Croly: Title tilt still on cards despite Hoops' 12th draw
Sligo Rovers 0 Shamrock Rvrs 0
Shamrock Rovers boss Trevor Croly believes his side can still mount a title challenge despite their 12th league draw of the season at the weekend.
The Hoops played out a scoreless draw with champions Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds, though they were happy to escape with a point after a commanding display from the home side.
Richard Brush's penalty save from David McMillan's spot-kick early in the second half spurred the visitors to the point, and Croly sees it as one gained rather than two dropped in their bid to climb up the table.
"I think a title challenge is definitely still within this team. It was always going to be a difficult game in Sligo, so we have got to take this point and make sure we push on next week.
"We weren't excellent to be quite honest. But to come away to last year's league champions and to get a draw is no shame."
Brush's penalty save was not his only contribution on the night.
He also denied Lee Lynch in the first half and both Iarfhlaith Davoren and substitute Danny North with confident saves in the second period.
Joseph Ndo also hit the outside of the post from a free-kick in the opening half, while McMillan beat Brush when latching onto Raffaele Cretaro's pass shortly after missing the penalty, but his effort bounced back off the post.
The Hoops suffered an early setback when Mark Quigley picked up a calf injury and was replaced by Gary McCabe.
Jason McGuinness went close for the visiting side with a header shortly before half-time, but it was cleared off the line by Davoren.
Substitute Eamon Zayed and Ronan Finn also had sights of goal late on, but were denied by the intervention of Gavin Peers and Gary Rogers respectively.
Sligo boss Ian Baraclough felt his side's performance merited a victory. "It was a one-sided game. We created many chances, won a penalty, hit the post and had most of the play. Maybe the final ball wasn't quite there at times but a lot of the time it was and we just did not get the rub of the green."
The draw leaves the reigning champions six points off leaders St Patrick's Athletic, but Baraclough feels there is still a long way to go. "If we perform like that between now and the end of the season, we will be right there in the mix," he said.
"The goals will come again and the chances will start going in, because performances like that are too good not to yield any goals," he said.
Sligo Rovers – Rogers, Keane, E McMillan, Peers, Davoren, Ndo, Conneely, Lynch (North 67), Cretaro, Djilali, D McMillan (Gaynor 73 (Elding 85)).
Shamrock Rovers – Brush, McCormack, Oman, McGuinness, Powell, Robinson, Rice, Finn, Sheppard (Zayed 82), O'Connor (Dennehy 89), Quigley (McCabe 21).
Ref – N Doyle