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We’ve gone minute-by-minute at the Showgrounds.

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Sligo Rovers 3-0 Shamrock Rovers

It’s a glorious afternoon for a game of football and we’re in Sligo for the meeting of two of the Premier Division’s biggest rivals.

With a third of the season played, the Bit O’Red have gone unbeaten to become early frontrunners in the title race. The Hoops sit five points adrift of them in third after that shock 5-1 defeat to St Pat’s last month and several draws in recent weeks.

Kick-off is 25 minutes away.

New boss Ian Baraclough looked to have a tough task on his hands with little time to settle at his new club but has done a fine job so far. On today’s fixture, he seems far from impressed by the early start:

“The changing kick-off times have not suited the supporters or the club and this week is something the players have to adjust to,” he said.

The Showgrounds is at it’s best on a Saturday night but I know the fans will try to get behind us as best they can and hopefully they’ll see a good game between two of the best sides in the country.”

Team news is as follows:

Sligo Rovers: Rogers, Davoren, Keane, McGuinness, Peers, Boco, Cawley, Gaynor, Ventre, North, Quigley. Subs: Brush, Cretaro, Dillon, Dykes, Lynch, Millien, Owens.

Shamrock Rovers: Pieterse, Gartland, Gilbert, Powell, Sives, Brennan, Kavanagh, McCabe, Rice, Turner, Twigg. Subs: Jansson, Dennehy, Greene, Hawkins, McCormack, O’Donnell, O’Neill.

Sligo have Alan Keane back in their starting line-up after recovering from a knee injury, while Danny North and Mark Quigley start up front together. Joseph Ndo is out.

For the visitors, 19-year-old South African stopper Reyaad Pieterse is between the sticks for the first time in a Premier Division match. Former Sligo boss Paul Cook is back at the Showgrounds as part of RTE’s panel, meanwhile.

Off we go then.

Gary Rogers is called into action andconfidently collects a free-kick, which is lofted into the box from deep.

Five minutes have passed without a shot on goal. The away team have had the majority of possession during these early moments.

Gary Twigg is first to react to a ball played into the Sligo box and forces Rogers into a decent save. The corner comes to nothing but Danny Ventre has just conceded a free, which McCabe takes.

Twigg leaps highest but directs the effort over the bar.

Corner to Sligo now. Ross Gaynor uses the wind to his advantage and whips it to the back post. Killian Brennan is on hand to put behind for another attempt. This time Gaynor’s delivery is volleyed by Mark Quigley, but blocked for a third set-piece in succession. Finally a let-off for Shamrock Rovers, as it results in a goal-kick.

Referee Tomas Connelly brandishes a yellow card in the direction of Graham Gartland after the defender brings North down. Jason McGuinness, up from the back, heads off-target but it matters little as the linesman has his flag up.

Quigley is inches away from taking the lead with what would’ve been a cracking goal. He receives a pass just inside the opposing half and advances a couple of yards before attempting a chip over the head of Pieterse from distance. It’s dipping but crashes off the crossbar and comes back into play.

Daryl Kavanagh looks in the mood today and turns his man before Gavin Peers takes him out. Peers is the next man into the referee’s book for that challenge.

Another terrific chance for the home team. Peers boots the ball long and North has the pace to latch onto it before two defenders. The former St Pat’s man skips by Pieterse but shoots wide from what is admittedly a narrow angle.

There’s a stoppage here as Rogers is down receiving treatment after taking a knock trying to clear a McCabe cross.

GOAL! Sligo Rovers 1-0 Shamrock Rovers (Danny North)

Quigley runs at the Rovers defence but is dispossessed by a last-ditch challenge from Killian Brennan. The ball falls to North, who is given a huge chunk of the goal to shoot into by Pieterse, and he duly obliges. The Showgrounds erupts.

GOAL! Sligo Rovers 2-0 Shamrock Rovers (David Cawley)

Cawley, playing his second game for Sligo, scores his first goal of the season with a looping striker from the edge of the area.

Soft yellow card given to Kavanagh as we reach the 45-minute mark. Two additional ones to be played.

Half-time: Sligo Rovers 2-0 Shamrock Rovers

Sticking the kettle on. Back in a tick.

Second half is underway here and the Hoops will want to pull one back early on if they are to have a chance of coming away from here with something.

Attack down the left through Brennan and Conor Powell, but the former Bohs defenders cross is cleared. Tigg then has a strike which is parried by Rogers and booted away but they’re still in possession.

RED CARD FOR CHRIS TURNER

The away side are down to ten men and have it all to do now. Turner is late on Ventre and a free is awarded. Alan Keane isn’t happy with the tackle and shoves the Rovers midfielder. Turner pushes him back in the chest and Keane makes an absolute meal of it by holding his face.

Stupid reaction from Turner but if Tomas Connelly was being consistent, it should have been both players off or neither.

Danny Ventre on the ground and surrounded by both sets of players. Credit: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

North should really have put the result beyond doubt there but managed to let a guilt-edge chances go begging.

Ian Baraclough has just taken off goalscorer Cawley for Lee Lynch as Romauld Box fires over on the turn, meanwhile.

With Shamrocks Rovers pushing on in search of a goal, there is space being left at the back. Boco is away down the right and squares the ball to Quigley, who lays off to Lynch. The substitute leans back though and the shot sails high.

Billy Dennehy is on for Powell and Aaron Greene will face his former side by replacing Kavanagh.

A bottle comes flying from the stands and catches Keane on the back. Never something you want to see.

Pieterse pulls off a great stop from Gaynor’s cross but can’t save it from going out for a corner. Colin Hawkins is introduced for Sives and Sligo take off Boco, with John Dillon making his entrance.

GOAL! Sligo Rovers 3-0 Shamrock Rovers (Danny North)

That’s the three points wrapped up as North heads to the top of the goalscoring charts. He beats Pieterse at his near post after a neat through-ball.

Rafa Cretaro is Sligo’s third and final change. He comes on for Mark Quigley, who gets a rousing reception.

RED CARD FOR GRAHAM GARTLAND

Second yellow for the Shamrock Rovers defender, whose trailing leg knocks Cretaro over. They have been poor from a disciplinary point of view this afternoon. Nine men for the closing minutes.

Full-time: Sligo Rovers 3-0 Shamrock Rovers

We put a big statement out to the league today,” man of the match Danny Ventre tells RTE Sport. “To be fair, Shams tried hard but we had a lot more hunger and desire to win the game. We’ve got a great goalscorer at the minute – Danny and Mark are the bit of class that we need.”

Bit O’Red boss Ian Baraclough:

We talked about putting a marker down today. I was delighted with the intensity and we did the simple things well today. In the second half we could’ve passed it a little better but I can’t take anything away from the lads.”

Rico claims that the Shamrock Rovers players “let the club down” today. Once the first goal went in, several heads seemed to drop and the two sendings off were careless. It’s still early days but Stephen Kenny has a number of issues to resolve, it seems.

That win puts Sligo six points clear of St Pat’s at the top with the Hoops a further two points back.

That’s it from me. The next liveblog coming up on TheScore is Leinster’s RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final with Glasgow this evening. The action begins at 7.30pm but our man Sean will be up and running from 7 so make sure to join him.

About the author:

Ben Blake

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