Rovers beat Hoops in The Showgrounds

Incoming Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley watched on from the stands as his new side beat Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Mikey Drennan’s wonderful first-half opener was followed up by youngster John Mahon’s maiden goal for the club, as Brian Dorrian picked up his first win as Bit O’Red boss.

The Dubliners were the quicker to get going in this one and almost had an early lead.

Dylan Watts threading the ball into the path of Gary Shaw, but the striker’s effort was watched all the way by Sligo goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney, as he attempted to tuck the ball into the opposite corner.

Watts then went close with a superb drive from 25 yards. His crisply struck shot dipping at the wrong time, kissing the crossbar on its way over.

Sligo, with four teenagers in their starting eleven, turned the tide and hit the lead seven minutes from the break. Drennan’s spectacular acrobatics saw him meet David Cawley’s cross mid-air, left footed and with his back to goal, giving Alan Mannus no chance.

The second half was ten minutes old when Rovers doubled the lead. Mahon met Wixted’s whipped free-kick from the right, sending a thumping header off the underside of the crossbar and beyond Mannus.

Watts then had Beeney scrambling to push away his disguised free-kick which almost caught out the ex-Chelsea man, while substitute Joel Coustrain hit the side-netting after a wonderful defence-splitting pass from Lee Grace from inside his own half.

Stephen Bradley’s side went close again on 70 minutes. But Sean Boyd could only look on as he got the softest of touches to Ronan Finn’s cross.

The ball snuck past the back post.

Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Kyle Callan-McFadden (Adam Wixted HT), Seamus Sharkey, John Mahon, Patrick McClean; Jack Keaney, David Cawley (Kris Twardek 74); Caolan McAleer, Niall Morahan (Lewis Morrison 92), Liam Kerrigan; Mikey Drennan.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle (Sean Kavanagh 50), Lee Grace, Joey O’Brien, Sam Bone; Greg Bolger, Dylan Watts, Ronan Finn; Brandon Miele (Joel Coustrain HT), Dan Carr; Gary Shaw (Sean Boyd 66).

Referee: Neil Doyle.