Category: News

Sligo Rovers FC & AbbVie Announce New Sporting Partnership to Support Development of Youth Soccer in the Region

· Sligo biopharmaceutical company becomes ‘Diamond Partner’ in new multi-year agreement

· New sporting partnership part of the biopharmaceutical company’s support of local communities and sports organisations

· ‘AbbVie Academy’ will assist emerging young male and female talent in the region

· New collaboration launched at a special event in the Showgrounds

June 2024: Sligo Rovers and local biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, have announced a new multi-year sporting partnership. A key aspect of the new collaboration is the establishment of the ‘AbbVie Academy’ which will support the development of youth soccer in the northwest region. The new agreement also sees the company become match shirt sponsor of the U20 boys and U19 girls academy teams.

This company’s collaboration with the supporter-owned Sligo League of Ireland club reflects AbbVie’s support of local communities and sports organisations. The project will help the club raise identify and develop emerging talent in the region. AbbVie is also the main sponsor of Sligo GAA and LGFA senior football teams.

The company has two plants in Sligo, one in Ballytivnan and the other on the Manorhamilton Road, employing more than 500 people in total. Many of the company’s Sligo employees are keen supporters of the club and already involved in grassroots activities and the development of the game.

Commenting on the new agreement, Georges El Damaa, Site Director at AbbVie Manorhamilton Road, Sligo said: “We are pleased to officially announce the launch of our partnership with Sligo Rovers. We take pride in supporting an organisation that aligns with our dedication to the community and our emphasis on inclusivity. Together, we will empower young people to achieve their full potential.”

Michael Gallagher, Site Director at AbbVie Ballytivnan, Sligo welcomed the new partnership and said: “We are excited to work alongside Sligo Rovers in identifying and nurturing emerging talent. We look forward to a successful and impactful partnership that will benefit individuals, the wider local community and the sport in general.”

Andy Feakins, CEO of Sligo Rovers, said: “Sligo Rovers FC are excited to have AbbVie as one of our Diamond Partners. With this partnership, the company are supporting ‘The AbbVie Academy’ at The Showgrounds. The Academy is where identified young male and female talent, from 14 to 20, hone their skills under the tutelage of experienced coaches. The ’AbbVie Academy’ will also be utilised by the wider football community. We will offer sporting programmes, education, training and fun to a wide variety of children and adults via our newly launched Community Initiative, overseen by our Football Social Responsibility Officer.

“As a community club partnering with this highly reputable global brand, we will jointly support development of youth and adults across a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds for the betterment of individuals and the region.”

Match Report: Women’s v Shamrock Rovers

SLIGO ROVERS 1, SHAMROCK ROVERS 4

BY CONALL COLLIER

Sligo Rovers continue to seek their first Women’s Premier Division (WPD) win of the season following Saturday night’s reversal against Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

This was a contest that produced a contrasting performance in each half from the Bit O’Red, with a positive opening 45 minutes as Tommy Hewitt’s side hit the front midway through the half but conceded an equaliser in added time.

After the resumption, the Dublin women generally dictated and managed two well-taken goals that were sandwiched between their own goals, and that was sufficient to seal the victory.

The Sligo Rovers manager made a couple of changes from the previous week’s game against the DLR Waves, as Alice Lillie and Kelly Crompton came into the starting lineup with Katie Melly and Kelsey Monroe omitted.

The opening exchanges were played at a frantic pace with chances at each end, but the hosts required a couple of smart saves from Amber Hardy after 14 and 18 minutes to deny Aine O’Gorman and Stephanie Zambra.

However, the Dublin side conceded midway through the opening half when Sarah Kiernan climbed highest in the penalty area to direct a header past Summer Lawless.

Soon after, Jodie Loughrey won possession about 25 yards out and unleashed a fine effort that went narrowly over.

The Dublin women upped the tempo and pushed for an equaliser that eventually arrived in the second minute of added time when Joy Ralph powered a Stephanien Zambra cross to the net to leave it 1-1 at the interval.

The Dublin women maintained a high tempo after the resumption and forged ahead for 52 minutes through Aine O’Gorman. Further pressure yielded a third goal when a cross from the left took a deflection off of Sarah Kiernan for a 3-1 advantage.

The Bit O’Red once again lacked nothing in terms of effort but never looked like clawing back the deficit despite the efforts of Emma Doherty, Jodie, Keri Loughrey, and Muireann Devaney.

The fourth goal duly materialised in the 82nd minute when Joy Ralph added to her tally, and it took a superb save from Amber Hardy ahead of the final whistle to deny Aine O’Goirman her second goal of the game.

Sligo Rovers: Amber Hardy, Sarah Kiernan, Leah Kelly, Keeva Flynn, Alice Lillie, Eimear Lafferty, Kelly Crompton, Muireann Devaney, Keri Loughrey, Emma Doherty, and Jodie Loughrey. 

Subs: Paula McGrory for Kelly and Cara King for Crompton, both 60 minutes, and Anna McDaniel for Lafferty, 68 minutes.

Shamrock Rovers: Summer Lawless; Jessica Hennessy, Maria Reynolds, Aoife Kelly, Stephanie Zambra, Lia O’Leary, Aine O’Gorman, Joy Ralph, Scarlett Herron, Melissa O’Kane, and Katie O’Reilly. 

Subs: Shauna Fox for O’Reilly and Ella Kelly for Hennessy, both 75 minutes; Alannah Prizeman for O’Kane and Fiona Owens for O’Leary, both 86 minutes; Lauren Kelly for Ralph, 87 minutes.

Referee: Paudie Hayes.

Rovers fall short in Oriel

Sligo Rovers go into the mid-season break on the back of a narrow one goal defeat to Dundalk at Oriel Park. 

Daryl Horgan struck for the game’s only goal in the second half as Rovers were beaten for the second game running. 

The Bit O’Red did have chances. Ellis Chapman tested Lilywhites goalkeeper Sean Molloy on 20 minutes, the closest the visitors came to finding the net in this one.

Horgan struck for what proved to be the winner on 54 minutes. Ryan O’Kane’s counter run and pass inside finding former Rovers and Ireland winger Horgan who tucked the ball beyond Ed McGinty.

Rovers face into a two week break now, with our next game coming on Friday 28th June against Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds. Kick-off 7.45pm. 

Dundalk: Sean Molloy; Archie Davies, Zak Johnson, Andy Boyle, Zak Bradshaw; Hayden Muller, Paul Doyle, Robbie Benson (John Mountney 72); Ryan O’Kane (Eoin Kenny 77), Cameron Elliott (Sam Durrant 78), Daryl Horgan.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; JR Wilson, Charlie Wiggett, Ollie Denham, Reece Hutchinson; Niall Morahan, Connor Malley (Stefan Radosavljevic 87); Fabrice Hartmann, Ellis Chapman, Will Fitzgerald (Owen Elding 62); Kailin Barlow (Wilson Waweru 62).

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Team News: Away v Dundalk

Sligo Rovers travel cross country for the second time in six days this Thursday as the Bit O’Red face Dundalk at Oriel Park, kick-off 7.45pm.

Looking to recover from a disappointing defeat in Waterford last Friday, Rovers will return to the scene where they put five past the Lilywhites without reply in early March. Braces from Max Mata and Ellis Chapman along with a Fabrice Hartmann strike saw Sligo record one of their biggest results on the road in recent times.  

Dundalk then took a point from the Showgrounds in April following a 1-1 draw, Fabrice Hartmann with Rovers’ goal that day.

John Russell’s men go to County Louth without the injured Conor Reynolds, John Mahon, Nando Pijnaker and Simon Power. Although both Pijnaker and Power have returned to light training. 

Stefan Radosavljevic is back in contention having missed the trip to the RSC. Radosavljevic played the majority of Faroe Islands’ Baltic Cup semi-final defeat to Estonia in Tallinn on Saturday and also took part in the friendly defeat to Latvia on Tuesday. 

There is further good news for Russell who has both Daire Patton and Kyle McDonagh to choose from after both players completed their leaving certificate examinations. 

Speaking ahead of the game, Russell said: “We are really keen to pick up a good result in Dundalk, particularly given where both teams are in the table and the fact that we are heading into the summer break after this game. We want to go into the break in a good frame of mind and with a good result behind us at Oriel Park. 

“We have a few players coming back after the mid-season break which is a huge positive for us.It would be great to come back after the break, facing into the Shamrock Rovers game with a few bodies returned and with a good result from Oriel Park in our back pocket.  

“We had an off night in the RSC last week, especially in the second half where we gave away a few poor goals. So this Thursday, in Dundalk is the perfect opportunity to right a few wrongs and get back on track.” 

Disappointing night in Waterford for Rovers

A heavily depleted Sligo Rovers suffered their first defeat in four games as they were beaten by Waterford at the RSC.

Without nine members of the first team squad through injury, an international call-up and state exams, the Bit O’Red were unable to name a full bench.

Former Rovers man Padraig Amond netted twice, while goals for Connor Parsons and Ben McCormack supplemented the result for the Blues. Wilson Waweru struck a magnificent mid-air volley for Sligo’s consolation.

Without John Mahon, Nando Pijnaker, Simon Power and Conor Reynolds because of injuries and Stefan Radosavljevic due to a call up to the Faroe Islands’ squad, John Russell was also missing four players due to the leaving certificate. Namely Daire Patton, Kyle McDonagh, David Jonathan and Aiden Gabbidon.

Restricted by the personnel available to him, Russell made one change from the win over Drogheda. Owen Elding coming in for the afore mentioned Radosavljevic.

Despite the arduous cross-country journey to the south east, it was the visitors who started this game the stronger. Fabrice Hartmann in particular causing issues for Sam Sargeant’s defence early on.

 Waterford opened the scoring 24 minutes in. Ben McCormack firing an effort into the ground as the ball bounced over the unfortunate Ed McGinty.

Two became three on the hour when Grant Horton’s ball forward was met by Parsons who arrowed the ball past the diving McGinty after the goalkeeper had pulled off a number of superb saves to keep Rovers in this game.

Amond had his first and the hosts’ third on 67 when he slotted home from the spot.

Waweru pulled one back with a stunning volley but Amond confirmed the result late on when he headed home a McCormack cross.

Rovers’ next game comes on Thursday June 13th, Oriel Park the venue as we take on Dundalk at 7.45pm.

Waterford: Sam Sargeant; Darragh Power, Grant Horton, Rowan McDonald (Niall O’Keeffe 73), Ben McCormack (Gbemi Arubi 89), Padraig Amond, Connor Parsons (Connor Evans 89), Darragh Leahy (Ryan Burke 81), Kacper Radkowski, Christie Pattisson, Dean McMenamy (Robbie McCourt 81).

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; John Ross Wilson, Reece Hutchinson, Ellis Chapman, Charlie Wiggett, Niall Morahan, Fabrice Hartmann, Oliver Denham, Conor O’Malley, Kailin Barlow (Wilson Waweru 73), Owen Elding (Will Fitzgerald 63).

Referee: Neil Doyle

Team News: v Waterford Away

Sligo Rovers travel to Waterford as one of the Premier Division’s form teams as the Bit O’Red make the long journey to the RSC this Friday for the second time this season, kick off 7.45pm.

Following back-to-back wins over Shelbourne and Drogheda United and having picked up eight points from their last five games, Rovers travel to take on the Blues full of confidence and knowing victory would take them level on points with Keith Long’s side who currently occupy fourth spot.

Rovers will be without a number of players for Friday’s game. Nando Pijnaker, John Mahon and Simon Power are each continuing on their road to recovery. While Stefan Radosavljevic is part of the Faroe Islands squad who take on Estonia in the Baltics Cup semi-final on Saturday in Tallinn and will miss the game.

Conor Reynolds also misses out as he recovers from an injury picked up in that win over Shels while all players taking part in state exams will be unavailable. These include Daire Patton, Kyle McDonagh, David Jonathan and Aiden Gabbidon. 

Rovers have already picked up three points in the south east this year. Ellis Chapman netted the game’s only goal in a win for Sligo down at the RSC in May. While Waterford returned the favour at the Showgrounds in May, Christie Pattison scoring on that occasion. 

Looking ahead to the game, Rovers boss John Russell said: “We picked up two great results over the June Bank Holiday weekend. But those games are done now and although it gives us something to build on, we must focus on a difficult game at the RSC.

“Both sides have already beaten each other in the other club’s home ground so we’re expecting it to be a tight encounter once again as neither team really dominated in either game. 

“We’ll be without a handful of players due to injuries, international call-ups and exams. But that’s the way it goes and you’ve got to be able to deal with these things as they come along. 

“We wish our young players sitting exams the best of luck and we’ll see them back once they are finished.” 

Article – The late Aidan Mannion honoured in Showgrounds ceremony

A new exhibit has been unveiled at the Showgrounds outdoor museum depicting the lifetime of service to the Club by the late Aidan Mannion. The ceremony was held on Bank Holiday Monday and was attended by Aidan’s wife Dympna and members of her family, Mayor Councillor Declan Bree officiated at the unveiling. Rovers Chairman Tommy Higgins made a special presentation to the Mannion family pitch-side at half time as a token of the Club’s appreciation.

In his address the Mayor said ‘Sligo Rovers has a special place in our community, and Aidan Mannion certainly had a special place in Sligo Rovers. He served Sligo Rovers in many capacities: member of the management committee, dedicated volunteer, and at the time of his untimeIy passing, he was Chair of Rovers Heritage Group and treasurer of the Showgrounds Board of Trustees.

Inspirational

Aidan had an unrivalled knowledge of the Club’s history, and an

infectious optimism for the club’s future. He was an inspirational character who earned the loyalty and trust of his wide circle of friends. It is fitting that the Heritage Group he Chaired are preserving and treasuring Aidan’s memory by erecting an exhibit in his honour in the Showgrounds Museum. While Aidan was mostly known for his loyalty to Sligo Rovers, this was only one facet of a full and fascinating life. He had a lifelong passion for local history and heritage, and for many years was a

valued member of Sligo Field Club.

Celebration

His passing was a great loss to his colleagues in Sligo

Rovers, but first and foremost our thoughts are with his wife

Dympna and family. While this ceremony is tinged with sadness, it is very much a celebration of a life of dedicated service to club and community.’

Legacy

The Mayor concluded his address by emphasising the importance of maintaining Aidan’s legacy: ‘The exhibit we unveil today will be visited and studied many times over the years to come, and I have no doubt that Aidan’s legacy will continue to energise and inspire future generations of Sligo Rovers supporters.’

Sligo Rovers Chairman Tommy Higgins recounted the many ways in which Aidan had helped the Club over the years. He said Aidan’s welcoming smile when he took up his favourite spot in the Showgrounds was a match night experience that would live long in the memory.

Generosity

Aidan’s wife Dympna confirmed that his passion for Rovers knew no bounds, but recalled examples of his kindness and generosity to people outside football who needed a helping hand. She also relayed stories of his trips to see the Irish soccer team play in two World Cup tournaments.

Aidan’s son Ross said his father’s love of history, heritage and community combined in his commitment to Sligo Rovers and the Showgrounds, and thanked the many people who had turned up to honour Aidan’s memory on this special day for the Mannion family.

Sligo Rovers Heritage Group

Rovers round off weekend with another win

Sligo Rovers 2 – 1 Drogheda United

Sligo Rovers rounded off a great bank holiday weekend for the club with a win over Drogheda United at the Showgrounds. A Mathew O’Brien own-goal was followed up by a Connor Malley strike which had Rovers well on their way. 

Drogs did make things somewhat uncomfortable for Rovers in the second half when former player Jack Keaney halved the deficit just moments after the re-start. However, the Bit O’Red, who announced the signing of winger Stephen Mallon at half-time, held on for a valuable win which follows up last Friday’s defeat of league leaders Shelbourne. 

The Louth side passed up three good chances to register a goal in the first 45. But were left chasing the game 18 minutes in when Stefan Radosavljevic’s free-kick was pushed on to his crossbar by Drogs goalkeeper Andrew Wogan. Malley’s subsequent follow up came off the unfortunate O’Brien who turned the ball into his own net. 

Evan Weir and Steve Bawa both missed chances for the visitors before Rovers doubled their lead on 43. 

Malley volleyed home after Drogheda failed to deal with Kailin Barlow’s set-piece from the Sligo left. 

Kevin Doherty’s half-time team talk did the trick as Keaney fired the away side back into contention with a clinical finish less than 40 seconds into the second half. While Bawa again went close a few minutes later as the Showgrounds stressed. 

Fabrice Hartmann could have relieved that stress mid-way through the second half. The German was tracked down by a Drogheda defender after he looked like he might meet Wogan one-on-one. But he passed up the opportunity only for the ball to return to him unmarked, ten yards from goal. The RB Leipzig loanee however, fired narrowly over.

Drogheda substitute Warren Davis had two late chances as they scrapped in vain for an equaliser. His first effort was easily swallowed up by McGinty eleven minutes from time while his second attempt three minutes from time lacked the power as he looked to place his shot towards the top corner. 

The result sees Rovers move nine points clear of the relegation play-off spot.. 

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; JR Wilson, Charlie Wiggett, Ollie Denham, Reece Hutchinson; Niall Morahan, Connor Malley, Ellis Chapman; Fabrice Hartmann (Owen Elding 81), Stefan Radosavljevic (Wilson Waweru 56); Kailin Barlow (Will Fitzgerald 66). 

Drogheda United: Andy Wogan; Luke Heeney (Killian Cailloce 86), Andy Quinn, Jack Keaney, Conor Kane (Warren Davis 60); Steve Bawa, Matthew O’Brien, Oisin Gallagher, Evan Weir; Ryan Brennan; Frantz Pierrot (Adam Foley 66). 

Referee: Marc Lynch.

Attendance: 2,167.

David Goulden

Stephen Mallon signs for Rovers

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce the signing of winger Stephen Mallon on an 18 month deal. The Belfast native joins the Bit O’Red after a spell at local side Cliftonville and has signed a pre-contract to join up with Rovers on July 1 subject to international transfer clearance. 

The former Republic of Ireland underage international, who plays on either wing or as a full back, began his career at Sheffield United after spells with schoolboy sides Donegal Celtic and Olliver Plunkett’s. The 25-year-old then spent some time in the Australian A League before moving on to Derry City for a loan spell. 

In 2021, Mallon left the Blades to join Bohs where he spent two seasons before moving back home to Solitude and to Cliftonville where he recently won the Irish Cup. 

The 25-year-old was introduced to Sligo Rovers supporters at half-time during the home game against Drogheda United and speaking earlier today, said he is looking forward to getting going with the Bit O’Red.  

 “I knew from speaking to John that Sligo is where I want to be. The way he spoke about the club, his plans. I just really wanted to sign once he had filled me in as it really suits me”, he said.

Having previously played at the Showgrounds for both Derry and Bohs, Mallon knows what to expect from a passionate Rovers following. Although strangely enough, his first taste of the venue was an FAI Cup quarter-final tie in November 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic. A fixture, against Derry, which was played behind closed doors.  

“It was in the cup where there were no fans allowed during COVID so it was surreal”, he recalls.  

“It’s a great stadium and I played there again in front of supporters for Bohs and saw what the atmosphere was like. It’s one of the best stadiums in the country so I’m really looking forward to getting out there.

Mallon kept a keen eye on what’s going on south of the border during his time back home in Belfast. The wide man has seen enough to convince him Rovers are good enough to finish the season strongly. 

“I know what to expect from the opposition. You know what to expect when the likes of a Shamrock Rovers or a Bohs come up here. A lot of players in this league have stayed here and gone from team to team so I’ll have already played against a lot of the players in teams we’ll face. 

“I’ve always kept an eye on the league and it’s wide open. We’re eighth at the moment but we’re not far off fourth and last week’s win over Shels was massive. We’re only half way through the season and everything is still there to play for.”   

Speaking about his new signing, Rovers boss John Russell says Mallon is a player who will fit in well to the way the team already plays.

“I’m delighted he’s signed. I’ve been tracking Stephen’s progress for a long time now and he is someone I have always admired. 

“He has real pace and power and I feel he will fit in very well to our system and our way of play. 

“We want players who can make a real difference from dangerous positions in the final third. Stephen is someone who can take the game to opposition defenders and excite supporters. Our staff and squad are all looking forward to getting to work with him.” 

David Goulden

Team News: Home v Drogheda United

Sligo Rovers will look to continue their good recent form when Drogheda United visit the Showgrounds for a bank holiday Monday Premier Division clash, kick-off 5pm.

The Bit O’Red have only been beaten once in the last five games with wins over St Pat’s and league leaders Shelbourne along with a draw away to title chasing Derry City the highlights of recent weeks.  

This will be the third time the teams have faced each other this year with both sides already recording wins against the other on their own turf. Rovers beat Drogs by three goals to one back in March at the Showgrounds, while Drogs recorded the same scoreline in defeating Sligo at Weaver’s Park a month later. 

In team news, John Mahon, Nando Pijnaker and Simon Power remain unavailable. While defender Conor Reynolds will miss out following an injury picked up in that win in Drumcondra. Both Will Fitzgerald and Reece Hutchinson will face late fitness tests. 

Charlie Wiggett returns from a one game ban having missed the trip to Shels. 

On the back of that recent upturn in form, Rovers boss John Russell has called on the Sligo community to come out in numbers as the Rovers face into what he has described as ‘one of the biggest games of the season’. 

“We need our supporters coming out in force on Monday to get right behind the team from the very start”, he said. 

“It’s easy to fill the ground at home when you’re facing the likes of a Motherwell or Viking but this game is more important. This is one of our biggest games so far this year. 

“This is a club built on the blood, sweat and tears of the fans and we need every one of them to make their way to the Showgrounds. This group of players are fighting for the badge and I know they relish playing in front of a packed out Showgrounds. We need everyone to play their part tomorrow evening.”