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Dublin: 13°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Champions Dundalk beaten again after Sligo come out on top of first-half storm

Romeo Parkes and Dante Leverock scored the goals as the Bit O’Red won 2-1 at The Showgrounds.

The hosts were 2-1 winners.
The hosts were 2-1 winners.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 2

Dundalk 1

CHAMPIONS DUNDALK SUFFERED their second consecutive defeat as they were defeated 2-1 by Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds in a pulsating encounter in the North West.

Rovers took the lead seconds after kick-off thanks to Romeo Parkes, but Pat Hoban levelled the scoring half way through the half. Before half-time, Dante Leverock made it 2-1 to secure a well deserved victory for the Bit O’Red who had been struggling in previous games.

The hosts came into this game on the back of three consecutive league defeats, sitting second bottom of the table have suffered five defeats in their first eight games.

The Lilywhites knew that a victory in The Showgrounds combined with a defeat for Bohemian against Finn Harps, the Louth side would move into second.

The defending champions were able to name an unchanged side to the one that was beaten by St. Patrick’s Athletic last week, while Liam Buckley once again had to shuffle the pack with two changes, having not been able to name an unchanged side once this season.

Dundalk’s hopes of bouncing back from that defeat to Pats were given an early blow when the Bit O’Red took the lead after a mere 27 seconds.

Ronan Coughlan got the best of Sean Gannon before flicking it into the bank of Lewis Banks. The 21-year-old spotted the run of Parkes, and the Jamaican tucked it neatly past Gary Rogers before the fans had even taken their seats.

John Dunleavy celebrates his side's second goal Sligo's John Dunleavy celebrates one of his side's goals. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

It should have been 2-0 to Liam Buckley’s side when Daryl Fordyce worked his way through on goal, but with just Rogers to beat, he sent it inches wide.

The opening stages were completely dominated by Sligo, Parkes was next to trouble the visitors’ defence when he left Brian Gartland for dead, watching on as his close range shot smacked the far post.

Dundalk were struggling, but they were literally handed a lifeline on 23 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Kyle Callan McFadden handled the ball in the box.
Pat Hoban’s penalty was saved by Rovers keeper Ed McGinty on the opening day of the season, but he made no mistake this time slotting past Mitchell Beeney to level the scoring.

The talk before the game surrounded the statement by Sligo Rovers’ supporters group which mentioned an anti-FAI chant on the 33rd minute, the chant did indeed happen alongside a bannter unfurled by Bit O’Red fans which simply state ‘Delaney out’.

Rovers’ momentum was killed for a little bit following the equaliser, but they found it once again before half-time.

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Sligo fans unveil a banner during the first-half Fans at The Showgrounds display a banner. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

David Cawley’s corner was flicked on by Parkes with Bermuda captain Dante Leverock getting the final touch to send it into the back of the net, giving Rovers a well deserved 2-1 lead at the interval.

Fordyce almost extended Rovers’ lead further mid-way through the second-half when he nodded Coughlan’s corner towards goal, but a great save from former Sligo ‘keeper Rogers prevented the 32-year-old from getting on the score-sheet.

Dundalk piled the pressure on the Rovers rearguard in the last ten minutes, but the strong and determined Sligo defence did not give in and they recorded a precious three points.

Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Johnny Dunleavy, Dante Leverock, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Kyle Callan-McFadden, David Cawley, Jack Keaney (Niall Morahan, 89), Daryl Fordyce; Romeo Parkes (Kris Twardek, 74), Ronan Coughlan.

Subs: Luke McNicholas, Sam Warde, Brian Morley, John Russell, Liam Kerrigan.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Brian Gartland (John Mountney, 46), Dane Massey; Sean Hoare, Sean Murray (Joe McKee, 68), Jamie McGrath; Daniel Kelly (George Kelly, 64), Pat Hoban, Michael Duffy.

Subs: Aaron McCarey, Jordan Flores, Cameron Dummigan, Dean Jarvis.

Referee: Rob Rogers

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Jessica Farry

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