By Eugene McGloin
SLIGO ROVERS main striker has a double who lives somewhere in Denmark.
He came to the Showgrounds to play competitive European football last night, Thursday.
The Bit O'Red were not at home; the greetings and goodbyes were given by Derry City.
are no strangers to 'exile:' On one of Seventies Sundays there were 25
buses from Derry parked in Ballybofey to watch Finn Harps.
That was the finest incarnation of Derry football (in exile) I've witnessed in my lifetime.
Last night Derry were 6-1 down from last week's first leg before a ball was kicked in the Showgrounds.
They came to Sligo because their own ground, like their European Dream, is still a work in progress.
Small wonder the football immigrants seemed slow to open the turnstiles in Sligo last night.
History, of sorts, was also made in the Showgrounds last night.
The official admission price to the Showgrounds was stated in pounds sterling on the entrance ticket.
Ditto the official match programme, also priced in pounds sterling.
Thinking quickly, cannot recall that happening before in the 21st century at the home of the Bit o' Red.
All and any Brits may be getting out of Europe but Europe will keep coming to us, too, especially in football.
So it was that the Danes, already 6-1 ahead from last week's leg, added a handy 4-1 to their notch last night.
Lovers of Shakespeare have implied permission always to (only) call it 'The Scottish Play.'
Ditto for this punter re: the Danes tongue twister of a name for a football club, a name with a double-L, a Y and a J.
They may only have been founded in 1999 but they sure picked a memorable name.....if only I could remember it.
Were they any good? They were. The scissors-clipped surface of the Showgrounds allowed them to be all they could be, too.
they could be? They were a handful for Derry in their 'exile, which
this season has taken them from the Brandywell to Buncrana and now to
the abode of the Bit O'Red.Derry will always be welcome here
in Sligo; Rovers homeplace reeks with the ghosts of good players got
from that city and county.
There were other special spectres in the ether at the Showgrounds last night.
official match programme listed at No 5 for Derry the name of a man
already dead, whose funeral this year caused so much anguish.
Ryan McBride, that No 5, is like the legend Joe Hill in song: ''I never died, said he.''
The match? The Danes were worth watching for this (sorta) neutral fan.
Their cross-field passing recalled Johnny Giles for Leeds and Ireland, the highest available accolade.
The gangling Paul Onuachu looked like a stray bingo player at times, with number 33 on his shirt.
attempts to head the ball were sometimes hopeless and a few of his
dives might have earned Europe some swimming medals in Israel last week.
The hat trick he missed was easier than the one he scored. He also had a hand in the fourth goal.
Paul was, for many, the least impressive visiting performer on the pitch.
Blond haired Simon Kroon bagged a brace last week and though he never
really looked like scoring he got a warm round of applause when he left
the field last night.
Most quietly impressive of the Danish visitors was midfielder Jakob Poulsen, who played 35 times for Denmark at senior level.
The other player to catch the eye on the field was sub Gustav Wikheim, who scored within minutes of entering the fray.
the night that was in it, no surprise to know that the most impressive
Derry player playing in Sligo was goalie Gerard Doherty.
He was solid and inspiring, not at fault for any of their crisply struck goals.
The obvious other message from the match was, well.....obvious.
Foreign teams move the ball out from the back fast, pronto.
bum-numbing slow stringing of slow passes, preached by coaching schools
in the English (and Irish) game was nowhere in the Danish pattern of
play in Sligo last night.
Postscript: Jonah Ayunga is due to line out for Sligo Rovers this weekend.....against Derry City.
Foylesiders will be checking their Specsavers website -- has the Danes
hat trick hero of Sligo stayed on at the scene of his rampage.
Ayunga, Onuachu. Onuachu, Ayunga. Same difference. Now Jonah needs a hat trick next Sunday
night to complete the comparison!