Jordan Gibson signs for Sligo Rovers

Sligo Rovers are delighted to confirm the signing of attacking player Jordan Gibson for the 2021 season.

The 22-year-old, formerly of Bradford City and Stevenage FC, spent the second part of last season with St Patrick’s Athletic and impressed in Inchicore, featuring in every league game.

Rovers boss Liam Buckley has moved to bring Gibson to Sligo to become the 14th signing for 2021.

Listen to an interview with Jordan Gibson here

Speaking to www.sligorovers.com this afternoon, Gibson said:

“It’s an exciting time for me. It was quite early when the call came from the gaffer. To be honest, I did want to go back to England.

“But he really sold the club to me. I spoke to other people who played at the club and players under Liam Buckley and they all spoke very highly of him

“I’ve spoken with him a lot in the last few weeks. I spoke to him about my position and things like that and I feel I’m more comfortable in central areas whether that is number 8 in midfield, 10 behind the striker. I also enjoy coming in from the left.

“It was good to get 15 games with St Pat’s. The only thing is by the time I was really up and running, the season was basically over. Hopefully this season I can get a good amount of games and help Sligo challenge for honours and play in Europe.

“I’ve had time at home with my family and friends here in England. It is important to spend time with them when you can in this pandemic. I’ve had that time and I’m ready to come back to football, work hard and go places now.

“Having a manager that believes in you and wants to sign you pretty badly, which Liam Buckley did, that was a big factor in my decision.

“The last three seasons for me have been substitute appearances or a few starts here and there in League 1 and League 2 until I went to St Pat’s.

“That was the first time I had a run of starts, 10 starts, and I was just getting going and starting to score goals. Then the season was over. Having that belief from the gaffer, I have to repay that faith for a whole season now.

“I’m more than comfortable in any attacking position. Even at Bradford I played that central role in midfield where even defensively I felt I did well where it was more box-to-box. I feel I can add more goals and get assists in my games. But I’m more than happy to play left, right or central and wherever the gaffer wants me to play.”

Manager Liam Buckley said: “Jordan did really well with St Pat’s. The staff and I were across every game last season on WATCHLOI and he was one which caught our eye.

“He’s a good age at 22, he’s quick, has a great attitude and can play across the front three. There is a lot more to come from him.

“Last season was the first time he had a run of games and in a full season we can see the best of Jordan Gibson.

“I think he’s a player the supporters here will appreciate and he’ll be an asset to us. We are trying to hand pick the players we want in the group and Jordan is one we feel will fit into how we want to play.

“I’m looking forward to bringing him here for the start of pre-season and the opportunity will be there for him to take.”

Buckley said of his ongoing recruitment: “This is another good signing for the group. We are still in the market for the attacking area and some others as well.

“There are some players from the group last season who remain in discussions and the process is ongoing.

“We feel we’ve made good progress and we’re getting stronger. Pre-season will be later than we originally were looking at now that the season will not start until March.

“We’ll also add one or two of our scholarship and academy players to the senior group as well as we do each year. We’re looking forward to getting back on the pitch as soon as we can.”

Rovers Global Family Buying Tiles

London, California and Ballina are three of the locations that will be celebrated on the next section of the Bit O’ Red Wall at Sligo Showgrounds. 315 tiles feature in the first section of the wall unveiled at the home of Sligo Rovers last year. Already 100 tiles have been purchased for the next phase of the project.

Cormac ‘Corky’ Kilfeather, originally from Pearse Road, Sligo is the London link. Michael Taheny, a native of Riverstown Co. Sligo and now living in California, is the lucky recipient of a tile as a Christmas present from his son and namesake. Hugh Hanly, who has been travelling the Ballina Road to Sligo will provide a Co. Mayo link on the wall.

Speaking from London, Corky Kilfeather told how he will be delighted to celebrate the arrival of his first great-grandchild, Harley Finnegan, on the wall. Harley’s parents, Danielle and Ryan Finnegan (a native of Calry) are living in Sligo. Cormac has also reserved tiles for his two other grandchildren, Cody and Casey and for his children, Karen and James.

“I’m hoping someone will put up one in my name when I’m pushing up the daisies”, Corky joked. He ran a popular bar on Markievicz Road for several years but has been back in London for almost two decades.

“I’ve followed the Rovers since I was a boy and that will never change. It was two of my oldest Sligo pals, Paddy Houze and Padraig ‘Lotch’ Lynch who were encouraging me to buy a tile and I ended up booking six! It keeps up the connection with the Showgrounds down through the generations.”

Michael Taheny (junior) is based in Cavan. Childhood memories of going to matches in The Showgrounds with his father, Michael (senior) prompted him to purchase a Christmas gift.

Michael (senior) is a native of Riverstown and was a boarder in Summerhill College. He had a landscape gardening business at Carrraroe but has been working and living in California for twenty years.

“In the past when I crossed the Atlantic to visit my father, we sometimes went to LA Galaxy games. But each time he is home, if we can make it happen, we go together to the Showgrounds.”

According to Michael (junior) “The tile is a Christmas present for him. It will say

‘Michael Taheny

Sligo California’

Hugh Hanly was born in Collooney Co. Sligo and after his university years he worked at the Snia plant in Hazelwood before settling in Ballina Co. Mayo in the early 80’s. All through his life he has been a loyal Sligo Rovers supporter and a contributor to the various fund-raising initiatives that have allowed the club to stay afloat.

“Like all supporters I’ve seen Sligo Rovers struggle on and off the field. But results against the odds, like the recent victory against Dundalk and the spirit of the club more than make up for the bad times. I refer Friday night games because they allow you to be with your family on a Saturday night. Even though it’s an hour-long journey over and back, the habit is still strong”

Hugh is known in Ballina for the trojan work he and a small group of friends carry out to run the local tennis club. He is delighted by the way Sligo Rovers’ underage structures are now attracting players from surrounding areas including Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Donegal. He believes Rovers captain, Ballina-born David Cawley, has helped to increase the club’s popularity in Mayo.

Hugh’s tile will state

Hugh Hanly

Sligo & Ballina

A Lifetime Fan

The new section of the wall will be ready for the start of the new season. Each tile costs 100 euro and the project provides a unique way to be remembered and celebrated at The Showgrounds. The work is carried out by the renowned Boyle-based stonemasons, Feelystone. Each tile accommodates 3 lines, with 16 characters, including spaces per line.

The project also allows supporters who are living away from home to celebrate their links with the club. Another dimension of the scheme is gives a chance to remember deceased family members and their long association with The Showgrounds.

The Wall enhances the Open Museum aspect of Sligo Rovers HQ and it is another reminder of Sligo Rovers’ special community status as a league of Ireland club.

To purchase a tile online, please click here.

For more information, or to purchase a tile over the phone, you can contact Shane on 087-7526445.

Ladies Team coaching staff

As part of Sligo Rovers FC’s long term plan for the women’s team, we are looking to expand our coaching team ahead of the new season in 2021.

It is hoped that in 2021 we will have two underage teams in the Women’s National League, adding an Under 19 team alongside our Under 17 team which will enter its fourth season in the league.

We are seeking coaches to work alongside Head-Coach Danny O’Leary who this year took over our Women’s National League Under 17 team.

We await approval from the FAI on the new Women’s National League Under 19 team, and have expressed our desire as a club to enter a team in the league, as we look to grow our involvement in the women’s game.

Job Description
– Help club achieve its vision to ‘Build a brand that is associated with excellence on and off the pitch for women’s football, to be considered as an example of excellence and best practice, and one of the major developer of players within the country at underage, and eventually senior level’.
– The development and nurturing of a pool of elite players to facilitate their current and future success as individuals and as a team.
– Organise, plan and deliver a suitable player development programme in line with the FAI and Sligo Rovers coaching syllabus.
– Uphold the clubs code of conduct and implement club’s vision on and off the pitch.
– Set high standards for the players both on and off the pitch.
– Create and maintain appropriate communication with players / parents / clubs / leagues and any stakeholders relevant to the team
– Ensure the club adheres to FAI & Women’s National League rules and regulations and competition rules. . 
– To ensure that all delivery satisfies the clubs safeguarding and welfare procedures 
– The successful candidate will report to the Women’s Football committee within the club. The women’s committee includes members of the club management committee and is governed by the management committee of Sligo Rovers.

Job Specification:
The ideal candidate will have skills and experience in the following areas:

Essential Criteria
– A current valid UEFA B Licence holder as a minimum (for a head-coach role).
– Successful candidate will be subjected to garda vetting clearance. 
– Up to date Safeguarding 1 / Child Welfare Certificate.
– An ability to produce verbal and written reports.
– Access to both email and phone.
– Experience and enthusiasm for coaching and mentoring elite young players and coaches.

Desirable Criteria
– Administrative and organisational skills.
– Previous experience of coaching in female game.
– Coach mentoring experience.

To express your interest in joining the coaching team, please send your CV to sligoroverswomen@gmail.com by 5pm on Friday January 8th 2021

Ladies players – expression of interest

Expressions of Interest

Sligo Rovers FC is seeking expressions of interest from potential players for our Women’s National League Under 17 team, and a potential Women’s National League  Under 19 team.

Our Women’s Under 17 team have enjoyed three seasons since entering the league, and it is hoped that we can build on our efforts by adding a Women’s Under 19 team for the coming season.

As the FAI sought interest from clubs already involved in the WNL to enter teams to a potential new U19 league, we have expressed our interest in entering a team, although we await confirmation on whether or not this league will go ahead.

We continue to grow as a club, and we understand that there is a wealth of talent within the locality. Women’s football is very much part of the club’s long term aims, and therefore we wish to continue our commitment to the game by adding another team.

While we await confirmation on the Women’s Under 19 league, we wish to invite expressions of interest for both the U19 team, and our U17 team which will be in its fourth season come 2021.

Players born in 2002 – 2006 are eligible. 

Please see link below:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1U6wOEeUaJzxnI4XF1YhJ_CkZiCuVjJfrSDmz2STfQCk/edit?usp=sharing

Shane Blaney signs for Sligo Rovers

Sligo Rovers have completed the signing of former Doncaster Rovers defender Shane Blaney for the 2021 season.

The Letterkenny man joins the Bit O’ Red after two and a half years with Doncaster where he captained their Under-23 side and played in the EFL Trophy.

Blaney, a 6 ft 2 left-footed centre-half, began his career with Finn Harps, making his debut at 17 before joining Doncaster at the start of 2018 just prior to his 19th birthday.

Listen to the first interview with Shane

He is a former Irish schoolboy captain and took the same role at Doncaster Under-23s.

Blaney had two loan spells but left Doncaster last summer.

He will turn 22 in January as he starts pre-season under Liam Buckley, looking to kickstart his career at home again.

The late Brendan Byrne, a stalwart of Sligo Rovers and the 500 Club, is a great Uncle of Shane. He also played alongside John Mahon and Irish underage international level.

Blaney said “I’m delighted. This has been ongoing for the last few weeks. I’ve been speaking with Liam for that period and it seems like the perfect fit for me. It was a great experience at Doncaster.

“I never got the right time for it to fall to get a league debut. I was in the first-team training but it didn’t come. I need games now.

“I’m absolutely dying to get going. Liam actually made contact in July but I wanted to stay in England as I had a few things going on there. With Covid-19, teams weren’t taking on players on trial and six weeks ago I made the decision to come home. I had a few offers in Ireland and calls, but Liam was the first meeting and since that I knew I wanted to sign for Sligo.

“Anyone I ask about Sligo, every single person says what a good club it is and great fans. I’m very excited for it all.

“I’ve been preparing for a return to pre-season for months now to be honest. When it comes around I’ll be ready. I’m here to play, I have my own goals and I hope to be as successful as I can be. I’ll be trying as hard as I can for Liam and the club.

“I think my style is perfect for the manager. I love the ball to feet and that side of the game. It’s a good fit. Liam’s ambition matches my ambition, it could be something special here with the mix of young players and the older lads. I’m just really looking forward to it.”

Liam Buckley said: “Shane is a really good addition to us. He comes strongly recommended and is looking to make an impression here.

“The conversations we’ve had have been good. Shane is ambitious and he’s coming here to prove what he can do.

“Shane is a very good addition to our group of defenders. He is a centre-half who can play in a back three or a back four and is good on the ball with a good strike of it too.

“He has lots of attributes to be a good defender for us and he’s really eager to get going as we all are now. We’re waiting on the schedule to finalise all of the details of pre-season.

“We are speaking with more players. There’s a strong core group assembled and I hope we’ll be adding to that soon.”

Under contract at Sligo Rovers for 2021 so far: Ed McGinty, Luke McNicholas, Lewis Banks, Garry Buckley, John Mahon, Robbie McCourt, Shane Blaney, David Cawley, Greg Bolger, Niall Morahan, Ryan De Vries, Romeo Parkes, Mark Byrne.

Annual Draw grosses €57,000 as winners confirmed

The 2020 Annual Draw has grossed sales of €56,950, with Damien McGuinness winning the top prize of €5,000.

The draw has been a huge success with the context of no door-to-door sales being possible, as well as in local businesses which would usually be open, and with movements restricted.

Reaching this figure is a testament to the hard work of our ticket sellers, their creativity, and the loyalty and dedication of the supporters of Sligo Rovers and those in the north-west region that get behind the club.

As a result, the profit for the club is €51,950. This year’s draw was a combination of the Annual Draw and Christmas Draw.

The combined total for these draws last year was close to €100,000, so to reach above half of that in these circumstances in a big lift to the club.

Sligo Rovers Annual Draw Co-Ordinator and Assistant Secretary, Mark Cummins, said:

“This final total was achieved because of a huge amount of work from our volunteers and staff. This year we also had some new sellers come on board and the online tally was treble the previous total.

“I’d like to thank all of those involved, most of all every person who bought one ticket or a book or any contribution at all.”

The Sligo Rovers 2020 Annual Draw Prize winners:

1st Prize – €5,000 – Damien McGuinness, Dublin

2nd Prize – €500 Voucher for Petstop Discount Warehouse and Fuel Centre – Darren McGuire c/o CSSI

3rd Prize – €500 Voucher for Petstop Discount Warehouse and Fuel Centre – Mary Davey

4th Prize – €250 Voucher for any Flynn Hotel – Emma Flanagan, Rosses Point

5th Prize – €200 Voucher for Cat and The Moon – Donal Kerins

6th Prize – 2021 Sligo Rovers Match Package ticket – Andrew J Dodd

7th Prize – 2 Premium Tickets to a Liverpool FC game in Anfield – Mary Kearins, Ballinfull

8th Prize – Christmas Hamper – Darren Healy

9th Prize – Sligo Rovers Jersey – Therese Foley, Castle Street

10th Prize – Republic of Ireland Jersey – Henry Moffitt, United Kingdom

Bit O’ Red Wall Tile a perfect Christmas Gift

Our Bit O’ Red Wall is currently in Phase Two of it’s production, with sales continuing to grow as we approach Christmas.

Our club shop in Barton Smiths has been busy taking orders, with families buying a tile for their friends or relatives as part of their Christmas present.

Although your tile would not be in place for Christmas, the club provide Wall Tile gift pack, showing their place on the wall is secured, which can be handed over on the big day.

There were over 300 tiles placed on the wall in February 2020 during completion of Phase One, and we hope to have Phase Two completed by the end of January 2021.

To buy your tile online, click https://srfcdirect.com/bit-o-red-wall-tile/

Our club shop in Barton Smiths opens until 6pm all week, and opens Christmas Eve until 3pm.

Under 19 Team defeat Bray Wanderers

Saturday afternoon saw our Under 19 team host Bray Wanderers at The Sean Fallon Centre in the Under 19 League Of Ireland Shield semi-final.

The Under 19 team were without a game since October but they didn’t let their lack of match practice show as the lads ran out convincing 6-2 winners.

The away side were reduced to 10 men early on when a high boot caught Peter Maguire in the chest, with referee Damien MacGrath having no option but to issue the red card.

Aaron Perry saw a first half penalty saved by the Bray goalkeeper, before Sean Kerrigan converted a second Rovers’ spot kick soon after, with MacGrath pointing to the spot after a foul in the area.

Bray showed good spirit and equalised before half time with a well taken goal.

Cillian Heaney scored early in the second half for Rovers to restore the lead with a close range finish. Moments later it was 3-1, with Perry making up for his earlier missed penalty with a wonderful free kick from range.

Bray kept battling and reduced the lead again with a fine effort which gave James Robinson no chance in The Rovers’ goal.

It was 4-2 soon after, with Heaney’s mazy run creating space for substitute Johnny Kenny to get in behind the Bray defence and Heaney’s through ball was perfect for Kenny to finish well past the ‘keeper.

Tubbercurry native Perry made it five with another long distance effort, cutting in from the left and curling it around the Bray goalkeeper in the right hand corner.

The scoring was complete in the final few minutes when Under 17 players Kailin Barlow and Kenny combined, with Barlow playing his team-mate through on goal and The Riverstown man made no mistake with his finish.

Brian Dorrian and his staff take their side to Athlone on Tuesday night for The Under 19 Shield Final against UCD at 7pm.

Rovers:

James Robinson, Daniel Gray-Harrigan, Jason Devaney, Peter Maguire, Bryan Lynch, Rossa McAllister, Conor McKeon, Sean Kerrigan, Aaron Perry, Cillian Heaney, Ciaran Jennings.

Subs:

Johnny Kenny, Kailin Barlow, Cillian Gaffey (GK), Cian Kilcoyne, Lee Wilson, Sean McAteer, Ben Edeh.

500 Club Draw Winners – December

Our 500 Club Committee have held their draw for December.

Below is a list of winners:

€500 Paul Leyden, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal

€100 John Joe Gilroy, Hazelwood, Sligo

€100 John Kelly, Taur, Moneygold, Co. Sligo.

€100 Theresa Culligan, Ballydoogan, Sligo.

€100 Frank Carty, Strandhill, Co. Sligo.

€100 Paschal Mooney, Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim.

€50 Frank Clancy, Corofin, Co. Galway

€50 David Rowe, Goatstown, Dublin.

€50 Michael Toolan, Lavagh, Ballymote, Co. Sligo.

€50 Anthony Sweeney, Ballisodare, Co. Sligo.

We wish to thank all our 500 Club members for their continued support and thank our 500 Club Committee for their commitment to the club each year. The 500 Club continues to be a crucial income stream for Sligo Rovers and we are looking to continue it’s growth into 2021.

To become a 500 Club member, visit https://srfcdirect.com/fundraising/500-club/ or email Michael on michaelclancy04@gmail.com

Happy Christmas to all 500 Club Committee and members from all at Sligo Rovers.

Conor O’Grady appointed as Head of Academy of Sligo Rovers

Conor O’Grady has been appointed as the new Head of Academy on a full-time employment basis, Sligo Rovers can announce today.

O’Grady, a former captain and decorated player at the club, has been managing the club’s Under-15 team since inception.

He has emerged as the successful candidate following a lengthy interview process for the role which saw over 50 applicants for the position after it was advertised in November.

Interviews took place in he last month as two boards assessed an extremely high level of applicants, with Conor emerging with the role.

The position will initially include player identification and development, coach identification and liasion, development and education, continuing to develop the pathway from our academy to the first-team and liasing with IT Sligo on our scholarship scheme.

The Bit O’ Red will unveil a more detailed assessment of the planned growth of the Sligo Rovers academy in the club’s Masterplan early in 2021.

In recent seasons the work of a number of our club’s coaches, local clubs in the region and investment from Sligo Rovers has resulted in the development of a large number of first-team players.

This season nine academy graduates were part of the first-team squad of the Sligo Rovers men’s team. Two of those, Niall Morahan and Ed McGinty,  won the Senior and Young Player of the Year.

Today’s appointment is significant in that the club is investing in a full-time position of employment for the first time.

Conor will start the role in January 2021.

Sligo Rovers CEO Colin Feehily said: “We are very pleased to welcome Conor to the club in the position of Head of Academy.

“The work at academy level by our coaches and volunteers has been exemplary and the potential for growth has been obvious.

“This is a very positive step for the club. Conor left a lasting impression on everyone in securing the role through the vision he shares and holds.

“There are exciting times ahead for the academy and Conor will be the ideal leader for it.”

Sligo Rovers first-team manager Liam Buckley said: “I’d like to congratulate Conor on his appointment to this role. 

“The academy is a vital part of the football club here and we have a fantastic group of coaches working with some very talented players.

“We’ve already seen the fruits of that at first-team level and I’m very much aware that there is more to come in the short and long-term future. 

“I look forward to working with Conor going forward.” 

Sligo Rovers Head of Academy Conor O’Grady said: “It is a massive honour. I’m very proud and I feel very humbled today.

“I’m just delighted the club have put their faith in me. There were a lot of brilliant candidates so I feel honoured. It was an unbelievably thorough process.

“I’m very excited now. It’s a huge role. We have a serious amount of talent here in the youth teams and at the moment it is just talent. We’ve already had many players come through to the first-team and currently we have plenty of players with that potential.

“I strongly believe we will have more players coming through. We have to deliver on it and the players have to have the will and desire most importantly. I think they do have it at the moment.

“When I joined Sligo Rovers it was an institution. It always will be. Today it is a brand as much as an institution because it so big all over the north-west.

“It’s a big and bold move by the club to make this role but it’s a positive one and the right one I feel. I have a plan and vision for the future of youth football in the region. The big thing for me is we make it a united front at every level at the club. The plan will come when I start and it will be small steps at first and big steps over time.

“What matters most is the coaches of the players. I’ve spoken to all of them today before the announcement about how much I want them to be involved. They are the most important people and always will be the most important people. They have already proven how good they are in recent years.

“I’ll be a sounding board for them, I’ll be there to help them, they are there to help me and the way I look at it is we’re all doing this together. I hope they’ll enjoy it and I hope that every young player who becomes part of this club enjoys it as well.”