By Eugene McGloin
The Worker arranged the day all to himself yesterday, Monday
was his feast but he didn't surprise us out in the sun watching Sligo
Rovers in the Showgrounds by donning his football rags for some graft
craft.We could have done with him, at any time in two hours of, eh, football.
He would have been welcome even as a guest penalty taker after extra time -- any saint in a shootout would be welcome.
Since Friday night last, Sligo Rovers have received six penalties from referees. Only twice have they scored.
In between? The fare called 'football' played by The Bit O' Red was sometimes downright boring, even aimless betimes.
Galway United were no world beaters as they battled for a place yesterday in the semi final of the EA Sports Cup.
Some of their star players didn't start and weren't even named as subs.
For example, David Cawley was a midfield linchpin when Sligo won the SSE Airtricity League title five years ago.
Galway also left Vinnie Faherty to rest after his goal helped beat defending champs Dundalk last Friday night.
Yesterday, of,course, was a knockout cup comp, winner takes all and all that.
Galway took the honours; no goals in ninety minutes, two apiece in thirty extra minutes before Sligo paid the penalty in a penalty shoot-out.
New Sligo manager Gerard Lyttle saw his first home defeat after just a fortnight at the helm.
Apart from the big headache of sorting things out, Lyttle was left with one sole consolation stat when this game ended.
Namely, there is so much room for improvement that -- yeah, lets face it, so so much room, it has to show soon.
He has plenty of season left to show it too but.....BUT on this evidence Lyttle has plenty of reason , too, to want to plenty of season.
Yesterday was a far cry from those not so distant days when Sligo did have a saint -- and a half -- at the Showgrounds.
Joseph Ndo was a worker, a secular saint. The entire domestic game in Ireland feels his absence.
Then, there was that May holiday Monday and a 4,000 Showgrounds sell-out against Derry City.
got 'ghost'-glimpses of that heyday yesterday; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling
going down the right one more time, just like the great, great Alan
Except, Tobi didnt always have the speed or the strength to get by his man nor did he get in the cross that mattered.
The only Rovers player who mattered yesterday was Kieran Sadlier.
He is probably the only 95% consistent player this season at the Showgrounds.
Some club is gonna want Sadlier badly, badly enough to pay good cash to get him. Probably soon, too.
Sadlier's corners, his frees, his penalties (mostly) are of top order, but so is his general play and work rate.
manager Pete Mahon spoke on RTE ''Soccer Republic'' last night of the
daunting task of taking his part timers onto the field last Friday to
face the full time set-up in Sligo.
There seems to be more excuses than explanations for why a full-time set-up doesn't deliver more -- (a) deliver more often and (b) deliver much more quantity and quality.
Any audit of all those items yesterday afternoon would have whistled hollow, hollow.
So, who's setting the bar too low and too often, too.
In three hours of football this past weekend under new management Sligo have scored only ONCE from open play...and that after a corner set-piece.
Rovers lost to Galway last evening by failing to score from THREE penalties -- one saved, one wide, one clipped the woodwork.
Maybe some videos of Sligo GAA star Adrian Marren, an amateur star, might help.
He's has a yard less to shoot at between posts and he's two yards further out.
It's not rocket science....even when you set the bar too low. It's technique, mostly.
RTE last night highlighted how keeper Michael Schlingermann saved the Bit O' Red several times by the Boyneside at the weekend.
He also saved two penalty kicks in the shoot-out yesterday evening at the 'Nazareth House' end.
He could not be faulted for any goal which beat him in the 2-2 extra time drama, well, maybe melodrama.
But during yesterday's game, Schlingermann made several punts from his hands into the far penalty area.
To what purpose? He gave away (easy) possession to Galway, more often than not.
Finally, yesterday we saw a rarity of another type at a Rovers game.
A big protest banner not aimed at any team management or player, held aloft on the Connolly Stand.
certainly offered some talking points, something the game fell short
on, as it waited for a new worker or saint to show in the Sligo colours.