Kirby hero as Sligo ride luck
Sligo Rovers 2
St Patrick's Athletic 0
Alan Kirby scored twice as Sligo Rovers beat St Patrick's Athletic at the Showgrounds to join Shamrock Rovers at the top of the Airtricity League table.
It was Sligo's seventh clean sheet in eight games this year -- the only goal they have conceded was against the Hoops at the Showgrounds on March 12. However, manager Paul Cook accepted they rode their luck a little to avoid conceding against the Saints.
"For the first 20 minutes, St Patrick's gave us the run-around and they could have been one or two goals up, but every team needs a bit of luck and things are going our way at the minute," Cook said.
"It took us 20 minutes to settle into the game. After that I thought we played well. To be fair, their goalkeeper (Gary Rogers) made a couple of absolutely smashing saves.
"But we pressed and started to get to grips with the game and I thought we got on top and deserved to win."
After surviving an early onslaught, Rovers went on the attack and it took three top-class saves from Rogers to keep the game scoreless at the break.
Kirby finally broke the deadlock when he rifled the ball into the top corner of the net from just inside the area 20 minutes into the second half.
It was Kirby's first goal for the club, and his second followed just nine minutes later, as he shot low into the net from outside the box.
Jason McGuinness shipped a knock in the closing stages and is struggling to be fit ahead of tonight's home Setanta Cup date with the Hoops but, with Gavin Peers, Alan Keane and Danny Ventre all returning from suspension, manager Paul Cook has plenty of cover.
Hoops manager Michael O'Neill believes tonight's match is coming at just the right time after their shock defeat to Bray Wanderers.
"It's an opportunity for players to come in and stake a claim because certainly on Friday night one or two let themselves down," said O'Neill, who must plan without Gary Twigg (hamstring).
"A game down in Sligo is maybe what we need. Friday's defeat will do us no harm. Maybe it will let us see that we haven't arrived and that there's a lot of work to be done and let everyone else see that as well."
Sligo Rovers -- Clarke, Doyle, Foran, McGuinness, Davoren, Greene, Ryan, Kirby, Russell (Ndo 74), Dillon (Horgan 62), Blinkhorn (Cretaro 82).
St Patrick's -- Rogers, Pender, McMillan, Shortall, Bermingham, Kavanagh (Murphy 81), Bradley (Flood 74), Mulcahy, McFaul, McMillan, Daly (North 74).
Ref -- P Sutton (Clare)