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Shamrock Rovers score 88th minute equaliser against Sligo

Sligo Rovers took the lead in the 82nd minute.

Sligo’s John Mahon with Sean Hoare of Rovers after the game.
Sligo’s John Mahon with Sean Hoare of Rovers after the game.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

AN 88TH MINUTE own goal earned Shamrock Rovers a late point at The Showgrounds, just six minutes after Sligo Rovers took the lead.

Walter Figueira’s speculative shot somehow went under the Hoops goalkeeper Alan Mannus on 82 minutes to give the hosts the lead.

But, the Bit O’Red were under pressure to defend their lead in the dying minutes, and were undone when Rory Gaffney’s ball was sent into the home net by defender John Mahon.

The hosts came into this fixture hoping to continue their strong start to the season which has seen them pick up seven points from a possible nine. Liam Buckley made one change to the side that beat Longford Town last week, with David Cawley dropping to the bench in place of Walter Figueira.

Stephen Bradley’s side are favourites to claim the league title again this season, and despite the fact they had only two games under their belt prior to their Showgrounds visit, they are still the team to beat for many.

The Dubliners also made one change to their team from the previous week when they defeated Dundalk, with Dylan Watts coming in for Sean Gannon.

The Hoops started brightly and forced Bit O’Red ‘keeper Ed McGinty to make an early save after two minutes when he had to force away a Graham Burke shot.

It took some time for the hosts to settle in the game, with former Shamrock Rovers man Greg Bolger almost opening the scoring against his former side, but Alan Mannus was on hand to make the vital save.

In an evenly contested first-half, the home side defended well to keep out the attacking force of the visitors.

The defending league champions had some defending to do on the cusp of half-time, with Robbie McCourt’s free kick from the edge of the box just drifting wide.

Clear cut chances were few and far between, but the Bit O’Red almost broke the deadlock ten minutes after the restart, as Jordan Gibson’s cross somehow found former Derry City man Figueira at the far post, but the Londoner’s shot from close range kissed the side netting.

There were angry protests from Shamrock Rovers around the hour mark as they felt the ball hit a Sligo Rovers hand following Chris McCann’s surge into the box, but all protests were shushed by referee Derek Tomney who didn’t see it that way.

Sean Hoare made up for giving the ball back to his opponents too easily, as he got his body in the way to block the resulting cross in from Gibson.

The Bit O’Red were beginning to turn up the dial, and a tame looking long range effort from Figueira somehow trickled under Mannus in the Hoops goal to give the men in red an 82nd minute lead.

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The sides were almost level straight from the restart when Mandriou’s shot was forced over by McGinty, with Lee Grace’s header coming close.

Knowing the clock was ticking down, the Hoops were piling on the pressure, and they were back on level terms on 88 minutes when substitute Rory Gaffney’s cross appeared to be helped into the net by Sligo man John Mahon, although Gaffney was credited.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Colm Horgan, John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt; Jordan Gibson, Greg Bolger, Niall Morahan, Walter Figueira, Romeo Parkes, Johnny Kenny (Ryan De Vries, 46).

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Lee Grace, Sean Hoare, Liam Scales, Sean Kavanagh, Ronan Finn (Sean Gannon, 78), Danny Mandriou, Dylan Watts, Chris McCann, Graham Burke (Rory Gaffney), Aaron Greene.

Referee: Derek Tomney.

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About the author:

Jessica Farry

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