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Thursday 22 February 2018

Sligo's Cup history

The first cup win meant a lot to Sligo, considering that the competition had been cruel to them in the preceding seasons. Shamrock Rovers had pipped them in the 1978 showpiece, and Dundalk had performed better on the big day in 1981.

So, there was a lot of pressure on the Bit O'Red side who came face-to-face with Bohemians.

They had gone through a hell of a battle to make it there, with Cobh Ramblers putting up a brave fight in the semi-finals. It took three games before the Connacht men could see off their non-league opponents.

Nevertheless, Sligo were superstitious about their bad luck in the competition, with player/manager Paul Fielding wearing jersey No 13 and staying in room No 13 because nobody else wanted to.

The game took place at Dalymount Park and Bohs allowed Sligo to wear red once the Gypsies could take the home dressing room.

At the break, the Dubliners led, but Fielding's men bounced back with goals from Tony Stenson and Harry McLoughlin ending their cup jinx.

A remarkable season for Sligo, who made history by competing a domestic treble from the First Division.

The club were managed by Scotsman Willie McStay, the ex-Celtic defender, who had steered his side to automatic promotion and the First Division Shield before they rolled up to Lansdowne Road to come face-to-face with Derry City.

McStay's team contained a mix of local lads and recruits from across the water.

Declan Boyle and Gavin Dykes marshalled the back four, while current assistant boss, Coventry born Gerry Carr, operated in midfield alongside Willie Hastie.

Sotsman Eddie Annand and Ricardo Gabbiadini provided the forward guile, with the flying Johnny Kenny raiding the flanks.

It was Carr who was the hero on the big day, with his first half header enough to see off a Derry side who had finished fourth in the Premier Division.

Irish Independent

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