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Gaffney's goal sends Shamrock Rovers six points clear at top of Premier Division

A valuable away win tonight in Sligo for the leaders.

Rory Gaffney celebrates scoring his goal.
Rory Gaffney celebrates scoring his goal.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 0

Shamrock Rovers 1

Jessica Farry reports from Showgrounds

SHAMROCK ROVERS MOVED six points clear at the top of the Premier Division table, as Rory Gaffney’s first-half strike was the difference as the Hoops sealed all three points against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds.

Gaffney scored in the 26th minute. which proved enough for all three points creating a cushion at the top.

The current league champions were travelling to Sligo hoping to push further ahead of St. Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the table, with the gap at three points prior to tonight’s game, the Hoops with two games in hand on their Inchicore counterparts.

Four wins in their last five league games have kept Stephen Bradley’s men at the summit of the table as they look to hold onto their title for another year at least.

The hosts have turned around a dreadful run of form that saw them lose seven consecutive games, four of those in the league.

They came into this fixture on the back of two consecutive wins, which have seen them move to within five points of the Saints.

In a Showgrounds that was packed to capacity within current guidelines, it was the Dubliners who were first to test the opposition defence as a dangerous ball from Gaffney was cleared by Colm Horgan, filling in for the injured Lewis Banks.

Ed McGinty’s save on 19 minutes denied Gaffney from Towell’s cross, with the former Dundalk man alert to get on the end of the loose ball, flicking it well over the bar.

Horgan glanced over from Adam McDonnell’s free-kick in what was a scrappy start.
On 26 minutes, the Tallaght men were ahead. The initial shot was saved by McGinty, with Gaffney’s follow up tucked into the net through the legs of the Bit O’Red netminder.

The hosts knew they would need to win this game to give themselves an outside chance of title contention coming into the last series of games.

A powerful effort from Andre Wright was blocked by the Hoops defence, before McGinty saved from Watts and Gaffney.

Wright headed wide from a corner just before half-time, as close as the home side would come to levelling the tie in the first half.

Greg Bolger’s effort was directed wide just before the hour mark, as the Hoops dealt with everything that was thrown their way by the hosts.

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Gaffney almost hit the double on 65 minutes, but McGinty was well positioned to force it wide.

Melvyn Lorenzen blasted wide on 90 minutes as Liam Buckley’s side desperately tried to find a late equaliser.

Richie Towell almost made certain of all three points on 94 minutes, but McGinty just did enough to deny the Hoops a second.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Colm Horgan, John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt, Walter Figueira, David Cawley, Adam McDonnell, Greg Bolger, Ryan DeVries (Merlvyn Lorenzen, 67), Andre Wright.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Ronan Finn (Neil Farrugia, 83), Barry Cotter, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Gannon, Gary O’Neill, Dylan Watts, Danny Mandroiu (Chris McCann, 82), Richie Towell, Rory Gaffney (Aidomo Emakhu, 87).
Referee: Neil Doyle.

About the author:

Jessica Farry

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