Shamrock Rovers 1-0 Sligo Rovers
A first SSE Airtricity League Premier Division goal of the season from right-back Simon Madden maintained Shamrock Rovers’ revival under Pat Fenlon as the Hoops defeated Sligo Rovers 1-0 at Tallaght Stadium.
Fenlon’s reshaped side are now unbeaten in four games since he took charge and this was arguably their best performance since his appointment.
Starting much the better, the home side pressed Sligo high up the pitch to create a couple of early openings.
Stephen McPhail’s normally sublime left foot let him down as he blazed over the top after Karl Sheppard helped on Patrick Cregg’s cross in just the second minute.
Marty Waters was then alert to be first to a poor defensive header to shoot narrowly over the top a minute later.
Sligo were looking most unsure of themselves at back and Sheppard brought a save from Gary Rogers after Madden did well to cross from the end line.
Rogers then had to push another Sheppard shot round a post for the first corner of the night on the half-hour mark as the home side upped the tempo.
A minute later Fenlon’s side were deservedly ahead.
Sligo central defender Kalen Spillane came for but missed, heading Madden’s ball down the channel away to put Waters in behind him.
The winger then cut in and let rip with a stinging left-foot shot that Rogers will be disappointed he failed to hold. Madden followed up diligently to rifle the loose ball to the net.
Sligo got their first clear sight of goal on 40 minutes, but midfielder John Russell lacked composure in shooting well over the top from Conneely’s set-up.
Sean Maguire was equally poor with another chance for Sligo a minute before the interval, skying over the bar after Conneely again did the spade work.
The visitors had the first chance of the second half with Maguire ending a promising run by drilling wide across goal two minutes in.
Another weak headed clearance from an O’Connor cross teed the ball up nicely for Waters back at the other end on 54 minutes. The well-struck volley had just too much air on it as it flew over the bar.
Substitute Shane Robinson might also have done better late on when he volleyed straight at Rogers after Sheppard had chested down a cross in from the left.
Sligo had a stoppage time shout for a penalty, but substitute Ruairi Keating was booked for diving.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Luke Byrne; Robert Bayly; Marty Waters (Ciaran Kilduff 62), Patrick Cregg (Ronan Finn 69), Stephen McPhail, Sean O’Connor (Shane Robinson, 79); Karl Sheppard.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Gavin Peers, Kalen Spillane, Iarflaith Davoren; David Cawley, John Russell (Raffaele Cretaro 77), Paul O'Conor; Danny North (Ruairi Keating 77), Evan McMillan, Sean Maguire.
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).