Fenlon relief after North finally sees off nine-man Sligo
Sligo Rovers 0 Shamrock Rovers 2
Published 07/03/2016 | 02:30
A man sent off and a goal conceded in each half tells its own story, but doesn't tell the full tale of Sligo Rovers' defeat to Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
Kieran Sadlier's straight red card for what appeared to be a stamp on Gavin Brennan came just before half-time and just after Brandon Miele had put the visitors in front with a sublime free-kick.
And midfielder Craig Roddan's dismissal for a second bookable offence with 15 minutes left did not result in a capitulation from the home side.
Instead the Hoops had to wait until injury-time to finally secure the points as Miele set up Danny North to shoot home against his former team.
Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon admitted he was a little concerned that they couldn't shake their opponents off.
He said: "They put us under a bit of pressure in the second half, and at 1-0 you are always a little worried that something might go in.
"We had a couple of chances on the break towards the end, but we were relieved to finally put one away. We played well in the first half. The first sending-off seemed to discommode us more than them, they worked tremendously hard in the second half.
"But I am delighted with the win. It's a decent three points for us to pick up."
Dave Robertson handed debuts to eight players in his starting 11, and one more off the bench, but his youthful side dominated possession for long parts and looked in a strong position before a nightmare five minutes before the break.
Robertson was encouraged to see his side battle on despite the numerical disadvantage.
"It was tough on us, but the response from our players was absolutely magnificent," he said.
"We spoke at half-time about being positive and doing the right things, and even with ten men there was some excellent periods of play where we controlled the game. We passed it well, settled into it and caused them some problems.
"When we went down to nine men, that was a big blow, but again the players showed a real fighting spirit and created opportunities, and, if one of the breaks had gone our way, I think we would have tried to push on and go for the win."
Sligo Rovers - Schlingermann, Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Clancy, Donelon, Keohane, Roddan, Richards, Sadlier, Roberts (Lyons 86), Gordon (Martin 77).
Shamrock Rovers - Murphy, Madden, O'Connor, Blanchard, G Brennan, McCabe (Shaw 78), K Brennan, Miele, Clarke (Cregg 73), Drennan, North.
Ref - P McLaughlin