Saturday 24 February 2018

Donelon delivers to boost Sligo survival bid

Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Sligo Rovers

Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

A brilliant free-kick equaliser from Regan Donelon kept Sligo out of the bottom three in their battle to retain their Premier Division status.

The draw, coupled with Bray Wanderers losing at Dundalk, was sufficient for third-placed Shamrock Rovers, who dominated for good spells, to confirm a Europa League place next season.

Trailing to Gary Shaw's first-half strike, Sligo rallied late on to level on 76 minutes. Rovers' left-back Trevor Clarke got a yellow card for a foul on Sligo substitute Jamie McDonagh.

Left-back Donelon stood over the free-kick before rifling a stunning dead ball over the wall and into the top corner.

Unchanged from their win over Bohs last weekend, Sligo began with more impetus, Rhys McCabe fluffing a chance on two minutes when mis-kicking after Daniel Kearns picked him out from a corner.

The home side finally came alive on 16 minutes to create the first clearcut chance of the game. Teenager Aaron Bolger and Cameron King worked the ball wide right to Simon Madden. Shaw outjumped Kyle McFadden to power a header from the cross that came back off Shaun Patton's crossbar.

Well on top now, Shaw burst through onto skipper Ronan Finn's pass on 24 minutes only to sky his shot over the top when he should have scored.

On 33 minutes, the home side were deservedly ahead following an incisive move down their left. The impressive Lee Grace began it at the back, feeding Bolger who put Brandon Miele away in space. His clever low cross into the near post was met by the sliding Shaw who poked the ball home for his 11th league strike of the season.

The woodwork rescued Sligo again before half-time, McAllister getting his head to a Miele corner to shave the bar.

Sligo brought on Greg Moorhouse at the break as they went two up top, but he blew a chance to level two minutes in.

Sligo had goalkeeper Shaun Patton to thank for a good save to deprive Madden on 64 minutes after King had played him in on goal before Donelon salvaged that vital point.

Shamrock Rovers - Horgan; Madden, Lopes, Grace, T Clarke (Byrne, 87); McAllister; King (Doona, 74), Bolger, Finn, Miele; Shaw.

Sligo Rovers - Patton; Adebayo-Rowling, McFadden, Sharkey, Donelon; Russell (McDonagh, 66), Roddan, Keaney (Moorhouse, h-t), Kearns (Igiehon, 74); McCabe; Faherty.

Ref - J McKell (Tipperary)

Irish Independent

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