalising on poor defending from the hosts as Mata’s shot crept past Shelvey for the New Zealander’s first goal for the club since his return on loan from Shrewsbury.

Ed McGinty kept his second clean sheet of the season with a number of notable saves. The best of these coming when he came to meet Scott Durrant, denying the Dundalk attacker with an out-streteched leg.

An irresistible Rovers weren’t finished here and neither was Mata who had his second and Sligo’s fifth on 62 minutes when he pulled of a classy finish from the angle, finding the bottom corner of Dundalk sub net-minder Ross Munro’s goal.

Dundalk: George Shelvey (Ross Munro HT); Archie Davies, Mayowa Animasahun (Louie Annesley HT), Andy Boyle, Jamie Walker (Sam Durrant 37); Zak Bradshaw (Hayden Muller 37), Paul Doyle; Daryl Horgan, Scott High, Robbie Benson (Jamie Gullan 64); Cameron Elliott (Ciaran McGuckin 64).

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, John Ross Wilson (Charlie Wiggett 83), Ollie Denham, Nando Pijnaker, Reece Hutchinson (Stefan Radosavjevic 71); Niall Morahan, Connor Malley (Owen Elding 71); Ellis Chapman (Kailin Barlow 64), Fabrice Hartmann, Will Fitzgerald; Max Mata (Wilson Waweru 64).

Next up for Rovers is the visit of Shamrock Rovers to The Showgrounds on Saturday night. Kick-off 7.45pm.

Tickets are on sale here.

Tickets for opening men’s home game vs Derry City on sale

Tickets for the opening home game of the season are now on sale.

Sligo Rovers host Derry City in the League of Ireland’s Men’s Premier Division on Saturday 24th February, kick-off 7.45pm.

They can be purchased here

Match Tickets (srfcdirect.com)

Our rates for 2024 for all 18 home games will be €20 for adults, €12 concession and €5 adults.

With season tickets, individual match tickets already sold and the away allocation for Derry City, we are already approaching 2,500 tickets gone for the game.

We are encouraging all of our community to be part of the special occasion and ask to purchase your tickets in advance of the game.

Last year’s opening fixture topped 4,000 spectators in The Showgrounds. We will be building to the game on our social media channels and local media as we feel it can be a similar occasion.

It is vital we start the season with a large and passionate crowd supporting our team and financially in revenue on the night so please encourage friends and family to be part of the great occasion.

Season tickets are also still available to purchase. Click on the image below.

Club update ahead of new season

As we approach the beginning of the new season for our men’s team and the women’s team next month, the club would like to issue an update to all of our supporters.

We are pleased that our fans are excited by the hard work and diligent recruitment by John Russell and Tommy Hewitt in recent months.

As a committee our responsibility remains the day-to-day running of the club, to future proof it and build on over 90 years of our proud existence.

Today’s announcement of a new three-year sponsorship agreement with Avant Money is arguably the most important in the history of our club.

Our thanks to Niall Corbett and all of the team at Avant Money can not be understated as their understanding of Sligo Rovers and what it means to the community has made it possible.

It also reflects the growing appeal as one of just two-member owned teams in the top flight.

In an environment where €2 million is the cost of running a Premier Division side and most clubs within the league finance it through billionaire or millionaire investment, we must stress the future will be challenging and requires the expansion of the football club.

Our goal is to have teams that do justice to the proud history of Sligo Rovers. We make an even stronger case for government support on our Masterplan, which we’ll touch on shortly, if, despite the obstacles we have to overcome, we remain a bastion of soccer on the island.

This season we will ask our supporters to help a number of initiatives, geared to keep the side competitive. We will aim to be united on all fronts.

The first of those initiatives is a proposal to create a special night with a packed Showgrounds for the opening home game against Derry City.

Below are the details and following that is an update on the club’s Masterplan.

Attendance for Derry City game

Tickets are available to purchase for the Derry City game now

Sligo Rovers v Derry City, the North West derby on Saturday February 24th, is our first game of the 2024 season.

We have been extremely pleased with the level of season ticket sales and we thank for the loyal support. As you enter the ground for the game you’ll see marked improvements in the stadium including new floodlights which will make a marked difference in your match-watching experience.

Through the help of the Bit O’ Red Supporters Trust there is also an expanded merchandise unit.

With season tickets, individual match tickets already sold and the away allocation for Derry City, we are already approaching 2,500 tickets gone for the game.

We are encouraging all of our community to be part of the special occasion and ask to purchase your tickets in advance of the game.

Having sold out the away allocation for Dalymount Park on Friday five days out, we know our supporters are excited to see our young and hungry side ready to represent the Bit O’ Red.

Last year’s opening fixture topped 4,000 spectators in The Showgrounds. We will be building to the game on our social media channels and local media as we feel it can be a similar occasion.

It is vital we start the season with a large and passionate crowd supporting our team and financially in revenue on the night so please encourage friends and family to be part of the great occasion.

Tickets are available here Match Tickets (srfcdirect.com) and we will update you throughout next week. Our rates for 2024 for all 18 home games will be €20 for adults, €12 concession and €5 adults.

Update on Masterplan

Some of the new floodlights installed for 2024

As mentioned substantial work has been carried out in the grounds of phase 1 of the Masterplan with the addition of new floodlights, coming from a grant of over €200,000 from the current government as well as significant spending by the club on this project.

The Showgrounds has been the home of Sligo Rovers since the club was founded in 1928.

Sligo Football and Sports Development Society (SFSDS) is a co-operative society, wholly owned by the people.

In 2021, as part of the preparations for the Sligo Rovers in 2028, the club carried out a widespread consultation process. The resultant Masterplan sets out how the club and the Showgrounds might serve future generations.

Statutory Planning Approval for the development, in accordance with the Masterplan, was sought from Sligo County Council and secured in February 2023.

The club will apply for large scale funding

In advance of the new season, the information below provides the latest information about the next phase of the plan.

Following a public procurement process in accordance with the EU rules, an experienced multi-disciplinary design team was appointed in November 2023. The detailed design and costing of the proposed facilities is underway.

The Integrated Design Team comprises the following professionals:
• Rhatigan and Company, Architects (Architect, Assigned Certifier and Employer Representative)
• Atkins Ireland (Civil and Structural Engineers)
• Patrick McCaul (Mechanical and Electrical Engineers)
• ORS (Fire Safety Engineers and PSDP)
• CQS Group (Quantity Surveyors)

Sligo Rovers lodged an application for funding under the IIP scheme last year. It is due to be evaluated during 2024. Westport United FC, Dublin GAA, Monaghan GAA, Connacht Rugby and DCU are among the organisations who have received support under this scheme.

The Department of Sport has indicated it will shortly invite applications for a new round of the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). Sligo Rovers will lodge an application for support. It is expected that allocations from this fund will be made during the lifetime of this government. Earlier work carried out, including receiving planning permission and the appointment of a Design Team, leave Sligo Rovers in contention to benefit from substantial LSSIF funding.

The club is grateful for the ongoing support it is receiving from the local authority, Sligo County Council, the FAI and national and local public representatives in relation to the Masterplan.

We are conscious of the club’s rich history. We hope that the required level of state funding will be provided to allow Sligo Rovers serve the needs of future generations and continue its role as a valued ambassador for the League of Ireland in the regions.

New Role in the Community

We are currently recruiting a Football & Social Responsibility (FSR) Officer who will be responsible for delivery of a Football Community Engagement Strategy for the Club.

The Full Time role will involve the development and implementation of the Club’s social responsibility policy and procedures using football as the mechanism to have a positive and sustainable impact on the community in the region.

The role is supported through and by Sligo County Council and we look forward to an announcement when the process is complete.

We expect to provide further supporter information about specific changes made during the preseason in the lead up to the first home game v Derry City.

https://srfcdirect.com/match-tickets/

Avant Money renew Sligo Rovers sponsorship for three years

Sligo Rovers and consumer finance and mortgage provider Avant Money today announce an extension to their sponsorship agreement where Avant Money will remain as the club’s main sponsor.

This latest agreement, three-years in duration, will be in effect, up until the end of the 2026.

Built on a shared commitment to elevating the support and commitment to the club, players, fans and communities, the partnership will provide support for SRFC, as well as year-round youth and community-focused events and programs.

Leitrim and Dublin-based Avant Money has been a loyal, dedicated and supportive partner of the Bit O’ Red since the 2020 season.

Leah Kelly and Owen Elding, with Niall Corbett, CEO Avant Money

The company is thrilled to extend the partnership considering the importance of the role the football club plays for the people of the north-west.

Avant Money has also formed a major part of the growth of the women’s Premier Division side, coming on board as primary sponsor since the birth of the side two years ago to add to their contribution to Rovers.

While many clubs have adopted a one-year cycle to jersey changes, the Bit O’ Red and the our sponsors continue to prioritise value for money to loyal supporters who have purchased the jersey.

Considering this, Sligo Rovers, Avant Money and JOMA Sport have agreed to continue with the current Bit O’ Red home jersey for the 2024 season.

The announcement was made by Sligo Rovers CEO Andrew Feakins and Avant Money’s CEO, Niall Corbett at the Showgrounds in Sligo.

Bit O’ Red chairman Tommy Higgins and Niall Corbett, CEO Avant Money, with the Rovers players

Niall Corbett, Avant Money CEO, said: “The extended partnership marks another significant milestone for both Avant Money and Sligo Rovers, and provides participating teams with a great opportunity to prepare for the very competitive league of Ireland that gets under way later this week.

“Supporting talent at a local club and county is immensely important to Avant Money. We understand the pride and passion from players and supporters, which is why we are proud sponsors of the club. We wish the team every success this Friday when they play against Bohemians, and throughout the 2024 league campaign. I know that many of our members, employees and customers are looking forward to a great season ahead.”

“We are delighted that Avant Money will be extending its partnership as main sponsor for Sligo Rovers”, said CEO, Andrew Feakins.

“I would like to express our gratitude to Avant Money’s commitment to the club and its players and am very much looking forward to the opportunities working together brings about as we kick-off the new league season.”

Tom French appointed Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach

Sligo Rovers can confirm Tom French has been appointed Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach at the club.

French has been a high performance coach for over two decades and previously served as a consultant with the club in 2020 and 2021.

Tom has a MSC in strength and conditioning as well as numerous qualifications relating to exercise and nutrition, athletics, weightlifting and recently completed a second Masters in Advanced Sports Performance.

He also holds a UEFA A licence.

The club has now recruited Tom on a full-time basis to lead our strength and conditioning first-team operation for the men’s first-team in 2024.

Manager John Russell: “I’m delighted to get Tom on board. I’ve known him for over 15 years. He is highly qualified and has worked with numerous sports teams over the years.

“He worked with the Galway hurling side where they reached two All-Ireland hurling finals.

“He managed Mervue in the First Division and assistant manager at Galway United with Ian Foster when I played there.

“He is a great guy and he will lead the programme for strength and conditioning for next season.

“He’s familiar with the club and shares our ambitions and goals.

“Tom will monitor the training loads in particular, to help keep the players fit and fresh, and he will be a big addition to our backroom team overall.”

2024 season tickets now on sale

2024 Season Tickets are now on sale with tickets in a number of different categories available.

Season tickets represent the best value option for attending Bit O’ Red fixtures with a saving of over three matches in the 2023 season if you were to pay on the night for each game.

You can buy your tickets online: https://srfcdirect.com/season-tickets-2024/

Gold Season Tickets will be priced as an odd on of €60 which allows supporters to have their name on their chosen seat within the stadium. These seats will be applicable for all League and Cup games throughout the season, however supporters will need to purchase a single ticket for any cup games as normal.

An adult supporter will save €70 over the course of the season, with saving in all categories.

Super Reds receive their very own free gift and special invite to Meet and Greet with the Bit O’ Red squad.

Family rates will return again in 2024 as follows:

  • 1 Adult + 2 Children Under 12: €400
  • 2 Adults + 2 Children Under 12: €620

Our Women’s team will also have a 2024 Season Ticket at a special price of just €50 for the season.

Supporters have the option to include a WNL Season Ticket with their Men’s Season Ticket for just €25.

Both Season Tickets will be different in colour and design to be easily identifiable.

Club Treasurer David Rowe spoke to the Bit O’ Red Supporters Trust podcast this week for an update on club matters.

You can listen here.

JR Wilson signs for Sligo Rovers

JR Wilson has become the first new signing for Sligo Rovers for the 2024 season.

Wilson has spent the majority of his career with Shelbourne and has also lined out for Bohemians and Bray Wanderers.

He made 31 appearances in all competitions last year with Shels as they finished fourth in the Premier Division.

Wilson pens an agreement for the new campaign and visited Sligo this morning.

The 24-year-old defender is excited about moving to the north-west to play for Rovers.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the club.

“The manager impressed me and convinced me sign here. He’s spoken to me a lot about the club and the season just gone. I know the plans he has and it’s exciting. He wants to build a new group and it was great to hear he wanted me to part of that.  

“I’ve met people around the club today and it’s really positive. I can’t wait to move down and begin training.”

Wilson already has a Bit O’ Red connection through 1994 treble winning team member Gerry Carr as a family friend and is friends with Gerry’s son.

“Gerry has been on to me already and telling me to sign! We went to the Cup finals in the 2010 eras so I know all about the club of course. It’s a massive club and it’s time to get it back up the table.

“It’s a big move for myself to leave Dublin. I wanted to be out of my comfort zone.

“That was another factor. It’s something different and something I really want to embrace.”

Rovers manager John Russell said: “I’ve always been a big fan of JR and have followed his career.

“He likes to get forward, create chances and can scores goals but primarily we’re bringing him in for his defensive qualities. He is aggressive in a one-on-one and a real competitor in every aspect. I’ve been really impressed by him and how he has taken the opportunity to leave the Dublin area and move down with us.

“He is looking for a new challenge and to make a big commitment. I think he has real leadership qualities. He’ll be 25 next month so he’s coming into a brilliant stage of his career and knows the league.”

Having made multiple changes to his squad, Russell added: “I’m trying to get good quality players to the club. It’s important to stay calm and bring the right players in. I’ll be patient, I know what I want, and it’s about identifying the type of players to bring in.

“It’s important we reset and it’s exciting we’re going to have a fresh team. We’ve got Reece Hutchinson on the left-side and JR on the right which gives us a great balance, two players who are adept at both defending and attacking in their positions.

“I’d like the supporters to know it will take time to build our entire squad. We’ve made a lot of changes knowing there had to be a reset. The players we bring here will be the right ones and we won’t just make a squad for the sake of it. This is a very good start for us.”

Rovers beaten in final game

Peamount Utd hit Sligo Rovers for six in the final home game of the season at PRL Park on Saturday evening where the newly-crowned Women’s Premier Division champions recorded a 6-1 victory, writes Conall Collier.

Interviewed before kick-off for the live TG4 action, Sligo Rovers manager Steve Feeney indicated that his side needed to concede less goals, but that deficiency was clearly highlighted in a 20-minute spell in the second-half.

Although she picked the ball out of the net six times, Sligo Rovers ‘keeper Amber Hardy made some excellent saves in the opening 45 minutes as the hosts attempted to turn on the style.

Peamount struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard until the closing minutes of the first-half when Jess Fitzgerald broke the deadlock and Ellen Dolan added a second goal as the clock hit 45 minutes for a 2-0 advantage.

Trailing at the interval, the Bit O’Red were blitzed either side of the hour mark when Erin McLoughlin (penalty), Dolan, Fitzgerald and substitute Avril Brierly all found the net and wrapped up a thoroughly merited victory for the hosts.

There was brief respite for Sligo Rovers when Emma Doherty surged forward on 65 minutes and confidently rounded the Peamount ‘keeper before slotting to the net.

Sligo Rovers also went close before the end when the crossbar saved the Peamount rearguard.

This was Steve Feeney’s last game in charge and former Athlone Town manager Tommy Hewitt will now take over the reins at the Showgrounds for the 2024 season.

Peamount Utd – Niamh Reid-Burke; Lauryn O’Callaghan, Jetta Berrill, Chloe Moloney, Dearbhaile Beirne, Karen Duggan, Jessica Fitzgerald, Sadhbh Doyle, Erin McLaughlin, Ellen Dolan, Freya Healy.

Subs – Watkins for Healy 53 mins, Avril Brierley for Dolan and Caoimhe Connaughton for Moloney both 64m, Louise Masterson for O’Callaghan and Shannon Thomas for McLaughlin both 83m

Sligo Rovers – Amber Hardy; Leah Kelly, Alice Lillie, Sarah Kiernan, Eimear Lafferty, Emma Hansberry, Lauren Boles, Emma Doherty, Jodie Loughrey, Casey Howe, Keri Loughrey.

Subs – Amy Roddy for Lafferty and Ciara Henry for Kelly both 64 mins, Katie Melly for Howe and Jessica Casey for Hansberry both 80m, Kate Nugent for Boles 85.

Referee – Mark Houlihan.

Rovers chairman pays tribute to Cawley

Sligo Rovers chairman Tommy Higgins has paid tribute to club captain David Cawley following confirmation of a parting ways with the Bit O’ Red following the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Cawley has written his name in Rovers history after making over 300 appearances for the club over two spells.

He is in the top 10 all-time appearance holders for Rovers, recently moving into seventh spot.

He won a league title, FAI Cup and Setanta Cup and has been a talisman for the Bit O’ Red since rejoining in 2018.

The Rovers chairman said: “David has been a vital figure for the club since first wearing the shirt over 11 years ago.

“We have been honoured to have him represent Sligo Rovers for many reasons. While some will consider the trophies and medals he won at the club the highlights, David’s longevity and impact over such a lengthy period of time is what stands him out as one of our greatest ever servants.

“He quickly understood what our club is about since those early days in 2012. His standing among our supporters, particularly our young fans and families, speaks volumes about him as a person and role model. We are very grateful for the example he played off the pitch.

“On the pitch he was someone we could always call on to demonstrate what it means to play for Sligo Rovers and put in countless memorable performances, leading to some very special days. We were thrilled to grant David a deserved testimonial this year.

“While we part ways now we know he will be a big part of our club’s history and will be forever welcome in The Showgrounds. We wish him and his family a wonderful future in life and in football and thank him for his incredible service at the club.”