Medal mission

Sligo star Quigley eyeing win in Bray as quest continues to end trophy drought

Aidan Fitzmaurice

MARK QUIGLEY says he's desperate to end the trophy famine that has followed him around since he returned home from England to play in the League of Ireland.

THE 26-year-old has already picked up one honour on a personal level this season as his form with Sligo Rovers saw him voted as the August player of the month by the Airtricity Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland, the Dubliner scoring three goals in four games in that month as his current tally stands at 12 league goals.

But former Millwall man Quigley is aiming for bigger and better as he knows that his Sligo side, who have dropped just two points from the last five league games, are on course to land the Premier Division title.

With the chasing pack of Drogheda United and St Patrick's Athletic not in league action this weekend, Sligo go on a cross-country trip tonight to take on Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds, knowing that a win would leave them nine points clear at the top with only five games remaining.

Despite a series of minor blows – defeat to Monaghan United in the FAI Cup, the loss of leading striker Danny North to injury, the departure of the influential Romuald Boco last month – Sligo have been relentless in their pursuit of the title as Quigley says that a hunger for medals is driving him and his team-mates.

“I've been in the league for a while now, this is my eighth season in the league, but I have really won nothing,” says Quigley says, who made his league debut with Shamrock Rovers in 2005.


“I do have a Setanta Cup medal from when I was with Bohemians but I don't really count that as I didn't play much of a part when we won it. It's frustrating to be in the league for so long and not have any medals to show for it so hopefully that can change this season.”

His spells at Dundalk and Bohemians were at times frustrating, so his best spell on a personal level was at St Patrick's Athletic (2006-09), but that yielded no trophies.

Quigley, who played in the same Ireland U-21 side as Glenn Whelan and Stephen Kelly, believes that the current manager of Sligo, Ian Baraclough, deserves a lot of credit for their current status as league leaders.

“I think all of the clubs that I played for all wanted to win games, but everything about the manager's approach here is keeping that winning mentality intact. He creates a good vibe around the place all of the time,” admits the Dubliner.

“At Bohs, we were a good team, but I thought we could have been a bit more expansive at times and allowed some fellas to express themselves more. But at Dundalk, the manager's attitude was similar to what it is here.

“I think with all of the clubs that I played for, they had talented players but it's different here. It goes back to the mentality that the lads had from two years ago when they won the FAI Cup and then again last year. The manager just tapped into that.

“It's up to the players to keep it going and I think the desire to win the league is why it is still there for this team. Everyone is working together to win the league and it would be great if we could do that,” added Quigley.

Standing in their way tonight, and blocking that potential nine-point lead, are Bray Wanderers. Despite the fact that Pat Devlin's side are on a three-game losing streak and have managed just one win in the last 12, Sligo will be wary of a side who have already taken points from them this season, a 1-1 draw in the Showgrounds in July.

“Bray will be tough to beat, but we are playing well at the moment and we want to keep this run going right to the end of the season,” says Quigley.

“They have a smashing striker up front in Jason Byrne and it looks like he's back for this match. But we just want to keep on winning and this game is another chance to do that.”