Rovers and Shamrock Rovers play out stalemate

Neither side could produce a winner as both Rovers, Sligo and Shamrock played out an entertaining stalemate at the Showgrounds.

Neither of these sides had much to play for but produced an absorbing encounter in what was Sligo’s penultimate game in front of their own support this year.

Kris Twardek had Alan Mannus at full stretch seven minutes in, while Regan Donelon’s effort from distance flashed past the Hoops goal from the resulting corner.

Ed McGinty was untroubled with Shams’ first effort on goal courtesy of Aaron McEneff on 17 minutes.

There was another nervous moment for the visitors when Twardek sent his low effort fizzing across Mannus’ goal mouth.

Preparing for their first FAI cup final since they were beaten by Sligo nine years ago, the Hoops began to pose a threat through the likes of Aaron Greene, Jack Byrne and Aaron McEneff.

Greene was involved in their next chance. The winger finding Graham Cummins at the back post, but John Mahon did enough to force the ex-Cork striker to volley wide at the first attempt.

Mannus then spilled Danny Kane’s close range header before the danger was cleared by the Hoops rearguard. McGinty relying on Lewis Banks to do likewise at the other end moments later after he let Ethan Boyle’s shot between his arms.

Mannus pulled off a wonderful stop to deny David Cawley’s 35 yard free-kick which looked destined for the top corner. Sam Warde had the ball in the net from the resulting corner, but the midfielder’s joy was short lived when he caught in an offside position.

Even without a recognised striker in their match day squad, Sligo continued to create and should have been ahead just short of the hour.

Twardek released Banks down the right before the latter found man-of-the-match Niall Morahan. The Leitrim teen couldn’t add the required power to his shot from seven yards, with Mannus able to deal with the danger. 

It was then the visitor’s turn to turn up a goal scoring opportunity.

Mahon’s slip allowed Ronan Finn through on goal, but McGinty closed the angle in time to deny skipper Finn in the one-on-one.

Greene then came within a lick of paint of finding the opener.

Sligo might have had a penalty with twelve to go when Regan Donelon was sent flying by a robust challenge. And with the home supporters still protesting the decision not to award the spot kick, Greene then struck the outside of McGinty’s post on the counter with the keeper looking beat.

There were late chances at either end. Brandon Kavanagh fired narrowly wide on the volley while Boyle had to divert Cawley’s side-footer past Mannus’ post.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, Kyle McFadden, John Mahon, Danny Kane; Sam Warde (Johnny Dunleavy 92); Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Niall Morahan, Regan Donelon (Brian Morley 81); Daryl Fordyce.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle, Roberto Lopes, Daniel Lafferty (Dylan Watts 81), Sean Kavanagh; Ronan Finn, Gary O’Neill, Aaron McEneff; Jack Byrne (Brandon Kavanagh 69); Aaron Greene, Graham Cummins (Graham Burke 63). 

Referee: Graham Kelly.

Attendance: 1,829.