Eoin Doyle got his third goal of the season to give Sligo Rovers a deserved 1-0 win over Galway United in the Connacht derby at The Showgrounds.
Doyle struck for the game’s only goal on 64 minutes, when he fired home from close range, after Matthew Blinkhorn headed substitute John Dillon’s cross into his path.
Rovers made one change to the side that drew with both Shamrock Rovers and Sporting Fingal already this season, with Mark Doninger handed his first start and Danny Ventre switching to full-back.
Galway also made one change from the side that defeated Bray last time out, with Stephen O’Donnell returning from suspension in place of Sligo native Gary Curran, who dropped to the bench.
A scoreless first half did produce a couple of chances at either end. Rovers striker Padraig Amond had the first when he headed straight at Barry Ryan from Iarfhlaith Davoren’s pass.
Amond was again in the thick of it on 13 minutes, when he capitalised on a mistake by Thomas Heary and broke through on goal.
Heary tried to recover and collided with Amond in the box, but appeals from the home crowd for a penalty were dismissed by referee Declan Hanney.
At the other end, wingers Derek O’Brien and Bobby Ryan both tried their luck with shots from outside the area, but both efforts narrowly missed the target.
The best chance of the half fell to Eoin Doyle when he got in behind the Galway defence, but squared for an offside Amond instead of taking the shot on himself, and the chance was lost.
Mark Doninger did put the ball in the Galway net in the opening minute of the second half, but he too was offside when he latched onto Doyle’s pass.
Rovers introduced Dillon and Conor O’Grady as the hour-mark approached, and twice went close to opening the scoring.
The first came when Doninger controlled Davoren’s pass into the path of Amond, who fired narrowly over. Then Doninger went close himself after he was set up by Matthew Blinkhorn.
The goal eventually came on 64 minutes, however, as Doyle finished from close range after Blinkhorn knocked Dillon’s cross back across goal.
Galway responded by sending on James Creaney and Gary Curran, but despite late appeals for a penalty when O’Donnell went down in the area, Rovers secured their first league win of the season.
Sligo Rovers: 1 Richard Brush; 2 Danny Ventre (c), 4 Gavin Peers, 5 Alan Keane, 3 Iarfhlaith Davoren; 7 Gary McCabe (13 John Dillon 53), 6 Mark Doninger (15 Mauro Almeida 81), 8 Richie Ryan (12 Conor O’Grady 58), 11 Eoin Doyle; 9 Matthew Blinkhorn, 10 Padraig Amond.
Subs not used: 14 Steve Feeney, 17 Ciaran Kelly.
Galway United: 1 Barry Ryan (c); 2 Seamus Conneely, 4 Thomas Heary, 5 Jamie MacKenzie, 14 Rhys Meynell; 7 Bobby Ryan, 6 Ciaran Foley (16 Gary Curran 73), 8 Stephen O’Donnell, 11 Derek O’Brien; 9 Jason Molloy (3 James Creaney 69), 10 Karl Sheppard.
Subs not used: 15 Tom King, 17 Cian McBrien, 20 Paul Sinnott.
Referee: Declan Hanney (Dublin).