Rovers to play Everton in friendly

Everton will begin their pre-season fixture schedule with a friendly against League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers ­­– the former club of much-loved Blues captain and one of the Toffees’ greatest-ever servants, Seamus Coleman.

Sean Dyche’s men’s senior team will face the League of Ireland Premier Division side on Friday 19 July (4pm BST) at the Showgrounds in Sligo.

The clash will further strengthen the close bond between Everton and the Bit O’Red which, since January 2021, has included a strategic partnership between the two clubs to work on initiatives together ranging from fan engagement, marketing and joint football camps.

The match will also honour fans’ favourite Coleman, who joined the Blues from Rovers in January 2009 for a famed fee of £60,000. The Killybegs native played over 50 times for Sligo, having made his debut against Derry City in late 2006. The Republic of Ireland captain became a mainstay of the first team under the management of Paul Cook before making the move across the Irish Sea and to Goodison Park in early 2009.

After recently signing a new one-year contract to extend his time at Everton into a 16th season, Coleman has etched his name into the club’s record books following years of top-class service and passion for wearing the royal blue jersey.

He holds the Everton record for most ever Premier League appearances (364), while his 422 matches in all competitions has the defender 13th on the Club’s all-time list, 11 behind another former Rovers player, Dixie Dean and Leon Osman in joint 10th.

Coleman was part of an Everton XI which played at the Showgrounds back in 2010 and he has visited the ground on a few occasions since his move to England.

Speaking ahead of the game, the Donegal native said: “It will be a huge honour for me to return to Sligo Rovers with Everton for our opening pre-season friendly of the summer.

“Sligo is a club I obviously hold close to my heart, with them putting their faith in me as a young player which eventually led to my move to Everton.

“I still have many friends at Sligo and it’s been great to see the close bond between the two clubs strengthen over the years. Going back there after more than 15 special years as an Evertonian will mean a lot to my family and me.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Sligo fans and Evertonians at The Showgrounds on Friday 19 July.”

Dean is another Everton legend who has strong links to Sligo Rovers. A world-class centre forward and a genuine superstar of his time, Sligo shocked the football world by announcing Dean’s signature in January 1939. He went on to score ten times in eleven games and steered Rovers towards a second place league finish and their first ever FAI Cup final.

The Showgrounds friendly will form part of a training camp for Everton in the Republic of Ireland as they prepare for their Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison on Saturday 17 August.

Speaking about the upcoming game, Sligo boss John Russell said; “It’s an honour to have the Everton first team play at the Showgrounds and a game myself, my staff and our players are really excited about. It’s a game that will capture the imagination of the Irish football public and it’s testament to the people who run our football club that a Premier League team like Everton have chosen to visit us in preparation for their upcoming Premier League season.”

Rovers chairperson Tommy Higgins is looking forward to welcoming the Toffees to Sligo.

He said: “Rovers and Everton have enjoyed a shared history going back to Dixie Dean’s time here all the way to Seamie Coleman’s move to England, our strategic partnership and to the upcoming game here at the Showgrounds.

“We are excited to host Sean Dyche and the Everton first team.

“The game will further highlight the link between both clubs today and going into the future. We are looking forward to what will be a great day for Sligo Rovers, welcoming a Premier League club to the Showgrounds.”

Tickets go on sale at the Showgrounds from Tuesday morning at 10am.

Online sales will commence on Wednesday at 10am. Supporters of both Rovers and Everton can access tickets from here. The link will be posted on all social media channels on the day.

There are strictly no ticket sales over the phone.

Ticket pricing:
Adults €20
Concessions (OAPS and students) €15
U-12 €10