/ Soccer

Sligo Rovers 0-1 Shamrock Rovers

Updated: Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 18:31 | Comments

The win sees Shamrock Rovers move up to third place on 31 points Alan Keane scored for the wrong Rovers
The win sees Shamrock Rovers move up to third place on 31 points Alan Keane scored for the wrong Rovers

Shamrock Rovers moved to within four points of SSE Airtricity League leaders Dundalk courtesy of a 1-0 win over Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

The Hoops captured the lead on 41 minutes when Alan Keane turned the ball into his own net from a corner.

The away side were reduced to ten men five minutes before the final whistle when Gary McCabe was sent-off.

However, even this could not spur on a listless and limp Sligo attack, as the Dublin side eased to their ninth league victory of the season.

Defeat for the Showgrounds side now leaves Ian Baraclough's side 14 points off the top and effectively pushes them out of the title race.

The Bit o'Red were without Gavin Peers (knee), Joseph Ndo (calf), although there was some good news for the Showgrounds side on the injury front as captain Keane returned to the side.

Raffaele Cretaro returned to the bench having missed a large part of the season due to a calf injury. 

Baraclough made two changes to the side that was soundly beaten by Dundalk last week, as Keane and Seamus Conneely returned.

Trevor Croly made four adjustments to the starting side that played out a drab scoreless draw in last week's Dublin derby with Bohemians.

The Hoops were without the services of Stephen McPhail (rib), Luke Byrne (cartilage) and Sean Heaney (hamstring).

Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Ryan Brennan and Kieran Waters all returned for the Tallaght side.  

McGuinness saw his early effort drift wide of Gary Rogers' goal in the opening seconds, while John Russell tested Barry Murphy with a speculative shot from distance soon after. 

Sligo centre-half Jeff Henderson presented the Hoops with a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring on 12 minutes. His misplaced pass was intercepted by Brennan, who exchanged passes with Ronan Finn, before the latter dragged his shot wide from inside the area.

Rogers was called into duty on the 20-minute mark, when he did well to palm away a stinging Finn effort from the edge of the box.  

Finn had Sligo worried once more on 28 minutes. Robert Cornwall's cross from deep was laid on to the Shamrock Rovers playmaker by the head of Ciaran Kilduff. Finn, however, was unable to direct his shot below Rogers' crossbar.

Murphy had to use his legs to block away Conneely's shot from the angle after he was played in by Paul O'Conor with ten minutes of the half remaining.

The former Bohs netminder comfortably dealt with Danny North's volley moments later as Sligo seemed to grow in confidence.

Despite this, the game saw its only goal on 41 and it was the Tallaght side who claimed it.

McCabe's corner from the right caused all sorts of confusion in the Sligo box. Gaynor failed to clear the danger before the ball made its way to the back post, only for Keane to inadvertently place the ball beyond Rogers and into his own net.

The game was delayed for several moments due to some over-exuberant celebrations from a small section of the away support.

When the pitch was eventually cleared of both supporters and flares, Henderson saw his nodded effort from the angle pushed away by Murphy almost directly from the restart.

Kilduff passed up the first good chance of the second half on 53 from a quick Shamrock Rovers counter-attack, as he mishit his effort from ten yards.

The Hoops had McGuinness to thank 13 minutes into the second period, when he nodded Aaron Greene's header off the line, while Finn diverted Russell's attempt away to safety from the following corner.

Sligo turned up the pressure on their opponents and Murphy was again even to the Bit o'Red's efforts on the hour mark as he denied Keane. The Sligo full-back nodded wide two minutes later, as he latched on to the end of an excellent cross from Greene. 

The Yeatsmen were forced into a reshuffle midway through the second half due to injury. Keane and Henderson were withdrawn and Conneely slotted in at right-back and substitute Kalen Spillane deputised at centre-half. 

Murphy claimed substitute Danny Ledwith's driving shot from 20 yards at the second attempt on 77, as the Hoops continued to neutralise any sting that the Sligo attack offered. 

North's glancing header ran narrowly wide of Murphy's far post with six minutes remaining. 

The Dublin side were reduced to ten men on 85 minutes, as Gary McCabe received his second caution for a challenge on Conneely.

Hoops substitute Eamon Zayed almost put the result beyond doubt at the death. 

Ledwith hesitated on the wing, before Simon Madden skipped by the challenge of Gaynor.

Madden's cross was cleared momentarily before possession eventually fell to Zayed, who saw his viciously struck effort come off a Sligo defender and squeeze the wrong side of Rogers' near post.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane (Eric Odhiambo 73), Evan McMillan, Jeff Henderson (Kalen Spillane 70), Ross Gaynor; John Russell, David Cawley, Paul O'Conor (Danny Ledwith 64), Seamus Conneely, Aaron Greene; Danny North. 

Subs not used: Richard Brush, Regan Donelon, Sean Maguire, Raffaele Cretaro.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Robert Cornwall; Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn, Shane Robinson, Ryan Brennan (Robert Bayly 90), Kieran Waters (Sean O'Connor 73); Ciaran Kilduff (Eamon Zayed 82). 

Subs not used: Craig Hyland, David O'Connor, Karl Sheppard, Dean Kelly. 

Sent off: Gary McCabe (85).

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).

Elsewhere, there were wins in the FAI Ford Cup second round for Malahide United and Avondale United.

Four-time Intermediate Cup champions Avondale were 2-0 winners over Collinstown, while Malahide beat Mayfield United 3-1.

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