Rovers lose at home to Pat’s

Two first half goals saw St Patrick’s Athletic pick up their first points of the season against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Ronan Hale handed Pat’s the advantage on 26 minutes, while Chris Forrester doubled the lead ten minutes later for a Saints side who finished the game with ten men. Oliver Younger dismissed for a second yellow card mid-way through the second period.  

Having made four changes from their opening night defeat to Waterford, it was the visitors who threatened first.

Sligo did cause the Saints one or two early moments of worry, but once Pat’s settled, they were in control.

Hale saw his improvised effort take a touch off a Rovers defender after he hooked the ball goalwards from the left. This heralded some stiff pressure from Stephen O’Donnell’s side who hit the lead on 26 minutes.

Darragh Noone’s loose pass was pounced upon by Hale who unleashed a stunning drive from 20 yards past Ed McGinty.

Forrester was off target with an audacious effort from a set piece from a similar range on the half hour.

He was involved again on 35 minutes.

The attacker muscling Niall Morahan off the ball before linking up with James Doona who was denied by McGinty. The goalkeeper grabbing the ball from the feet of Doona as he prepared to shoot.

The Dubliners doubled their advantage nine minutes from the break.

Recent recruits Robbie Benson and Billy King were involved on the left as the latter found Forrester, who seized the opportunity, picking out the bottom corner on the turn from ten yards.

Pat’s almost had their third four minutes into the second half. A lapse in concentration from Kyle Callan-McFadden allowed King the chance to finish from close range. McGinty sparing his team-mate’s blushes as he spread himself, getting a stud to King’s placed attempt.

Forrester was next to go close just before the hour. McGinty scrambling to keep hold of the former Aberdeen man’s attempted lob as Pat’s looked to put this game to bed early on.

The home support were offered a glimmer of hope when Pat’s were reduced to ten on 68. Younger shown his second yellow after he tangled with substitute Jesse Devers.

The numerical advantage didn’t pay off however as the Inchicore side saw out the remainder of the game without much fuss. There was a late chance for Devers, but the Mayo man couldn’t come up with the touch he needed to half the deficit.  

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Teemu Penningkangas, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Will Seymore; Darragh Noone, Johnny Dunleavy (Scott Lynch 90); Niall Morahan, David Cawley, Garry Buckley; Ronan Murray (Jesse Devers HT); Ronan Coughlan.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely, Luke McNally, Oliver Younger, Ian Bermingham; Lee Desmond; Robbie Benson, Chris Forrester (Jamie Lennon 70); James Doona (Dean Clarke 58), Billy King; Ronan Hale (Martin Rennie 78).  

Referee:  Neil Doyle

Attendance: 2,145

Alex Cooper signs for Rovers

Sligo Rovers are thrilled to confirm the signing of defender Alex Cooper subject to international clearance. 

The 28-year-old signs from Fresno FC in the USL and joins the Bit O’ Red for the 2020 campaign.

The former Liverpool academy player played first-team football for a host of Scottish clubs including Ross County,  Falkirk, St Mirren and Inverness. 

He has enjoyed two good seasons at Fresno including a third place finish last year

Cooper can play numerous positions on the left side of defence as well as more ad advanced. 

Fresno folded following the 2019 season  with other US clubs were interested in his services. 

Liam Buckley said: “We’re pleased to bring in Alex today. He is an experienced defender who plays a number of positions on the left side. 

“Playing in England and Scotland is useful from our end and it won’t be too difficult for him to get to grips with the league. He’ll be involved as soon we can. 

“He’s got a great left foot and he’ll bring a lot of quality. It’s a major boost to get this signing completed at this time.”

Alex Cooper said: “I’m really excited to play football in Ireland and with Sligo.

“I found out about the interest from Sligo and while I could have stayed in the US, it suited me to come back closer to home with my family at this stage. 

“I spoke with some people I know in football they spoke highly of the league here. I’m able to play a few positions – I suppose predominately left-back now – but anywhere really on the left side. 

“I’ve been keeping fit and I’ll be ready to play when the manager wants me to. I can’t wait to get involved with everything.”

Buckley added: “We will be signing one more player. It’s nearly over the line, it’s an international signing so it takes some time. 

“I know we’ve been hit by injuries but when we get everyone fit we’ll have a very good squad. We’ll stick together and start on Friday night. Alex could be involved and we want The Showgrounds really behind us and we’ll look to get the performance to get the result.”

Preview: Rovers set for first home game

Sligo Rovers open their home season on Friday night when St Patrick’s Athletic visit The Showgrounds.

Rovers are looking to pick up their first points of the season after a narrow defeat to Finn Harps last week.

Tickets are available here.

The Bit O’ Red Wall will open on the night which features 315 tiles purchased by fans, installed on a wall in the ground with an array of messages to acknowledge their support of the club.

The Saints were also beaten 1-0 last week in another tight encounter against Waterford FC.

Liam Buckley has been hampered by injuries again this week.

Danny Kane had a procedure on a foot problem on Monday and will not return until late next month at least while it heals.

John Mahon (broken leg) and Regan Donelon (shoulder) miss out.

Lewis Banks (muscle injury) is also unlikely to be available.

Liam Buckley said: “It was a sub-standard performance by both ourselves and Harps last week in truth. The pitch didn’t help but that isn’t an excuse, we lost the game and you just have to take what you can and move on and we have done.

 “We want a performance from the lads. I know my expectation of them and what they are capable of.  It’s a lot different from what we saw last week, so I’m looking for them to go out and show it.

“We’ve stayed off our pitch for over 16 weeks and trained on it on Tuesday for the first time. It’s playing well and hopefully the weather is good on Friday night.

“Pat’s were beaten last week so they’ll be looking at this one certainly to get a result. We have to be at it from the start and we’ve had a good week of training to prepare for it.

“We’ve been beset by injuries in defence and it is bad luck when you consider the impact injuries we have had in pre-season.

“In essence we are missing an entire back four of first-choice players so that is difficult to manage with a squad of our size. But what can you do? You get on with it, and more so, we stick together first and foremost.

“The dressing-room here is brilliant and I’m delighted we’re at home, we’ll need our supporters to get behind us.

“We were all disappointed last week and we’ll approach the game with a mindset to bounce back and get our season up and running.”

Unique sponsorship deal: EJ Menswear and PetStop

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce a unique agreement between two of the region’s best-known businessmen.

With the club at heart, both Eamon Cunningham of EJ Menswear and John McKeon of PetStop Discount Warehouse have come together over a four-year period and will sponsor both the club’s Under-19 squad as well as a stand at The Showgrounds, formerly known as the Railway End.

For 2020-21 EJ Menswear will be primary kit sponsor for our Under-19 team as Pet Stop will take naming rights for the stand, which now becomes The Pet Stop Stand for the same period.

In 2022/23, they pair swap around and PetStop will become Under-19 sponsors with the stand becoming The EJ Menswear Stand.

Club CEO Colin Feehily spoke today at the announcement of the deal “This is a really new, unique partnership which we are thrilled to be able to announce.

“Eamon and John are no strangers to us here, with both heavily involved in numerous fundraisers throughout the years, most recently with the Beat It Fashion Show back in October, which was a huge success.

“It proves that the club is in the hearts of people in the town and community, this is really a unique sponsorship arrangement.

Eamon Cunningham, owner of EJ Menswear: “I am delighted to support the club for the next four years. I’ve been a season ticket holder for years now, and we are proud to be involved.

“As it turned out, myself and John were both interested in sponsoring the stand, so instead of missing out on it, we came up with this idea which will work well for everyone.”

John McKeon of PetStop said: “I am proud to see the company name in the stand, it will be great to come here with staff, family,  and friends and be able to sit here. I always sit in that stand.

“I’ll look to remember the 1983 cup final, which meant a lot to me personally.

“We will be doing something with the design of the stand which we hope supporters will like. I’m looking forward to it.”

Everyone at Sligo Rovers wish to thank Eamon, John and all their staff for their continued support.

Shamrock Rovers kick-off changed

The #bitored’s match with Shamrock Rovers on Saturday 7th March in The Showgrounds will be broadcast live on Eir Sport.

Kick-off moves from 7:45pm to 8pm for the SSE Airtricity League game.

Three League of Ireland games to be broadcast live by Eir Sport

Visit to Ballymote Celtic

‪We visited Ballymote Celtic youths last night as we kicked off our local youth club visits for 2020.‬‪

Ballymote will be guests at Friday night’s game against St Patrick’s Athletic and will take part in half time games on the pitch.

‬‪Thanks for having us guys and to Scott Lynch, Will Seymore and Darragh Healy.

Thanks to all the girls for being so enthusiastic

Pyrotechnics and flares

The Bit O’ Red are issuing a notice to supporters and a supporter group in relation to the use of pyrotechnics.

It reads:

As you are aware, during last Friday’s match with Finn Harps in Finn Park in Ballybofey, pyrotechnics were used by Sligo Rovers supporters

As you are also aware, these are banned from League of Ireland football grounds and their use results in Sligo Rovers receiving a fine from the Football Association of Ireland.

This happened on several occasions last year. We have repeatedly warned supporters about using pyrotechnics and have grown extremely frustrated that the message has been ignored.

The club was fined on several occasions last year, totaling thousands of euro and today we have received notification of a citation which will result in another fine. This is emanating from the Finn Harps game where pyrotechnics were used and thrown onto the pitch, one of which engulfed in flames on the pitch and had to be extinguished and removed by a steward.

In 2019 €495,000 was fundraised for Sligo Rovers and, in order to get through the year, the club committee and fans had to go to extreme lengths to generate this money. Every cent was needed.

For our own supporters to repeatedly instigate these fines totally contradicts and insults this work. We understand why you use pyrotechnics but this is not an acceptable reason to do so given we have been fined on each occasion and puts our future in jeopardy as well as endangering other fans.

We will no longer accept such incidents with just a warning. We have identified some of those who used them in Ballybofey and know these are repeat offenders. 

We will be introducing a number of sanctions if any supporter uses pyrotechnics at home or away matches for the rest of the season.

(a)    Refusing entry to individuals from home matches. This will not be temporary. It will be permanent

(b)   Ensuring the same supporters are not permitted to away matches
 

(c)    The closure of the Jinks Avenue Stand for home supporters if pyrotechnics are used in this section by our fans.

We will be represented in all part of the stadium to monitor it on Friday and other games. Please adhere to our request or do not attend Sligo Rovers matches in the future.

Regards,

Sligo Rovers Management Committee

Kane undergoes foot procedure

Sligo Rovers defender Danny Kane has had a minor foot procedure and will return next month.

The Bit O’ Red defender was troubled by the injury in pre-season with club management and medical staff opting for Kane to undergo the procedure to cure the problem.

Liam Buckley said: “Danny played last Friday’s match with Finn Harps but he was in and out of pre-season because of this issue.

“It’s something from an operation he had before he came to the club that was inserted that is now causing discomfort at this stage.

“The recommendation we had from the medical side of it is that he have it dealt with. We booked him in for the first possible moment and that day was last Monday.

“He did well in Ballybofey especially when you consider he has been playing with this pain but it’s right to get it done now.

“It was a small procedure and Danny will sit out while we wait for it to heal.

“It won’t take too long and we hope to see him back in a few weeks and we’ll see an even better version of him.”