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Dundalk settle for a point as Sligo's 19-year-old goalkeeper provides man-of-the-match display

Ed McGinty saved a first-half penalty as Liam Buckley’s Bit O’Red enjoyed a share of the spoils.

McGinty brought Robbie Benson down for a penalty in the first half.
McGinty brought Robbie Benson down for a penalty in the first half.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Dundalk 1

Sligo Rovers 1

Keith Wallace reports from Oriel Park

VINNY PERTH WAS forced to settle for a point in his first SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game in charge of reigning champions Dundalk, who had to come from behind to draw 1-1 with Sligo Rovers on opening night at Oriel Park.

Not since 2010 has a new Dundalk manager tasted victory in his first league fixture, but while a fresh face as head coach, it was a team of familiar names as Perth selected the same starting XI that defeated Cork City in both the FAI Cup and President’s Cup finals.

Sligo also had a new man at the helm, with 2013 league-winning boss Liam Buckley giving captain Kyle McFadden a midfield role as the Bit O’ Red set about stifling the hosts.

Their 19-year-old goalkeeper Ed McGinty was at the centre of the action on six minutes when he took out Robbie Benson in the box, the midfielder forced off on a stretcher with an ankle injury. After a five-minute delay Patrick Hoban stepped up but McGinty got down to his right to save and hold the penalty.

Seán Murray – who replaced Benson – should have made his mark midway through the first half when Dane Massey delivered a pinpoint left-wing cross, but the recent signing diverted the ball off target from close in.

The 2018 double winners would go into the break trailing as, totally against the run of play, Jack Keaney silenced the large home support with a fabulous 30-yard free-kick which flew into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Gary Rogers.

Dundalk struck back four minutes into the second half when Murray drilled to the net from the edge of the box after Hoban laid the ball into his path. That should have given the hosts the impetus to go on and take all three points but try as they – and Murray in particular – might, the winner proved elusive.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Seán Gannon, Brian Gartland (c), Seán Hoare, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Seán Murray 11), John Mountney (Daniel Kelly 74), Patrick McEleney (Georgie Kelly 83), Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban.

SLIGO ROVERS: Edward McGinty, Johnny Dunleavy, Dante Leverock, John Mahon, Regan Donelon, Kyle McFadden (c), Jack Keaney, Kris Twardek, Daryl Fordyce (Niall Morahan 83), Liam Kerrigan (Ronan Coughlan 87), Romeo Parkes.

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Keith Wallace

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