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Clash of the Rovers ends level as Sligo hold league runners-up at home

The Bit O’Red moved five points ahead of Waterford as they look to cement sixth place.

Shamrock Rovers' Sean Kavanagh and Kris Twardek of Sligo.
Shamrock Rovers' Sean Kavanagh and Kris Twardek of Sligo.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 0

Shamrock Rovers 0

Jessica Farry reports from The Showgrounds

SLIGO ROVERS MOVED five points ahead of Waterford as they look to cement sixth place, following a scoreless draw with Shamrock Rovers at The Showgrounds.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy was present, watching on as Jack Byrne took on Sligo Rovers.

With the visitors confirmed as runners up this season, and rivals Bohs sitting 12 points behind, they travelled to Sligo under very little pressure.

But with a FAI Cup final against champions Dundalk coming up, retaining momentum would be the Hoops’ aim.

Sligo came into this game in sixth place, four points ahead of Waterford (who they face on Tuesday night) and seven points behind St. Patrick’s Athletic who occupy fifth.

Their FAI Cup semi-final to Dundalk the previous week was not an easy pill to swallow for the Bit O’Red.

mick-mccarthy Mick McCarthy watched on tonight. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

When the two sides previously met at The Showgrounds in May, Liam Buckley’s charges emerged victorious. The Tallaght men were comfortable winners in their first meeting of the season, while they could not be separated during their most recent game in Tallaght, despite an utterly dominant performance from the Dubliners.

The Bit O’Red, playing without a recognised striker due to the absence of Ronan Coughlan, Ronan Murray and Romeo Parkes, started the game well with Regan Donelon in a great position to break the deadlock, but he could not get on the end of Kris Twardek’s excellent ball in.

The Bit O’Red netminder Ed McGinty had to be alert on a number of occasions to keep out opportunities from Aaron McEneff and Aaron Greene.

The hosts should have taken the lead when David Cawley’s curling free-kick was headed straight at Mannus by Danny Kane.

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Ethan Boyle’s tameless looking shot was spilled by McGinty in the Sligo goals, but his captain Kyle Callan McFadden was on hand to clear the danger.

An outstanding save from Mannus kept the game scoreless as the former St Johnstone man just got his fingertips to an excellent free-kick from Cawley before half-time.

Mannus, in his second spell with the Hoops, pulled off another excellent save after the re-start when Niall Morahan initiated an impressive attack from Sligo, with the 37-year-old coming off his line to keep out Banks’ dangerous ball in.

jack-kene-and-jack-byrne Jack Byrne on the ball. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The Dubliners should have been ahead after the hour mark. John Mahon slipped and was dispossessed by Ronan Finn. The ex-Dundalk man just had McGinty to beat, but the former Celtic youth made himself look big, and Finn hit it straight at him.

Aaron Greene hit the crossbar on the counter-attack after the hosts thought they should have had a penalty, when Donelon went down in the box, but Graham Kelly was not interested.

Brandon Kavanagh’s effort was just off target, before Mannus had to make a vital save at the death to prevent the Bit O’Red from snatching all three points.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Niall Morahan, Kyle Callan McFadden, John Mahon, Lewis Banks, Danny Kane, David Cawley, Sam Warde (Johnny Dunleavy, 92), Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Brian Morley, 84), Kris Twardek,

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Ethan Boyle, Roberto Lopes, Daniel Lafferty (Dylan Watts, 82), Ronan Finn, Aaron McEneff, Sean Kavanagh, Gary O’Neill, Jack Byrne (Brandon Kavanagh, 70), Graham Cummins (Graham Burke, 66), Aaron Greene.

Referee: Graham Kelly.

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About the author:

Jessica Farry

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