Shamrock Rovers 2 Sligo Rovers 0
Shamrock Rovers took another giant step towards a second successive Premier Division title as they eased past Sligo Rovers in Tallaght.
First-half goals from Danny Mandroiu and Aaron Greene did the damage as St Patrick’s Athletic’s slip up in Derry increased the gap to 12 points with six games remaining.
A man-of-the-match performance from Sligo keeper Ed McGinty was all that kept the score respectable as he pulled off a string of top saves.
Rovers looked a different side from the one defeat in Dundalk seven days earlier and the restoration of Roberto Lopes to the backline following international duty added composure.
It was another aspiring international, Mandroiu, who put them in front inside ten minutes as he seized on an error from David Cawley.
Mandroiu pounced on the midfielder’s loose touch and gave Garry Buckley the runaround before driving a low shot past McGinty.
Rovers hit the woodwork for the first of four times shortly afterwards as Lee Grace powered a header onto the bar.
McGinty was in fine form to push away a Ronan Finn shot to keep the gap to a goal, but number two wouldn’t be long in arriving.
Mandroiu turned provider just after the half-hour as he nicked the ball off Buckley and played in Greene, who waited for McGinty to sell himself before dinking the ball over the stopper.
Rovers eased off in the second half but could, and probably should, have added more goals as Sligo became ragged late on.
Roberto Lopes hit the post with a header as the clock ticked down, and substitute Rory Gaffney did likewise with a shot from a tight angle.
Another replacement, Neil Farrugia hit the bar in injury time after McGinty had again denied Greene.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Gannon, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Ronan Finn (Sean Hoare 65), Gary O’Neill (Sean Kavanagh 72), Dylan Watts (Chris McCann 65), Barry Cotter (Neil Farrugia 65); Richie Towell, Danny Mandroiu (Rory Gaffney 77), Aaron Greene.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt (Regan Donelon 15); David Cawley (Mark Byrne 63), Seamas Keogh (Johnny Kenny 46), Adam McDonnell; Walter Figueira, Melvyn Lorenzon (Colm Horgan 63), Andre Wright (Romeo Parkes 63).
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).