Preview: FAI Cup vs Limerick

Sligo Rovers are in action on Saturday night when Limerick visit The Showgrounds in the Extra.ie FAI Cup.

The Bit O’ Red won 8-0 in the first round against Glebe North but narrowly lost to St Patrick’s Athletic, 2-1, in Inchicore. 

In team news, Niall Morahan (knee) is out. Johnny Dunleavy and Danny Kane are doubtful with minor knocks and will be tested pre-game.

Liam Buckley said: “We were disappointed last week, especially in the second half. We lifted ourselves this week and this is a very important game. We’re acutely aware that if we win we’re in the quarter-finals so that’s what we are aiming for. 

“It might be a Premier Division team against a First Division but upsets happen. We have to make we apply ourselves, make sure our preparation is right which we have tried to do throughout the week.

“Someone will win the Cup and we have to be in it to give ourselves that chance. I’d love to get The Showgrounds crowd behind us, there is a big tradition up here for the Cup. 

“That said, that is not going to win us the game. Application, drive, will to win and enthusiasm are imperative and if those are at 100% we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Club issues update for fans

Sligo Rovers has issued an update ahead of Saturday’s game with Limerick in The Showgrounds.

Rovers are back in our home for the first time since 27 July and will not return to the venue in the Premier Division until 14 September against Finn Harps. That is a gap of seven weeks. 

The Bit O’ Red are currently awaiting a new date for the league fixture with Dundalk.

Our other home games left in the season are Shamrock Rovers (5 October) and Derry City (19 October).

Sligo Rovers Committee provided an update to fans on a scenario that has emerged for a third year in succession.

“One thing we have found is these periods tend to create an unsettling feeling around the club for our supporters and understandably so. You lose part of the activity around the ground as the big occasion on a Saturday night is not there and some contact as well. These are times that are extremely difficult to combat. The postponement of the Dundalk game was a big blow to us.

“We said last year that it puts clubs under enormous strain, yet here we are again, and we are doing our best at this point. It has occurred for other clubs as well, so going forward, it’s something that has to change in the league and together we all need to come up with a solution.

“For now as a committee we have to put the focus on the short-term. Last Man Standing is ongoing which has raised over €6,000 and our Summer Camps have helped as well but they will end this week.

“In the latter part of the year we are going to honour our 1994 team with a special celebration and there is another major event planned that will raise money for charity and another sporting body along with ourselves. We will also have something that will allow our fans to have their presence in The Showgrounds ingrained forever.

“These are things which I think our fans will enjoy and capture the imagination of the Sligo public. Without giving too much away before official announcements but the events will put smiles on faces and help us in the latter part of the financial year. But they are still a bit away.

“So we do have to stress that Saturday’s game is massively important to us.

“As an all-cash gate where we get a good percentage it will help us. We’d encourage all our fans to try to get to the match and support the half-time lotto too which all goes to the club.

“ While we know this Saturday is a big day of activity in Sligo but we’d love a big crowd to get behind the team. It can make a massive difference to us. 

“Liam will speak about what the game means in the season later in the week when previewing the match but from an off-field perspective it’s just as important.

“The FAI Cup can bring out the best of the club and we’d love to see that on Saturday. Thank you for support in the season so far. 

“As you have seen, we are making plans for 2020 as well as trying to finish this campaign in the best way we can. 

“That is why we are trying to conclude the year with a lot of activity and we hope to have more information on that soon.”   

Limerick game this Saturday

Sligo Rovers host Limerick in the FAI Cup this Saturday in The Showgrounds, kick-off 8pm.

Rovers are second round action against Tommy Barrett’s side.

Tickets are available at turnstiles.

With the Warrior’s Run happening in Strandhill this Saturday, we have organised a shuttle bus to bring supporters to The Showgrounds and return to Strandhill at full time.

The bus departs the coach park just up from Strand Bar at 7:20pm

To book your seat, contact 085-1234629 The bus costs €5 per person, which can be paid on the evening to the bus driver.

We hope this helps those wishing to attend the run and indeed the game that evening

Community Visit – Cranmore

We recently paid a visit to The Cranmore Soccer Camp at Sean Fallon Park in Cranmore, which is ran by the Cranmore Co-operative society supported by Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership (SSRP).

SSRP develop sport and recreational opportunities as part of the Cranmore Regeneration Project’s East City Cranmore and environs plan. This has been in place since 2015 and attracts up to 70 children each year.

Based on the popularity of soccer in the community, the Cranmore co-operative society has piloted their first local soccer camp for 30 young people from the area delivered by SSRP community coaches.

We sent Darragh Healy and Scott Lynch to visit the camp recently to put on a coaching session for the kids.

It’s important for us to help out in our local community and we were delighted to be part of this initiative. Thanks to the SSRP coaches and to all the children who participated.

Second half goals beat Rovers in Dublin

St Patrick’s Athletic’s second half performance earned them the three points as they overcame a half-time deficit to beat Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park.

Behind to Romeo Parkes’ opener on 22 minutes, the Saints turned the course of this game courtesy of a Glen McAuley strike on 51 followed by Dave Webster’s winner six minutes from time.

Having both taken six points from their last five games, the sides struggled to provide much in terms of free-flowing football in the opening exchanges.

Glen McAuley carved out two early chances but both efforts were easy for Sligo goalkeeper Ed McGinty to deal with.

The Saints won’t have been happy with what they produced early on, but were the most threatening in front of the target.

Gary Shaw’s turn taking him past John Mahon 20 minutes in, but McGinty was again comfortable.

Rovers, in search of a second win in a week, had their first sight at goal two minutes later.

David Cawley’s strength bought him time inside the Saints area before the Mayo man supplied Parkes. But the Jamaican’s effort lacked accuracy as he fired wide off the outside of his boot.

This heralded Sligo’s purple patch and they made the most of it 22 minutes in.

Kris Twardek was afforded too much room down the Pat’s left as he squared for Parkes who slotted home from close range for his eighth goal of the year.

Harry Kenny’s charges finished the half the stronger but were again found wanting when and where it mattered.

McGinty pulled off smart stop to deny Shaw from point blank, while the same man seemed to lose his bearings as he stooped in his attempt to turn Dean Clarke’s cross past the Scot at his front post.

The Dubliners began the second period much the brighter and were rewarded for their efforts six minutes in.

Having netted his first for the club in the FAI Cup last week, McAuley’s neat touch brought him past his marker before he fired past McGinty from the angle.

Twardek’s snapshot wasn’t far away just short of the hour, while Lewis Banks’ last-ditch tackle deflected Cian Coleman’s shot over McGinty’s goal. This after the midfielder barged his way past Dante Leverock.

Pat’s were well in control at this stage and looked clear favourites for the game’s third goal.

Shaw came close with a glancing header in the pouring rain on 77. While the Showgrounds side spurned a glorious chance to rob one against the run of play.

Daryl Fordyce cushioned substitute Ronan Murray’s cross into the path of the waiting Twardek who could only fire over from six yards.

Clarke and Lee Desmond both went close in quick succession, before Pat’s had their winner six minutes from time.

Webster rising highest to nod Jamie Lennon’s set piece to the net for what was the winner for the home side.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Lee Desmond, Kevin Toner, Dave Webster, Ian Bermingham; Darragh Markey, Cian Coleman, Jamie Lennon; Dean Clarke, Gary Shaw (Ronan Hale 77), Glen McAuley (Jake Walker 89).   

Sligo Rovers: Ed MicGinty; Johnny Dunleavy (John Russell 75), Dante Leverock, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Kyle Callan-McFadden (Sam Warde 61); David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce; Kris Twardek, Regan Donelon (Ronan Murray 65); Romeo Parkes.

Referee: John McLoughlin.

Attendance: 1,217.  

Preview: Rovers prepare for Pat’s

Sligo Rovers return to league action on Friday night to take on St Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park.

Rovers were 8-0 winners in the Extra.ie FAI Cup match last week over Glebe North and go into this game in sixth place in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.

The Saints are eight points clear of Rovers, having played a game more, and won 2-1 in the previous meeting at the Dublin venue.

Ronan Coughlan returns from suspension while Niall Morahan remains out with a knee injury. Morahan is set to be the only absentee from the squad.

Liam Buckley said: “We have a round of matches to play and we want to be very competitive in them.

“Firstly there are teams below us trying to get at us and they are winning games regularly.  We want to look up as well because there are points to play for and how we finish the year is very important for a number of reasons.

“It was nice to score some goals last week and it always does give you that lift.

“We’d like to carry that into Friday. I know most of the St Pat’s squad from my time there, they’ve done well and have added some new players too recently.

“But I’m just concerned with ourselves and getting ourselves up to speed and to a level.

“It would be good to get the result on Friday night so we can keep in that mix in that part of the table.

“It’ll be tight without doubt and it’s good to have nearly everyone available from that end.”

Parkes and Dunleavy sign new deals

Sligo Rovers can today confirm that Johnny Dunleavy and Romeo Parkes have signed new contracts with the club for the 2020 season.

Dunleavy has been an impressive performer after signing from Cork City, playing 20 games and featuring in defence and midfield.

Parkes has scored seven league goals as Rovers top goalscorer so far as contributing a number of assists as a key part of the team.

Romeo Parkes said: “I’m happy to extend my contract today. I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far. The people are great and the club is very nice to be at.

“I think we’ve done okay but I’d like for us to keep improving. I’ve scored some goals and I think there can be more to come.

“The fans have been very good to me since I’ve come here. I want to keep scoring and help the team because we can achieve something in this period for the club.

“That’s what I want to do this season and next year.”  

Johnny Dunleavy added: “The manager spoke to me about the possibility of extending my contract and I was delighted to sign. When I arrived here the target first and foremost was to get back playing.

“I’ve done that. There was a couple of niggles here and there as you’d expect, but I’m feeling stronger and stronger and I think my performances are reflecting that now.

“It takes time to blend what is really a totally new group and even now we are seeing little partnerships starting to emerge but I think we are getting there.

Liam Buckley with the two re-signings

“There’s a lot to play for in the rest of the season but in re-signing today, Niall Morahan yesterday and now Romeo as well, I think it’s a statement of intent of what the club is thinking. For me it has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve loved it and it’s a fantastic place to be.

“We’re trying to build something and having had an initial target of being back on the pitch, the next one is to bring some great days to this club. That’s why we’re all here.”

Liam Buckley said: “Johnny and Romeo are two of our senior players who have done very well for us.

“Johnny is a great lad to have around the place and a brilliant player who brings a wealth of experience. We’re delighted with his contribution so far and he will play a big part in our future.  

“Romeo has made a real impact as well and leads the line superbly. He has taken to the league very quickly and again I think we’ll see even more from him over the next season and a half.

“Every manager has to look to the future and I will do that at the appropriate times. We have nine league games and an FAI Cup second round match to come before next year so there is lots left in this season.

“I can tell you that there is no danger of complacency from the management point of view and we’ll be making sure that is case for all of us. There are teams below us and above us fighting for points every week so we have to maintain our level of work-rate and all of that.

“Today I’m delighted to have Romeo and Johnny on board for next season and we look forward to the future.”

FAI Cup: Limerick next weekend

Sligo Rovers will play Limerick in the second round of the Extra.ie FAI Cup.

Rovers were drawn against the First Division in a match to take place on weekend of 24th August.

Details will be confirmed shortly.

Morahan agrees IT Sligo scholarship, new contract

Niall Morahan has signed a new contract with Sligo Rovers as he becomes the first recipient of the new IT Sligo Scholarship programme with the club.

The Republic of Ireland Under-19 international has penned a deal until the end of 2021 season and will begin his IT Sligo course in September.  Niall will be undertaking a business degree.

As part of our agreement, two scholarships are co-funded annually by IT Sligo and Rovers. Niall is the first recipient. 

Niall Morahan: “I’m delighted to take up the offer. The last year has gone really well for me on an individual basis and this season I’ve been involved a lot more than I thought I’d be.

“I think it’s good to take on education as well as football. I’m 19 but I want to open up different avenues for myself.

“My long-term future is now here at The Showgrounds and that’s very reassuring too. I wanted to commit myself to the club and what is happening here.

Liam Buckley and Niall Morahan

“To do that and also start third-level education is ideal. Working under Liam and John Russell has been fantastic and I’d like to thank all my coaches and Carrick Town before that who have helped me be in this position where I could sign today.”

Liam Buckley said: “Niall has come into the side throughout this season at right-back and midfield and acquitted himself very well after some good years in the academy teams. 

“Education is very important for young players and this is the beginning of what will be a regular feature at the club.

“The club has a lot of talented young players and we feel we can offer them not just a great opportunity in football but in education as well.

“When I was with St Patrick’s Athletic we had a link-up that saw a number of lads complete degrees and it stands to them so I have an understanding of how you manage it.

 “Niall played 15 games before he turned 19 and now he starts a college course while remaining an important part of the squad and training and playing matches as normal.

 “It is a great start to any career and we’re looking forward to him being a big part of our future and continuing to make progress.”

Iain MacPherson, Planning and Operations Excellence Manager at IT Sligo added: “IT Sligo, in partnership with Sligo Rovers FC, are delighted to offer Niall Morahan the first of their joint Scholarships. 

“This partnership, which was launched earlier this year,  demonstrates the commitment of both IT Sligo and Sligo Rovers FC in supporting those involved in sports at the highest level whilst undertaking a programme of study. 

“Niall recently played in the Republic of Ireland Under-19 squad reaching the semi-finals during the UEFA 2019 European Championships which took place in Armenia.  We look forward to seeing him flourish in education and sport.”

Colin Feehily and Niall Morahan

Colin Feehily, chief executive of Sligo Rovers: “We are delighted to get Niall signed up long term. We see Niall as another success story of our underage structure. Niall came to us from Carrick Town FC and worked his way up through our Under-17 and Under-19 squads, before making his senior debut in 2018.

“ I feel today shows we are not solely focusing on preparing our players on the field, but we are helping them and giving them opportunities off the field too through IT Sligo and their fantastic facilities both sporting and academically.

“Niall will be an important player for their men’s football team and is an important part of our squad here at Sligo Rovers too.

“I’d like to thank Niall’s previous coaches at Carrick Town and those he has worked with here in our underage set up also. I’d also like to congratulate Niall on his contract and to his family for their help and support to both him and the football club.”