Rovers win in style as Kenny bags hat-trick

Sligo Rovers moved level at the top of the Premier Division as they smashed their way past Bohemians at the Showgrounds.

A Johnny Kenny hat-trick and Ryan De Vries’ maiden goal of the season, saw the Bit O’Red go level with fellow leaders Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic.

Rovers produced what was arguably their most impressive half of football this season.

Both striker Kenny and leading scorer Jordan Gibson fired speculative efforts wide of James Talbot’s goalmouth early on.

And both players were involved in Sligo’s opener on 13 minutes.

Gibson’s initial free-kick came back off the Bohs wall after wide man Mark Byrne was fouled at the edge of the visitor’s penalty area. The ball eventually came back to Gibson whose next effort took a touch off a defender before Talbot could only push the ball into the path of the waiting Kenny who fired home for his third goal of the year.

The alert Kenny was involved again soon after but couldn’t control his shot from out wide following a well weighted through ball from Niall Morahan.

A sluggish looking Bohs did have chances to register a goal in the first half. Ross Tierney failed to get the required power behind his side footed effort which was blocked by the foot of Rovers goalkeeper Ed McGinty.

Rory Feely’s looping header almost sneaked past McGinty on 27, while Tierney, allowed ghost into the Sligo area unwatched, smashed a great opportunity wide of the target moments after the hosts had their second.

Lewis Banks’ crossed and Kenny converted off Rob Cornwall.

The league’s leading scorer Georgie Kelly had the ball in the Sligo net early in the second half, only to be adjudged offside by the referee’s assistant on the Jinks’ Avenue side of the ground. While the same man was denied by McGinty who pounced on Kelly’s header from a bending Ciaran Kelly assist from deep.

But Sligo kept their foot on the pedal and had their third on 52.

De Vries’ hard work rewarded as he rescued what looked like a poor pass from Gibson, before calmly negotiating his way through the Bohs defence and finishing past Talbot for his first goal of the year.

The hungry Kenny and De Vries combined before the hour as the New Zealander sent the Riverstown teen through on goal. Kenny did well to shrug off the attention of the last defender but was left disappointed, as his drive bounced back off the post.

McGinty was called upon 15 minutes from time. The Glasgow native pulled off a terrific reaction save as Kelly’s header took a sudden change of direction after it came back off Banks’ knee.

A rampant Rovers had their fourth on 80 minutes. Gibson’s deft touch saw him spin his defender before he fed the now buzzing Kenny who coolly slotted past Talbot for his brace.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Shane Blaney, Regan Donelon (Colm Horgan 76); Greg Bolger (David Cawley 78), Niall Morahan; Ryan De Vries, Jordan Gibson, Mark Byrne; Johnny Kenny.

Bohemians: James Talbot; Rory Feely (James Finnerty 61), Rob Cornwall (Andy Lyons HT), Ciaran Kelly, Tyreke Wilson (Anto Breslin HT); Dawson Devoy, Keith Buckley (Conor Levingston 69); Ali Coote, Ross Tierney, Liam Burt (Keith Ward 61); Georgie Kelly.

Referee: Damien MacGraith.