Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers played out a cracking draw in Tallaght Stadium on Monday night as the visitors continue to eke their way to a League title while the Dubliners are now seven points off the pace.
After 90 minutes it was a fair result, Sligo dominated the first half and maybe should have had more than the one goal lead at half-time. Stephen Kenny’s team-talk worked and his side came well back into it in the second period and salvaged a draw.
Mark Quigley netted just after the half hour mark with probably the best goal of the season and not just because of the strike, but the build up move was sublime. Sligo had won a free just inside the Shamrock Rovers half and Joseph Ndo seemed to just float the ball onto the chest of Millien who directed the ball into the path of Quigley and from 35 yards out he hit the sweetest of volleys to leave Jansson with no chance.
After a bright start to the second half Shamrock Rovers were level, Ronan Finn will run Quigley close with his strike, but after a shout for a penalty off a Peers block the ball was cleared into the path of the midfielder and from the edge of the box he struck the ball with his right foot and sent a dipping ball over the head of Gary Rogers.
Ian Baraclough made only one change from the side who beat Drogheda 4-1 on Saturday night with Danny Ventre coming back from suspension to replace the suspended David Cawley and it looks like they continued from where they left off.
Shamrock Rovers’ only chance of the opening half came in the first minute when Thomas Stewart broke through and having gone one-on-one with Gary Rogers the striker squeezed the ball through the keepers legs but Rogers just got enough on it to deflect it away from goal. Had the striker followed in rather than wheel away he may have buried the follow up.
After that though it was all Sligo, Pascal Millien was replicating his performance against Drogheda and destroying the Tallaght side. The visitors really should have doubled their lead on 42 minutes when Seamus Conneely opened up the Shamrock Rovers defence with a great ball to pick out Quigley and the striker headed across the face of goal to Boco who fired a shot at goal but Oskar Jansson spread himself well to deny Boco a goal.
After that leveller for Kenny’s team they seemed to dominate and Twigg could have pulled the trigger on 57 minutes but he hesitated and allowed Sligo to clear and they immediately sent a ball downfield to Millien who was being marked by Gilbert and a mis-communication between the defender and keeper almost allowed the Haitian in.
Kerrea Gilbert was coming more into his own towards the closing stages and he was getting great purchase down the wing, sending him some great crosses.
Baraclough gave an indication that he was happy to settle for the point as on 74 minutes he withdrew the dangerous Millien in favour for Cretaro.
Shamrock Rovers tried and tried in the last few minutes but several Jason McGuinness clearing headers kept their attack at bay and having been booed off at half time the home side were clapped off after rescuing a point.
Shamrock Rovers: Oskar Jansson; Kerrea Gilbert, Colin Hawkins, Craig Sives, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn, Stephen Rice, Killian Brennan (Billy Dennehy 73); Gary Twigg (Daryl Kavanagh 87), Tommy Stewart (Ciaran Kilduff 70).
Subs Not Used: Reyaad Pieterse, Chris Turner, Conor McCormack, Ken Oman.
Booked: Hawkins (51).
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor; Romauld Boco, Josehp Ndo (Lee Lynch 87), Danny Ventre, Seamus Conneely; Pascal Millien (Raffaele Cretaro 74), Mark Quigley.
Subs Not Used: Richard Brush, Jeff Henderson, Martin Owens, Ryan Connolly, John Dillon.
Booked: Ventre (15).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Attendance: 3,500 (estimate).
Man of the Match: Mark Quigley (Sligo Rovers).
P.J. generally covers Drogheda games at HD Park and can generally be found at any Dublin ground when of a loose end on a Friday night.