Keaney magic beats Shams

Jack Keaney’s superb second half set piece settled the tie as an in-form Sligo Rovers beat Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Following a scoreless first half, it was Daryl Fordyce who opened his Sligo account with a special effort on 55 minutes.

Aaron Greene replied with his own piece of magic eleven minutes later, but it was youngster Keaney who settled the tie with a 35 yard free kick on 74 minutes.

In a game which produced three wonderful goals, it was Sligo who created the best of the early opportunities.

Regan Donelon had Alan Mannus worried just three minutes in when his volley flashed past the post less than three minutes in.

While the sun seemed to startle the Hoops net minder when he fumbled Fordyce’s header from Donelon’s searching cross.

The former Linfiel man relying on his defence to clear the danger at the second call.

Stephen Bradley’s men when settled, began to find space and runners in front of the Sligo back line.

Ronan Finn’s superb cross-field ball found Greene who managed to get a low drive off. But Sligo goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney did enough to block the effort away with his legs.

Dylan Watts flashed an effort across the face of goal a quarter of an hour in as the Dubliners continued to trouble on occasion.

Liam Buckley withdrew injured full-back Johnny Dunleavy mid-way through the half, but the switch didn’t affect Sligo in the short term.

Ronan Coughlan’s speculative effort from all of 35 yards, took a touch off a defender’s foot on its way over. Mannus left flat-footed as he watched the ball sail narrowly over the far side of his goal.

While David Cawley couldn’t keep his glancing header down after he beat his marker to another Donelon cross from the left.

Donelon was involved again six minutes into the second half when he stung the palms of Mannus with a long range drive.

But the stopper could do little about Sligo’s opener.

With nowhere to go, Coughlan pulled the ball back to Fordyce who curled a stunning 25 yard strike past Mannus’ reach.

The league leaders had their reply eleven minutes later.

Greene’s super close control allowed him to keep hold of Trevor Clarke’s cross, before the attacker executed a classy overhead kick to tie the contest.

But the westerners were back in the lead, settling the game on 74 with style.

Keaney, who scored a stunner in Dundalk on the opening night, did it again when he smacked his set piece from all of 35 yards beyond Mannus and into the top corner.

Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; John Mahon, Dante Leverock, Johnny Dunleavy (Kris Twardek 26); Lewis Banks, Regan Donelon; David Cawley, Jack Keaney; Daryl Fordyce (Niall Morahan 90); Romeo Parkes, Ronan Coughlan.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Trevor Clarke; Ronan Finn, Greg Bolger (Joel Coustrain 85); Dylan Watts (Dan Carr 77), Aaron McEneff, Jack Byrne; Aaron Greene. 

Referee: Graham Kelly.

Attendance: 2,053