Report: Rovers 0-0 Derry City

Sligo Rovers hosted Derry City at The Showgrounds on Monday night in our penultimate home game of the 2022 season.

The game ended scoreless but it wasn’t short on chances and a tight game could have went either way after a pretty entertaining stalemate.

Rovers came into the game off the back of a 3-3 draw on Friday night against Dundalk whereas Derry City hosted Shelbourne at The Ryan McBride Brandywell on the same night, also picking up a point in a 1-1 draw.

Shane Blaney was brought back into John Russell’s starting team in place of Colm Horgan in the only change from Dundalk.

The opening twenty minutes or so proved to be cagey as both sides felt their way into the game, playing some neat and tidy football without creating any clear cut chances.

The tempo in the game rose after this and Rovers began to dominate. Will Fitzgerald won a free kick on the edge of the Derry penalty area and Adam McDonnell forced Brian Maher into a good save.

The ball was recycled by Rovers down the left and a cross found Lewis Banks who headed it to Aidan Keena and his effort was again brilliantly saved by Maher.

Moments later it was Keena versus Maher again. This time Rovers won possession back by pressing Derry in possession and Keena drove towards the box and fired a left footed shot toward goal but the Derry stopper was equal to it.

The visitors had a couple of half chances soon after as Mark Connolly’s header was comfortably gathered by Richard Brush from a corner and striker Cian Kavanagh had a shot from a tight angle on the left, again saved by Brush and the game remained goalless at the break.

Karl O’ Sullivan was introduced at half time for Kailin Barlow who had been booked in the first half.

The second half began much like the first half with both sides keeping possession and probing forward when they could.

Derry probably shaded the possession in the early stages of the half, knowing a win was needed to bring their title challenge to Tallaght Stadium on Sunday but Rovers stood strong at the back and looked a potent threat on the counter.

Max Mata replaced Frank Liivak on the hour and Derry also made changes with Jamie McGonigle and Michael Duffy sprung from the bench by Ruaidhri Higgins.

Mata had a chance soon after as Robbie Burton’s corner found the New Zealander in the box and his header was deflected wide by a defender.

Greg Bolger and Eanna Clancy replaced Burton and Shane Blaney inside the last twenty minutes and both sides looked to get forward in search of a winning goal.

Derry forced a couple of corners inside the last ten minutes but these were well dealt with by Brush and his Rovers team mates and the biggest chance of the half fell to Mata in stoppage time as the Bit O’ Red almost snatched all three points.

Karl O’ Sullivan carried the ball down the right wing and crossed brilliantly for Mata who cushioned a right footed effort toward goal but it fell agonisingly wide of Maher’s left post.

Neil Doyle added five minutes at the end of the game but it wasn’t enoough for either side to find the winner and the result means Shamrock Rovers were crowned Premier Division Champions for 2022.

Next up for Rovers is a home game with St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night at 7.45pm, our final home game of the season.