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Rovers and Mons prepare for historic final

Exercising demons is the order of the day for Rovers, but in-form Mons can aim for a first-ever cup win.

Sligo Rovers' Danny Ventre and John Dillon with Don Tierney and Brian Gartland of Monaghan United
Sligo Rovers' Danny Ventre and John Dillon with Don Tierney and Brian Gartland of Monaghan United
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

WHICHEVER SIDE WINS, history beckons for the winner of the EA Sports Cup.

The meeting of Sligo Rovers and Monaghan United is the first final since 2002 not to feature any Leinster sides, and also the first since 2002 to be hosted outside of Leinster. Sligo may well be red-hot favourites but Monaghan are the form side in the First Division- having lost just four of their last twenty-five league matches.

For a club with a history in the league stretching back to 1979, it seems a tad unbelievable that tomorrow will be the first-ever final in Monaghan’s history.

Cup finals are one thing that Rovers have not got fond memories of in their recent history. Last year, they played wonderful football on their way to the FAI Cup final. Just as they will tomorrow, Sligo faced First Division opposition in the shape of Sporting Fingal. They led 1-0 for most of the match before succumbing to a late double-salvo from Fingal, one thing which continues to haunt the Bit O’Red.

Paul Cook’s side will have to be wary tomorrow, even if they are red-hot favourites. Rovers, playing at homwe, have won just one of their last five in the league and will face a side with a better goalscoring record.

Monaghan have scored 51 goals this season- the most in either division. Add to their formidable attack a tough defence, and Mons are far from an outside bet to win tomorrow.

Riovers have lost their outstanding player this season- Padraig Amond- whose 17 league goals played no small role in pulling them up into fourth spot. Amond left for Pacos de Ferreira in the transfer window, and Sligo need to compensate for the gap he leaves.

The one thing which can be predicted for tomorrow is an entertaining match. Mons have, as previously noted, the best attacking record in the country, while Rovers have the second-best. Both sides have won plaudits for their attractive attacking play this season.

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