Sligo Rovers 1
Shamrock Rovers 1
An excellent first half performance in front of a bumper crowd was not reciprocated in the second half at the Showgrounds tonight as Shamrock Rovers clawed back a goal, courtesy of a James Chambers penalty.
Sligo had taken the lead midway through the first half. They were definitely the more confident and assured side, at that juncture.
It was a perfect evening for the Airtricity league opener and with a large crowd, a full main stand and an estimated 3,000 supporters, including a sizeable travelling support, the kick off was delayed by ten minutes by officials.
The Hoops were already in a spot of bother before even kick off, as the travelling fans lit up flares, that will see them fined in the days ahead.
Sligo showed great flair and panache in the opening half and there was no surprise when former Hoops man Eoin Doyle netted from a Richie Ryan cross on 22 minutes; the Hoops net having been put under pressure on a number of occasions earlier.
Early in the second half the Hoops penalty equaliser was not welcomed at all by the home fans, who moments earlier had witnessed what only can have been described as an Academy Award performance from some of the Shamrock Rovers players in the Sligo box.
Without the hindsight of television until MNS on Monday night many in the crowd that were wearing the bit o’red felt aggrieved at the harshness of referee Buttimer’s decision to award a penalty, but it was cooly slotted home by Chambers at the train end.
Result was one that Sligo will not be happy with the upside is that the evening was so very well supported by soccer fans in the North West.
Sligo Rovers:Richard Brush; Paul Whelan, Gavin Peers, Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Gary McCabe (Dean Marshall 88), Danny Ventre (captain), Richie Ryan (Conor O’Grady 71), Eoin Doyle; Matthew Blinkhorn, Padraig Amond (Mark Doninger 71).
Subs not used:Ciaran Kelly, Mauro Almeida.
Booked:Ryan, Whelan, Peers, Doyle.
Shamrock Rovers:Alan Mannus; Pat Flynn, Dan Murray (captain), Aidan Price, Danny Murphy; Stephen Bradley (Dessie Baker 57 (Paddy Kavanagh 66)), Stephen Rice, James Chambers; Sean O’Connor, Billy Dennehy, Graham Barrett (Ollie Cahill 83).
Subs not used:Robert Hughes, Enda Stevens.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).