Drennan bags brace in victory

Sligo Rovers claimed an impressive win over Limerick at the Markets Field on Friday

A brace from Mikey Drennan and a stunning strike from Raffaele Cretaro cancelled out Shane Duggan’s goal, as Ger Lyttle’s men ran out comfortable winners on the night.

Tommy Barrett stated in his programme notes that this game was a must-win. With the gap to Sligo Rovers at five points before the clash and Ger Lyttle’s men having a game in hand on the Blues, he was probably right.

He made wholesale changes for the FAI Cup tie against Cockhill Celtic – but his XI on the night consisted of two switches from their previous league game – a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Bohemians. Shaun Kelly and Darren Murphy made way for Kilian Cantwell and Eoin Wearen, who both missed the Dalymount Park clash through suspension.

Rovers made three changes from the XI that fell to Longford Town last weekend.

Cretaro and the suspended pair of David Cawley and Kyle Callan-McFadden missed out, with Seamus Sharkey, Kris Twardek and Adam Wixted replacing them.

Despite the significance of the tie, the opening 30 minutes played out like little more than a pre-season friendly. While Duggan was central to everything Limerick did, Rhys McCabe was at the centre of Sligo’s best passing moves.

So it fair to think that when McCabe limped off in the 31st minute that Sligo would lose their momentum. But the complete opposite transpired upon the introduction of Cretaro.

The League of Ireland veteran is just three weeks removed from his testimonial and based on his input in this tie, he could be around for another few years yet.

With just five minutes remaining in the opening half, Cretaro found space out wide. His right-wing cross was floated towards the six-yard box where Drennan was waiting to nod past Limerick ‘keeper Tommy Holland from close range.

It was Drennan’s first goal since his return to the league and he slid away in celebration – handing Sligo the lead at the break.

He wouldn’t have to wait long for his second, either.

Five minutes into the second half, he was taken down by Eoin Wearen before the striker took it upon himself to double the lead from the spot.

Duggan pulled one back for Limerick just ten minutes later, but a thunderbolt from Cretaro put the game to bed just three minutes after.