Rovers record first home league win of the season




Sligo Rovers scored four goals for the first time in the Women’s Premier Division and that helped them to a first home win of the season with an impressive performance against Bohemian FC this evening, writes Conall Collier.

Two second-half goals from Paula McGrory and one each in the opening 45 minutes by Keri Loughrey and Sarah Kiernan paved the way to victory with Lynn Craven briefly giving the visitors a lifeline with a speculative 65th minute strike that made it 2-1.

This was the first of three successive home games for the Bit O’Red with bottom-of-the-table Cork City due to visit the Showgrounds next Saturday ahead of an eagerly-awaited FAI Cup semi-final against Athlone Town on Saturday 14th October.

While this was an encouraging performance this evening, manager Steve Feeney will now concentrate on keeping the players focused solely on the next game.

However, after going through a campaign that produced one WPD win out of the previous 15 outings, it certainly looks as if the lessons that were dispensed in some of those encounters have moulded the team into a more solid outfit.

The return of Lauren Boles, Emma Hansberry and Paula McGrory is also a factor and two wins in-a-row will also boost the confidence of the players.

Sligo Rovers made the best possible start and had the ball in the back of the Bohemian FC net after only six minutes when Keri Loughrey finished well.

Emma Hansberry had a shot well saved by Rachael Kelly soon after and the hosts remained in the ascendancy without too much difficulty.

Jodi Loughrey was involved in many positive moves for the Bit O’Red, but there was a fortuitous second goal when Sarah Kiernan’s 30th minute corner looped into the net for a 2-0 advantage.

That prompted the Dublin women into action and they created three good chances late in the half through Katherine Malone with two efforts and Katie Lovely.

Both sides went in search of goals in the second-half and Sligo Rovers lost Leah Kelly when she was hit with the ball and had to be assisted from the pitch close to the hour mark with Paula McGrory deputising.

The Dublin women got back into the game briefly when Lynn Craven scored a delightful goal with a speculative effort from distance that looped over Bonnie McKiernan.

Sligo Rovers weathered the storm and more or less sealed the victory when McCrory found the net from a Katie Melly pass with 12 minutes remaining.

Emma Doherty then brought a good save out of Rachael Kelly, but the Bohs ‘keeper had to pick the ball out of the net again in the 86th minute when McGrory claimed her second goal of the evening to wrap up a comprehensive victory.

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

Subs – Keeva Flynn for Kiernan 52 mins, Paula McGrory for Kelly 56m, Katie Melly for Howe 62m, Ciara Henry for Hansberry and Jessica Casey for J Loughrey both 88m.

Bohemian FC – Rachael Kelly; Lynn Craven, Katie Burdis, Lisa Murphy, Ciara Maher, Fiona Donnelly, Kira Bates-Crosbie, Mia Dodd, Katie Lovely, Katherine Malone, Rachel McGrath.

Subs – Niamh Prior for McGrath and Abbie O’Hara for Bates-Crosbie both 59 mins, Anna Hegarty for Dodd and Sadhbh Moran for Burdis both 88m.

Referee – Michael Connolly.

Assistant-referees – Ciaran O’Reilly, Richard Storey.

Fourth Official – John McLoughlin.

Preview: Strong squad for Rovers for Dalymount clash

Sligo Rovers are looking to make it three wins in succession when facing Bohemians in Dalymount Park on Friday night.

The Bit O’ Red recorded SSE Airtricity League Premier Division victories over UCD and Derry City so far this month.


The games so far this season have yielded two wins for Bohs and one for Rovers.

Kailin Barlow, Max Mata and Stefan Radosavljevic scored the goals for Rovers in The Showgrounds win – one of the best of the season for John Russell’ side.

In team news Fabrice Hartmann and John Mahon have overcome injury. Hartmann missed out last week while Mahon was forced off at half-time. Both are available for selection.

Will Fitzgerald has also made significant progress in his recovery and could be involved in the next matchday squad in three weeks’ time.

Mark Byrne and Gary Boylan are the only two absentees, meaning Russell has the most options available in any game this season.

The Rovers boss said: “It is brilliant that nearly all of our players are available. We made five substitutions in the win over Derry, something we haven’t been able to do a lot of the time this season.

“Everyone made an impact and I thought was evident on the night. We had firepower to bring off the bench and it made a real difference. Stefan got the goal of course and I feel every player made a big contribution all over the pitch.

“I thought the players were excellent. They fed off the crowd who were superb as well and it was a great win over a strong Derry side.

“Bohs have a very good home record so this will be another difficult game. They’re going for Europe and have had a good season.  We’re going there with confidence after back-to-back wins which is something we wanted.

“There is still hurting there though. It’s not just a case of picking up a win or two and being happy with it.

“There is five games to go and we’re in control of what we do from now to the end of the season to get as many points as we can and as many big performances as we can.

“They’re tough games and you see in this league how hard it is to win every week. It has to be our target to keep it going.

“We have to win as many as we can and keep improving in terms of the levels we reach.

“The players have trained well again and we go there looking for three points.“

Preview: Rovers women face Bohs on Saturday in Showgrounds

By Conall Collier

The first of three big games over the next three weekends at the Showgrounds for Sligo Rovers starts with the visit of a Bohemian FC team on Saturday, kick-off 5pm.

Bohs currently sit in fifth position in the league, 16 points adrift of Women’s Premier Division (WPD) leaders Peamount United.

After Saturday’s encounter Bohemian FC will have three fixtures remaining against Wexford, Shelbourne and Treaty United and will be aiming to finish the season on a positive note, starting with this encounter in Sligo.

From that perspective, they will view this as a must-win game if a top four finish is to be achieved, but they will also want to make amends for the FAI Cup quarter-final reversal a fortnight ago.

Contrast that to the WPD form that Sligo Rovers take into this game – one victory and a draw from 15 outings has the Bit O’Red anchored in 10th place, two points ahead of Cork City and four points adrift of the Limerick side.

Similar statistics were applicable two weeks ago when Sligo Rovers travelled to Dalymount Park for that FAI Cup quarter-final against Bohemian FC and produced the shock-of-the-round with a sensational 1-0 victory to earn a place in the last four.

Buoyed by what was a thoroughly merited victory at the Phibsboro’ venue, Sligo Rovers will approach this encounter with an expectation that the team can put some much-needed points on the board.

Add into the mix that Cork City will visit the Showgrounds next weekend and then it will be the turn of Athlone Town for a FAI Cup semi-final showdown, plenty of reasons for the players to deliver a match-winning performance.

On that basis, Bohemian FC can expect another stern test as the Bit O’Red players will have set a goal of two wins ahead of that FAI Cup semi-final, but the attention for now will be focused solely on picking up three points.

On the last visit to the Showgrounds, Bohemian FC recorded a 3-1 Avenir Sports Cup victory in June, but it was a bizarre type of contest with a brace of first-half own goals boosting the Dublin women to a 2-0 interval lead.

Niamh Prior added a third goal early in the second-half to leave it comfortable for Bohemian FC, but the hosts were eventually rewarded on the scoreboard when Casey Howe converted a late penalty.

That victory made it six wins out of six for Bohemian FC against Sligo Rovers, but the Bit O’Red made a serious statement of intent with that 1-0 FAI Cup quarter-final success.

The sides went in scoreless at the interval at Dalymount after the Bit O’Red dominated the opening 45 minutes as Emma Doherty, Sarah Kiernan and Emma Hansberry all had chances, but it wasn’t all one-way traffic.

Sligo Rovers ‘keeper Bonnie McKiernan produced a flying save that denied Rachel Doyle for the hosts.

Steve Feeney’s side started the second-half on the front foot with Hansberry, Boles and Doherty all going close before the hosts had a chance from Lynn Craven.

The all-important goal arrived 13 minutes from time when Jodie Loughrey’s shot deflected to the net off Emma Hansberry, but the Dublin women had a chance soon after that was narrowly wide.

Central to the victory for Sligo Rovers was a solid defensive performance with Lauren Boles dictating a lot of the play, but another tight encounter is anticipated.

Kick-off at the Showgrounds is at 5pm. Tickets are available at turnstiles and the game is also on LOITV.

Jim Lynch RIP

Sligo Rovers wish to offer our condolences to the family of Jim Lynch following his passing on Friday.

Jim travelled the length and breadth of the country to follow his beloved Bit O’ Red.

No journey was too long or game too small, Jim was always present home and away and enjoyed countless conversations with other Bit o’ Red fans.

His dedication to support Rovers was immense throughout the decades of his life and we will sorely miss him at each game and indeed every Rovers occasion.

We offer our condolences to his wife Mary and his sons and daughters Ian, Karina and Jacqueline and all of the Lynch family at this sad time.

Rovers down Derry as Rado strikes late

Substitute Stefan Radosavljevic netted for the Bit O’Red’s to pick up a vital three points for Sligo Rovers against Derry City on Friday night.

Ruaidhri Higgins’ charges finished with 10 men after Ronan Boyce was sent off late on having picked up a second yellow card.

On their way to back-to-back wins for the first time in over a year and the points that would further pull his side away from relegation worries, Rovers boss John Russell made one change from their first win in seven last week over UCD, Johan Brannefalk coming in for Fabrice Hartmann.

City, hoping to keep pace with leaders Shamrock Rovers, were forced into one change. Shane McEleney, dismissed during their recent draw with the Hoops, was replaced by Ciaran Coll in the heart of defence.

In an opening half which lacked creativity and cutting edge from either camp, it took almost 20 minutes for either goalkeeper to be called into action, although Brian Maher will have faced tougher tests as he easily gathered Rovers skipper David Cawley’s effort from distance in the 19th minute.

Derry’s recent record by the Garavogue has been patchy at best, with their last win in Sligo coming back in August 2021. The Foylesiders were back at the venue their 2022 title challenge ended with defeat to Sligo.

Their first attempt at goal arrived just short of the half-hour when veteran goalkeeper Richard Brush produced a two-handed save to keep out Danny Mullen’s pot-shot on the turn.

The same player could only fire wide from close range moments later, although the very presence of Rovers’ Niall Morahan may have done enough to put the Scottish striker off.

Visiting netminder Maher remained an onlooker for the remainder of the first period as the Showgrounds looked for a moment of class to provide the spark to a drab affair.

Sligo’s Greg Bolger’s ambitious first-time volley was the closest the hosts came to an opener when he skewed a volley wide of Maher’s posts on 38 minutes. This, after trojan work in the corner from captain Cawley, who provided the cross for the opportunity.

Rovers’ Portuguese striker Pedro Martelo fashioned an early shot on goal in the early moments of the second half, with Maher comfortably keeping hold of the former Benfica man’s scuffed effort.

Brush again denied Mullen in the 52nd minute at the far end when the Derry striker released a teasing shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area, with the 38-year-old Brush pulling off an impressive save to keep the ball in play as this tie showed signs of really opening up.

Martelo was inches away from his first League of Ireland goal on the next attack after he connected well with Reece Hutchinson’s pull back, with the striker left perplexed when his low drive crept past Maher’s post.

Bolger again speculated on the volley from outside the box on the hour as Rovers took to the front foot, but once more Maher was not for beating.

The visiting bench were left incensed in the 72nd minute when Brush crashed into Cian Kavanagh eight yards from his goal-line as the Derry substitute chased down a ball forward from the City defence. Referee Rob Harvey ignored claims of any wrongdoing on Brush’s part.

Derry’s game-plan was thrown into chaos 10 minutes from time when Boyce, on his 100th appearance under Higgins, was shown a second yellow after he attempted to stop a quick Sligo throw-in.

But things got even worse for the FAI Cup holders on 84 minutes.

City’s rearguard switched off for a moment, allowing the unmarked Radosavljevic – possibly with the aid of his hand – to bundle Hutchinson’s cross past Maher from six yards out, with referee Robert Harvey waving away Derry City’s subsequent protests.

Rovers’ Faroese striker could have settled this game three minutes from time but Radosavljevic skied Kailin Barlow’s cross over Maher’s crossbar from point-blank range.

But one goal was enough

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Niall Morahan (Stefan Radosavljevic 79), John Mahon (Nando Pijnaker HT), Garry Buckley, Reece Hutchinson; Greg Bolger (Lukas Browning 79), David Cawley; Johan Brannefalk (Frank Liivak 55), Robbie Burton (Kailin Barlow 63), Karl O’Sullivan; Pedro Martelo.

Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce, Ciaran Coll, Cameron McJannett, Ben Doherty (Brandon Kavanagh 87); Sadou Diallo (Cameron Dummigan 69), Will Patching; Paul McMullan (Jordan McEneff 83), Adam O’Reilly, Michael Duffy; Danny Mullen (Cian Kavanagh 69).

Referee: Rob Harvey.

Attendance: 2.491.

Match Information: Derry City (H)

We host Derry City tonight at 7.45pm at The Showgrounds in our next League game.

We outline all our Match Night information below:


Turnstiles open from 6.30pm.

All Children Under 12 must be accompanied by a paying adult. This is non-negotiable and it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure their children are accompanied arriving to The Showgrounds and throughout the night.

All Children over the age of 12 must enter via the last turnstile on the left hand side which will be sign posted. This new turnstile is for Juveniles only and here they must pay €12 as per Category One fixture rules.

Please have your tickets ready for scanning to ensure a smooth and quick entry process. Any duplicate tickets will be refused and may lead to stadium bans for those in possession of one. Tickets will only scan once.


Seating is first come, first served in all areas of the ground. Seats with names on them must be respected as these are Gold Season Ticket members who have paid for their seat to be reserved all season. Anyone found sitting in a seat that is not theirs will be asked to move. While this game is not valid for season tickets, we ask that you do not sit in a seat with someone’s name on it.


Members of our security team will carry out on the spot checks on bags and persons entering the ground. Alcohol and Pyrotechnics are not allowed and will be confiscated on entry. We ask supporters to please help the club in this regard and refrain from attempting to get in with any prohibited items.


CCTV is again in operation throughout the evening using our CCTV system. The system was instrumental in the club being able to utilise footage from previous anti-social behaviour and, in turn issue this to Gardai and serve stadium bans to some supporters. Security personnel and An Garda Siochaina will be monitoring the system and anyone found to be behaving in a way which contravenes our ground rules will be removed and banned from attending future games.

Car Parking:

There are limited spaces available at The Showgrounds astro turf car park. This will be closed once full, which is expected to be early in the evening. Supporters should note the club have come to an agreement with Nazareth House for official Match Night use of their grounds which has over 200 parking spaces. There is a charge of €2, with proceeds towards the upkeep of their grounds.


Leave your flares at home. These are not wanted and anyone found with flares will be banned from attending future matches. These cause needless fines for the club, money which is raised by our volunteers and fellow supporters.


It is an offence to enter the field of play at any stage. This includes children. It is parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure children do not encroach on the pitch at any time.

All are welcome.

Match Tickets are still available here: . This is a Category One fixture with prices for Adults at €20, OAP and Student and Over 12’s at €12 and Children under 12 €5.

Academy Weekend Preview: September 23rd-24th

It’s another busy weekend at Academy level this weekend between Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Our Under 17 Men’s side take on Bray Wanderers away from home on Saturday. The game takes place in Greystones at 3pm. Rovers are second in the group table, two points off leaders Bohemians with Bray back in fifth place.

Our Under 14 side take on Drogheda United away from home at Walshestown FC grounds. The game starts at 3pm also.

On Sunday we have two home games taking place against Longford Town at Under 15 and 19 level.

First up, our Under 15’s host De Town at 12 Noon at The Sean Fallon Centre in the League. Rovers are currently in seventh place in the group, six points ahead of Sunday’s opposition.

Our Under 19 Men’s game takes place from 3pm at The Sean Fallon Centre. Rovers are top of the group as things stand ahead of second placed Dundalk by one point, with Bray Wanderers four points behind in third.

There are no Women’s fixtures this weekend due to International games taking place.

Preview: Rovers take on Derry on Friday night

Sligo Rovers take on Derry City on Friday night in The Showgrounds as the Bit O’ Red look to make it back to back victories.

The Bit O’ Red have played out close games with the Candystripes this season, taking three points in the last home game through Will Fitzgerald, a point in a 1-1 away draw and a narrow 2-1 defeat thanks to a Will Patching injury-time penalty.

Rovers notched a 2-0 victory over UCD last week, now currently sitting in eighth in the table.

There are just three home matches left in the season for Rovers with no home game after Friday for a month.

The next home game is Friday 20 October against Dundalk so we encourage supporters to attend on Friday if possible on a big night for the club.

In team news, Mark Byrne, Gary Boylan and Will Fitzgerald remain out with long-term injuries.

Manager John Russell said: “It’s brilliant to have another home game. It was a positive night last week getting the three points.

““I thought we were fully deserving of the win last week, it was great to get two goals, it could have had a couple more and we kept a clean sheet. We want to build on that. It was a different type of performance from us and I was happy with it overall.

“The games against Derry have been very close. They’re a really good side of course and we’ve done well against them this year, albeit we could have got more out of the games.

“We’ll bring a game plan into Friday and we come into it with the confidence from last week.

“There was a spring in the step of the players this week on the back of getting a win. It was a good time for the club overall so to be back in The Showgrounds is great.

“The support we have had was fantastic, we’ve got three more nights here and we want to make them count.

“We know they’ll be behind us and we want to give them something to shout about early on.”

Tickets are available at turnstiles using cash or via card.

Friday also marks the final day for our outgoing CEO Colin Feehily, the club look forward to marking his many years of outstanding service with the Bit O’ Red.