Sligo Rovers boss John Russell. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Spoils shared as Sligo and Galway meet in first Connacht derby in seven years

The Tribesmen’s last win at The Showgrounds was in 2003 in the FAI Cup.

Sligo Rovers 0

Galway United 0

SLIGO ROVERS AND Galway United could not be separated in the first Connacht derby since 2017, playing out a scoreless draw at The Showgrounds on Monday evening.

The visitors move up to fifth, while the Bit O’Red stay in seventh place. The Connacht derby took place nine days later than originally scheduled after the League of Ireland made the decision to postpone the game due to Storm Kathleen.

Galway travelled to the Showgrounds on the back of Friday’s win over the league leaders Shelbourne, giving John Caulfield’s men a huge boost. The home side had not won in their previous three league games, but their history with Galway may have given them some hope.

The Tribesmen’s last win at The Showgrounds was in 2003 in the FAI Cup, while their last league win at the venue was 1996.

For John Russell, the return of Simon Power from suspension was a boost, while both Max Mata and Fabrice Hartmann passed late fitness tests.

Galway, whose manager John Caulfield was serving a suspension for this game, made four changes from the side that beat Shelbourne. Conor McCormack missed out through suspension, while Conor O’Keeffe, Vincent Borden and Aodh Dervin all dropped to the bench. Wassim Aouachria, Jeannot Esau, Karl O’Sullivan and Maurice Nugent all came into the team.

John Russell’s side felt they should have had a penalty after two minutes, but referee Eoghan O’Shea saw nothing wrong with Al-Amin Kazeem’s challenge on Ellis Chapman.
Simon Power thought he gave his side the lead on 25 minutes as he drove an effort across goal, but with Brendan Clarke beaten, the post got in the way. Chapman couldn’t gather his feet for the follow up, blasting over the bar from close range.

Wassim Aouachria was causing problems up top early on and almost put the visitors in front as he capitslised on Ollie Denham’s error at the back. The home side had Ed McGinty to thank as his fingertips forced the shot wide.

Max Mata, who has four goals to his name this season, was wondering how he didn’t score on 30 minutes as Fabrice Hartmann’s corner fell perfectly for him. The New Zealand international couldn’t gather himself in time, and forced it wide.

Stephen Walsh charged through on goal before half-time, and his powerful drive from a tricky angle came off the crossbar.

Chances were few and far between in the second half, with the Tribesmen looking more threatening. Stefan Radosavljevic did squander a great opportunity for the hosts, but Brendan Clarke was rarely troubled.

Ed McGinty was kept on his toes throughout, and had to be alert to save from Rob Slevin late on.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; JR Wilson, Charlie Wiggett, Ollie Denham, Reece Hutchinson; Niall Morahan, Connor Malley; Simon Power (Stefan Radosavljevic 57), Ellis Chapman (Rein Smit 79), Fabrice Hartmann (Will Fitzgerald HT); Max Mata (Wilson Waweru 73).

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Rob Slevin, Killian Brouder, Maurice Nugent (Conor O’Keefe 76); Jeannot Esua, Al-Amin Kazeem; David Hurley; Ed McCarthy (Aodh Dervan 67), Karl O’Sullivan (Francely Lomoboto 83); Stephen Walsh, Wassim Aouachria (Vincent Borden HT).

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea.

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