Monday 23 October 2017

Cup glory 'a stepping stone' for Sligo -- Blinkhorn

Blinkhorn: scored decisive goal
Blinkhorn: scored decisive goal

Sligo Rovers hero Matthew Blinkhorn says that Saturday's triumph was 'a stepping stone' to bigger things for his side.

The striker rattled home the only goal of the game 14 minutes in against Monaghan United at the Showgrounds, and with the Bit O'Red through to the FAI Ford Cup semi-finals and still chasing a top- three spot in the Premier Division, the former Blackpool player believes there is more to come.

"We have to see this as a stepping stone to winning more trophies because the fans deserve that. And the boys deserve it for the way we have played all year. It is an unbelievable feeling but hopefully this is just a start for us. We want to go on and win the FAI Cup as well."

Blinkhorn smashed home the winner after controlling Alan Keane's cross inside the area, much to the delight of a large portion of the 3,000-plus crowd. He also picked up the man-of-the-match award, but he was quick to pay tribute to former strike partner Padraig Amond, who has since left the club for pastures new in Portugal.

"I was definitely due a goal, but to get one in a cup final and win 1-0 is brilliant. Podge (Amond) sent me a message to wish me good luck, so fair play to him. He is a big part of why we were in the final."

Rovers were good value for their victory, as their Premier Division class proved too much for the First Division title-chasers. John Russell forced a fine save from Monaghan keeper Gabriel Sava shortly after the opening goal, and Blinkhorn was also denied by the netminder in the early minutes of the second half.

Gavin Peers then saw a half-volley float just too high following a Joseph Ndo corner, before the introduction of Cathal O'Connor helped re-invigorate a tiring Monaghan.

Philip Hughes was denied by a brilliant block by Russell, before another substitute, Darragh Hanaphy, was tackled by Jim Lauchlan as he lined up an injury-time effort.

And Sligo boss Paul Cook paid tribute to the visitors.

"I must pay credit to Monaghan. They have come and acquitted themselves so well. Last year we had a cup final that left us devastated, this year we are delighted."

Sligo -- Kelly, Keane, Peers, Lauchlan, Davoren, Doyle, Russell (McCabe 78), Ryan, Boco, Ndo, Blinkhorn.

Monaghan -- Sava, McMahon, Byrne, Gartland, Grimes, Collins, Brennan (O'Connor 68), Clancy, Tierney (Lynch 84), Berminghan, Hughes ( Hanaphy 77).

Ref -- D Hanney.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport