Rovers un­beaten run ended

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - By JES­SICA FARRY


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 | sport­

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