Updated: 23/05/17 : 05:59:39
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Showgrounds welcome for the team, eh, 'riding high'

Commentary: By Eugene McGloin

1,583 SOULS paid into the Showgrounds to see Sligo Rovers face SSE Airtricity League leaders Cork City last night, Monday.

We know they had 'soul' because they gave a spirited send-off with one full minutes of applause for the late Eunan 'Busty' Blake.

His was almost the first-ever name I knew in football; my dad brought home the Derry Journal and line by line I loved the accounts of the 'foreign' team.

That 'foreign' team was Derry City, powered at various times in the 1960s by some good southerners.

Busty Blake from Letterkenny was one of them; Joey Wilson and Bobby Gilbert also quickly come to mind.

Team Photo

The Showgrounds offered an excellent programme feature on Busty Blake last night.

The feature is also worth catching for the 1960 team photo which includes Blake, his brother in law Tommy Oates, Willie Bradley, Ned Monds, Louis Dykes and Johnny Armstrong.

 Before all that, Cork City was welcomed to the Showgrounds as the team that was, eh, ''riding high.'' Hmmm.

Scored First

The game itself: Rovers keeper Michael Schlingermann staked an early claim for Man of the Match.

In the opening five minutes, the Mayo man was called on to make three superb reflex saves at close range. 

Cork rampaged in those early stages like they needed the goalposts to make a fire. 

But it was Sligo who scored first, in the 23rd through its Player of the Season, Kieran Sadlier.

Cork City keeper Mark McNulty has an extraordinary record of clean sheets but last night Sadlier planted the penalty well beyond his reach.

The 'railway end' saw a second penalty award but ex Sligo player Seanie Maguire of Cork City drove yards wide of the left hand post. 

It was another ex Sligo player, Achille Campion, who equalised for Cork City in the 64th minute.

The Frenchman tipped in the simplest of goals, but those, too, all count in all grades of football.

Even simpler in execution was the inswinger Cork City corner kick which eluded (almost) all of Sligo's defence with just nine minutes left.

Kevin O'Connor probably still couldn't believe his luck when the goal was later shown on RTE's ''Soccer Republic.''

Most Notable

Last night we saw a spirited performance in defence by Sligo Rovers. Their tireless efforts deserved a draw.

But up front we saw a line sometimes lacking in basic skills and watching it was like watching Sisyphus -- pushing a boulder uphill, forever to roll back down.

That kinda forward line is what has Sligo parked at the rear of the queue, mired in the relegation zone.

The most notable feature of last night's game was the quanta of improvement in Seanie Maguire since his Showgrounds days.

His strength, his shielding, his skill, his scoring; what the talent scouts spotted in his juvenile career down south all now show a sparkle.

Maguire will make his third-time-lucky attempt to break the big time in England later this year. Good luck.

For Sligo Rovers last night the most marked factors were the absences of some quality players in the squad.

Midfield 'engine' John Russell was sorely missed when the game might have swung either way. Cork were no world beaters on view last night.

Also missing for Sligo was the energy of Tobi Adebayo-Rowling at the back, surging forward. 

Cork needed to be stretched wider across the pitch -- and more often -- to utilise Sadlier's skills.

Tobi complements the current team's chances best in that role. He needs to be back, at the back, soon.

Hunting Ground

Apart from taking three points in Sligo last night I'll be very surprised if Cork City manager John Caulfield didn't take some note of Kieran Sadlier. 

The Showgrounds has been Cork's lucky football hunting ground in their bid for the SSE Airtricity League title.

Caulfield has captured Jimmy Keohane, Achille Campion, Seanie Maguire and Steven Beattie of last night's unbeaten squad for Cork from Sligo.

Finally, there were five bookings, three for Sligo Rovers: Chris Kenny, Craig Roddan and Kyle Callan-McFadden.