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Incredible long-range goal the highlight, as Dundalk secure European spot despite loss

It was a good night for Sligo Rovers, who also could play in Europe next season.

File photo of Ronan Coughlan
File photo of Ronan Coughlan
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Dundalk 0

Sligo Rovers 2

Niall Newberry reports from Oriel Park

DUNDALK WILL COMPETE in Europe for the eighth year running in 2021, even after losing 2-0 at home to Sligo Rovers on the final night of a truncated SSE Airtricity League campaign.

Despite what was an abysmal display from Filippo Giovagnoli’s side, Waterford’s failure to win at Finn Harps means that Dundalk will again play in European competition next season.

An unbelievable goal from Jesse Devers in the first half, along with Ronan Coughlan’s belter in injury-time, saw Sligo finish in fourth which, depending on the FAI Cup, could be enough to secure European participation in 2021 as well.

With some supporters, using the aid of pyrotechnics, making their presence known outside the ground seconds before the kick-off, it was Dundalk that had the first shot in anger, but Jordan Flores’ attempt from distance was easily handled by Sligo’s goalkeeper, Ed McGinty.

The Bit O’Red, who were bottom of table prior to the league’s disruption back in March, knew they could still finish as high as fourth coming into this game and it wasn’t long before they showed they meant business, with Coughlan flashing a header wide of the mark.

Much has been written about Dundalk goalkeepers in recent times and it was another possible misjudgement that allowed Sligo to take the lead inside the first 10 minutes.

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It was Devers that sent in what looked like a cross from the right from about 40 yards, but the ball, somehow, soared beyond Gary Rogers, who was caught completely off guard.

Sligo went in search of more goals against a lacklustre Dundalk and after Flores had
lost possession, Coughlan unleashed a shot which was straight down the throat of
Rogers.

Both teams had excellent chances before the half-time break and, from a Stefan
Colovic corner, Brian Gartland looked to have levelled for Dundalk, but his header
was somehow kept out by McGinty in what was a truly world-class save from the
young Sligo stopper.

At the other end, Sligo really should have doubled their advantage when Junior
Ogedi-Uzokwe found himself unmarked, but he scuffed his attempt straight at the
grateful Rogers.

Dundalk knew they were going to need a major improvement as the second half commenced and Seán Hoare’s cross found David McMillan, but McGinty was again
on hand to save.

Things had petered out after that, but Sligo sealed victory in the fifth minute of
stoppage-time, with Coughlan’s shot from distance making it 2-0, bringing a fitting
end to a truly forgettable league season for Dundalk.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Seán Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Cameron
Dummigan (Darragh Leahy 84); Greg Sloggett, Jordan Flores (John Mountney 74);
Stefan Colovic, Seán Murray (Seán Gannon HT), Nathan Oduwa; Patrick Hoban
(David McMillan 45).

Sligo Rovers: Edward McGinty; Lewis Banks, Garry Buckley, John Mahon, Regan
Donelon (Alex Cooper 65); Jesse Devers, David Cawley, Niall Morahan (Will
Seymore 79), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe; Ryan De Vries (Darragh Noone 74), Ronan
Coughlan.

Referee: Derek Tomney

About the author:

Niall Newberry

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