Rovers unbeaten run ended
GALWAY UNITED SLIGO ROVERS
SLIGO Rovers’ seven game unbeaten run was brought to a halt at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night as they suffered a disheartening 3-1 defeat at the hands of fellow relegation candidates Galway United.
Rovers initially took the lead in the first half thanks to Kyle Callan McFadden, before Marc Ludden made it 1-1 just before half-time.
Kevin Devaney and Gavan Holohan piled misery on the Bit O’Red in the second half, to pull Shane Keegan’s side one point ahead of Rovers with four games to play.
Coming into this game on the back of a huge victory over Finn Harps in Ballybofey last weekend, Rovers knew that three points at Eamonn Deacy Park would give them a bit of breathing space going into the final four games of the season.
Galway were sitting in the bottom three earlier in the day, so this Connacht derby was viewed as a must win for both sides.
Conor Winn was called into action with just seconds on the clock. Gary Boylan’s free-kick was headed on by Seamus Sharkey, but his effort was just wide of the mark.
The hosts took control of proceedings for the first 15 minutes, and Ronan Murray almost gave Shane Keegan’s side the lead but an excellent fingertip save from Shaun Patton kept the Mayo native’s effort out.
Murray again had the home fans on their feet just minutes later, but his free-kick smacked the crossbar.
Having weathered the Galway storm, Rovers went on the attack. A Regan Donelon free-kick was headed back into the middle by Greg Moorhouse and Callan McFadden missed it first time, but the Donegal native was afforded sufficient time to drive an excellent shot past Winn to give Rovers a valuable lead after just 15 minutes.
The Bit O’Red dominated the following minutes. Gary Boylan managed to dispossess former teammate David Cawley, before passing out wide to McDonagh.
The Northern Ireland U21 player faced a difficult angle, but he still managed to force a save from Winn, earning a corner.
McDonagh was causing a host of problems for the Tribesmen in the following minutes of the first half, his volley from around 35 yards smacked the crossbar of Winn.
With just seconds until the interval, the hosts made it 1-1 following excellent build up play from Holohan, he found team-mate Ludden in space who beat Patton - a suckerpunch for Rovers who could very well have been leading by two goals at the interval.
Sligo native and former Rovers man Kevin Devaney had the first opportunity of the second-half, his close range effort just trickled wide of the mark.
Devaney punished his home town club when he gave Galway a valuable lead on 72 minutes with an outstanding curling effort which sailed past Patton into the back of the net.
The visiting fans thought they were back level just two minutes later when substitute John Russell floated a stunning ball towards Vinny Faherty, the former Galway man could not keep his header on target, though.
Rovers hearts were broken just one minute later when Regan Donelon was beaten to the ball by Devaney who sent the ball across goal for team-mate Holohan. The former Cork man made no mistake with his effort to make it 3-1 to the hosts with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Rovers have no game next week, and with just four games remaining are just one point above the relegation zone.
The meeting with Keith Long’s Bohemian FC on October 7th will be huge.
Galway United: Conor Winn, Alex Byrne, Stephen Folan, Colm Horgan, Kevin Devaney, Rory Hale (Conor Melody, 89), David Cawley, Marc Ludden (Gary Shanahan, 85), Gavan Holohan, Padraic Cunningham (Eoin McCormack, 65), Ronan Murray.
Sligo Rovers: Shaun Patton, Gary Boylan, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon, Jamie McDonagh, Chris Kenny (Benny Igiehon, 76), Rhys McCabe, Daniel Kearns, Greg Moorhouse (Raffaele Cretaro, 34 [John Russell, 67]), Vinny Faherty,
Referee: Jim McKell
Kyle Callan McFadden celebrates with team-mates Seamus Sharkey and Jamie McDonagh after giving Rovers the lead. Pics: Sean Ryan | sportsphoto.ie