Bit O’ Red beaten by Shamrock Rovers

Sligo Rovers were beaten 3-2 by Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

The Bit O’Red went in level at the break after Ronan Coughlan’s penalty replied to Jack Byrne’s opener.

However, it was the Hoops who were to pick up Stephen Bradley’s first win as manager in the north west as they wrestled the points from Sligo. Goals from Aaron McEneff and Aaron Greene securing the points, which moves the visitors three clear of Dundalk.

While Niall Morahan netted what was nothing more than a consolation strike for Sligo in added time.

The Dubliners arrived in Sligo with a contrasting league record to their opponents, bringing with them their one hundred percent record, including last week’s victory over champions Dundalk. While the hosts had lost each of their three opening games and were yet to find the net.

Hoops boss Bradley had never won a game at the Showgrounds in his time in charge and it was his side who started the brighter.

Aaron McEneff screwed an early effort wide of Ed McGinty’s post eight minutes in, while Teemu Penninkangas had to divert a wicked cross from Byrne past his own post.

Liam Scales went close with a powerful header from the resulting corner, while a quick one-two between Neil Farrugia and Rory Gaffney saw the former flash a shot across the face of the Sligo goal.

Liam Buckley then lost Penninkangas to injury on 21 minutes, 90 seconds before Shamrock Rovers hit the lead.

Sligo weren’t touch tight to Byrne when he received the ball from Ronan Finn and were punished for their lapse when the explosive attacker took three defenders out of the game with one touch. Byrne shooting into the bottom corner from inside the area.

The league leaders continued to boss proceedings although there was a worrying moment eleven minutes from the break.

Coughlan’s speculative effort from all of 40 yards looked relatively innocuous. The Hoops defence scrambling the ball to safety after an awkward bounce in front of goalkeeper Alan Mannus had the goalkeeper disorientated.

Despite playing second fiddle in the opening half, the Bit O’Red went in level at the break.

Will Seymour’s wonderful ball to the right wing found Jesse Devers. The Mayo man linking up with cousin David Cawley who had his heels clipped by Roberto Lopes inside the penalty area.

Coughlan’s subsequent spot-kick sending Mannus the wrong way, handing Sligo their first goal of the season after over 300 minutes of football.

Byrne went close on separate occasions in the opening exchanges of the second half as the away side looked to regain control. His first fizzed past the far post from the left, while his follow up from the opposite side was easily held by McGinty.

The former Manchester City youth was involved again on 69 minutes, but his set piece from the angle was watched all the way by McGinty as Bynre’s swinging free-kick flew over the Scot’s crossbar.

Sligo sensed they could grab a second against the run of play, while the Dublin Rovers were always going to create further chances given their attacking prowess.

Shamrock Rovers’ second goal arrived on 76 minutes.

Impressive build up play from the green and white eventually found McEneff, who executed a neat finish past the sprawling McGinty.

The destination of the points was put beyond doubt with nine to go when Greene had the visitors’ third. The striker making the most of more poor defending from his once employers as he was allowed time and space to blast to the net after good work from Dylan Watts on the end line.

Morahan’s strike in added time meant little to the final outcome of this tie. The Leitrim man found the bottom corner with Mannus left flat footed.

But time had essentially run out for the hosts. 

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Niall Morahan, Teemu Penninkangas (Ryan De Vries 22), Kyle Callan-McFadden, Alex Cooper; Darragh Noone (Ronan Murray 79), Will Seymour, David Cawley, Jesse Devers; Garry Buckley; Ronan Coughlan.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Robert Lopes, Lee Grace, Liam Scales; Ronan Finn, Neil Farrugia (Danny Lafferty 85); Aaron McEneff, Greg Bolger (Gary O’Neill 75), Jack Byrne; Rory Gaffney (Dylan Watts 69), Aaron Greene.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Attendance: 2,342