Sligo Rovers-3 Shamrock Rovers-0, The Showgrounds, Sligo 12th May
Sligo Rovers sent out a resounding challenge to the rest of the League on Saturday afternoon with an efficient display of football against Shamrock Rovers. The match was broadcasted live from the Showgrounds in Sligo.
The TV coverage was decent to begin with and the fact that it was mildly decent weather during the game was a big help. When the sun is shining Sligo and consequently the Showgrounds can be a real beautiful place, but if the weather is bad then it can feel like hell on earth. Which I may add is how many Sham’s fans will be feeling right now after their little sojourn down the railway tracks from Tallaght.
The opening half hour saw few chances as both teams tried to wrestle control of the game. Mark Quigley hit a beautiful, dipping 35 yard shot which bounced off the crossbar. Gary Twigg had a couple of half attempts for Shams which came to nothing. Danny Ventre and Quigley were attempting to dominate the game in the middle of the park. Ventre was tackling hard and Quigley’s moving and passing was intelligent creative.
The game’s first goal came through Quigley as he burst towards the Sham’s box. The defence didn’t really deal with the loose ball from a despairing lunge at the Sligo forward and it fell nicely for Danny North who drilled the ball low to the left. The keeper's positioning was all wrong for the goal but he was hardly solely at fault. The second Rovers goal came from a corner that was not cleared properly by the Shams defence. After some neat play from Sligo it was teed up nicely for young David Cawley to spectacularly hammer the ball home from outside the box. The ball hit the crossbar and flew into the back of the Shams net, replays showed that the ball did take a deflection but all in all, it still was a fantastic goal.
The second half was marred by some stupid lack of discipline from Shamrock Rovers when first Chris Turner got sent off for a straight red after what looked like a reaction punch/push on Alan Keane, who in fairness went down fierce easy. Graham Gartland then caught Raf Cretaro late near the side-line and, after the referee had allowed play to continue, was given a second yellow card which saw him walk.
North got a second goal from a wonderful pass from Danny Ventre, of all people. North had been running the channels diligently all day and finally a good ball came his way and he finished low and hard to the keepers right.
Sligo Rovers had a good few chances after that but they failed to punish Shams satisfactorily. In his post-match interview manager Ian Barraclough hinted at this, stating that goal difference could be important before the season is over. He was happy though with the overall performance.
It was a great game for Sligo Rovers and nothing should be taken away from any of the members of the team. The one criticism I would have though is that they should have been more lethal and really punished Shams. They were there for the taking and you get the feeling that a chance to really spank them was lost today. But like I said it was a great game all the same and as a Rovers supporter you have to be happy.