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Ten-man Sligo all but condemn UCD to relegation from Premier Division

Ronan Murray was sent off early in the first half, but it made little difference to the Bit O’Red.

Romeo Parkes (file photo)
Romeo Parkes (file photo)
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

UCD 0

Sligo Rovers 2

Dave Donnelly reports from the UCD Bowl 

TEN-MAN SLIGO Rovers produced a stunning performance to blitz past UCD and all but condemn the Students to relegation back to the First Division.

The Bit o’ Red played more than three-quarters of the game with ten men following Ronan Murray’s red card but were full value for the their fifth win of the season over UCD.

David Cawley saw his corner sail through the hands of UCD keeper Conor Kearns before Romeo Parkes delivered the killer blow on the stroke of half time.

There appeared little prospect of such an outcome after 19 minutes when Murray’s straight red card looked poised to set up the visitors for a difficult evening.

The striker went in late on Harry McEvoy and referee Neil Doyle had little option but to produce a red as the UCD defender writhed on the edge of his box.

The Mayo man certainly out of control and left his impression on McEvoy’s shin, but some allowance must be made for the slick surface that saw players lose their footing repeatedly.

The same mitigation could be made for Kearns when he inadvertently bundled Cawley’s corner into his own net just past the half-hour.

The midfielder dropped his set-piece right on top of the netminder, who recently returned from a six-game ban, but what looked a simple catch slipped through his fingers.

Parkes dropped back into midfield as Sligo operated without a central striker for the rest of the half and the tactical switch worked as Liam Buckley’s side enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball.

They could hardly have predicted they would take a two-goal lead into the break, but Parkes burst free as the clock ticked past 45 minutes and checked inside before calmly side-footing past Kearns.

Upon the resumption, the Students injected the tempo they lacked in the first half but they found Bit o’ Red keeper Ed McGinty equal to anything they could muster.

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Jason McClelland looked to have pulled one back as he finished a slick move with a powerful low drive but the Scottish-born keeper got down wonderfully to palm the ball away.

Sligo had chances of their own on the break and Kearns made up for his early error by denying substitute Niall Watson.

McGinty was on top form once more to deny the lively Dara Keane and again to prevent Sam Byrne from bundling the ball home from a corner.

In spite of UCD’s pressure, the visitors always looked the more likely to add to their lead, with Kearns pulling off a stunning double stop to deny Parkes and Cawley in quick succession.

Sam Byrne missed two late chances for UCD as they pushed for an unlikely route back into the game but, with just four games left, the Students’ chancing of staying up look ever more remote.

UCD: Kearns; Tobin, Scales, McEvoy, Farrell; Doyle, Keane, O’Farrell; Dignam (Byrne 57), McClelland, Mahdy

Sligo Rovers: McGinty; Banks, McFadden, Mahon, Kane (Watson 46); Cawley, Fordyce, Murray; Twardek, Donelon (Morahan 69), Parkes

Referee: Neil Doyle.

 

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Dave Donnelly

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