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Bottom side UCD shock Sligo Rovers to win only their second game of the season


Will Fitzgerald on the ball for Sligo Rovers. Pic: Carl Brennan.

Will Fitzgerald on the ball for Sligo Rovers. Pic: Carl Brennan.

Will Fitzgerald on the ball for Sligo Rovers. Pic: Carl Brennan.


Sligo Rovers were stunned on Sunday evening as the Bit O’Red suffered a 2-0 defeat to the league’s bottom side UCD, days after qualifying for the next round of the Europa Conference League.

Manager John Russell hoped his side could bring some momentum with them as they travel to Scotland to take on Motherwell this Thursday evening.

UCD, who Rovers had not beaten in their two previous meetings this season, were deserving winners with Donal Higgins and Dara Keane getting on the scoresheet to give their survival hopes a small boost.

Russell made a number of changes to Thursday evening’s starting team.

Goalkeeper Ed McGinty, believed to be on his way to Oxford sat this one out with Luke McNicholas coming into the team in his place.

Lewis Banks, Will Fitzgerald, David Cawley and Nando Pijnaker all came into the team.

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The Bit O’Red had all the chances in the early stages.

Aidan Keena hit the crossbar before Frank Liivak came close before McNicholas was called into action as the Rovers defence allowed Thomas Lonergan the space to create a chance.

The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes.

Keane worked his way past Fitzgerald, squaring Higgins who coolly slotted past McNicholas to put his side ahead against all odds.

Lorcan Healy in goals for UCD was kept busy all afternoon, and answered everything that Rovers threw his way.

The Bit O’Red found Healy in fine form between the goalposts for UCD.

Liivak almost drew Rovers level when he got on the end of Paddy Kirk’s ball, only for his effort to come off the post. Rovers were going to pay for all of their missed chances, and were hit for a second UCD goal on 68 minutes.

Keane had all the space he could have wanted as he burst forward and tucked his shot into the net to make Rovers’ evening all the more difficult.

It just wasn’t to be, for Rovers, who struggled all evening to trouble their opponents.

Up next for Rovers is the trip to Motherwell, while this weekend’s scheduled league game against Derry City has been postponed.

Sligo Rovers: Luke McNicholas; Lewis Banks, Nando Pijnaker, Shane Blaney (Eanna Clancy 34), Paddy Kirk; Niall Morahan (Adam McDonnell 67), David Cawley (Kailin Barlow 79); Will Fitzgerald, Frank Liivak (Karl O’Sullivan 67); Max Mata (Cillian Heaney 79), Aidan Keena.

UCD: Lorcan Healy; Alex Dunne, Jack Keaney, Michael Gallagher, Evan Osam; Alex Nolan (Dylan Duffy 63), Donal Higgins (Sean Brennan 69), Dara Keane, Evan Caffrey, John Ryan (Mark Dignam 63); Thomas Lonergan (John Haist 86).

Referee: Paul Norton.