Special ReportSLIGO ROVERS
bounded clear of the relegation zone with a deserved 1-0 against likely champions-elect Cork City on the Leeside last night, Friday.
Scottish under age international Rhys McCabe scored the SSE Airtricity League winner just after half time.
But this was a team victory, lead by a composed defence and tigerish midfield.No surprise then that RTÉ named Craig Roddan as their Man of the Match. He marshalled everything.
Regan Donelon enhanced his portfolio of solid performances in the left back slot and neutrals will have taken note.
Results elsewhere were hugely positive for Sligo Rovers in the night's other games.
Finn Harps lost 4-0 in Dublin, including two in the final minute, as they replaced Rovers in the relegation zone. Their 'goal difference' has disintegrated.
Shamrock Rovers did the Bit o' Red a massive good turn when two late goals from Gary Shaw dumped Galway United into the drop zone.
Such was Sligo's fortune that it was as if all their ducks swam safely home in the downpour(s) at Turners Cross last night.Joseph N'Do -- maybe the greatest player ever to grace the League of Ireland -- predicted a Sligo win as panellist for RTÉ's live telly coverage.
Indeed, the Bit o' Red won all four quarters in the game, plus six added minutes, in last night's encounter by the Lee.
Confident and assured, they never looked anything but at ease. One of the League' shot-shy team tried from everywhere last night. It worked. Literally.
Sligo Rovers best two scoring chances in that first half fell to Raffaele Cretaro and Vinny Faherty.Cretaro almost surprised Cork in the 20th minute when he moved crisply to make space just outside the box.
His low stinger was just a few shaves of paint outside Mark McNulty's right side in the home goals.
Shortly after Sligo showed they had come for all three points when Jamie McDonagh flighted a perfect cross which Vinny Faherty connected with a diving header.Perfect Pass
In added time at the end of that first half Rhys McCabe hit the perfect pass of the game.McCabe took out two Cork defenders as he rolled a peach of a pass to Tobi Adebayo-Rowling attacking along the flank.
Tobi fired a firm and crisp pass into box but it fell behind, rather than in front of, Faherty.
That first half had suggested Cork were flat, short of ideas, even on ideas of who should lead their attack.
That 'honour' seemed to fall to former Showgrounds hotshot Jimmy Keohane.
He had a forgettable night and it was another ex Sligo player, Kieran Sadlier, who looked, early on, like he might inflict damage but he faded, too.
Sadlier's two half-chances were speculative shots after cutting in from his favourite left side but they were well well wide. Half time: 0-0.Smacked Upright
Cork obviously got a chewing at half time and came out with all fired up.Two minutes after the restart Gary Buckley smacked a low curling shot off the butt of the upright with Michael Schlingermann beaten.
Then, less two minutes later the game was decided with the game's only goal.
Raffaele Cretaro fetched a harmless ball over in the left corner and fed it back to Rhys McCabe.He looked up briefly, saw Cork keeper McNulty towards his front post and fired an unstoppable sideline shot 25 yards which went in off the far upright. 0-1 to Sligo Rovers.
Five minutes later Vinny Faherty could have made it 2-0 when he connected with a corner kick but his 54th minute effort was blazed over.
LIVESCORE LEAGUE TABLE ON SATURDAY AUGUST 19th 2017
Mullingar referee Ray Matthews was a tad too card-happy and it counted before he had finished his 97 minutes of play.
Most bizarre of all was his booking of three players after a bit of harmless 'handbags' and pushing in the 58th minute.
Craig Roddan got a yellow card as did his Sligo colleague Tobi Adebayo-Rowling.
Cork City player Karl Sheppard also saw yellow but a chief shover in the incident, Greg Bolger, escaped the referee's attention.
Cork manager John Caulfield -- a former Summerhill College man -- surprisingly called Bolger ashore shortly afterwards.Great Composure
There was half an hour to play and it was Cork's game to chase. They always seemed lacking in ideas, variety, purpose. Sligo Rovers showed great composure in protecting its lead; at times the were playing nine behind the ball, Faherty foraging alone upfront.
Manager Ger Lyttle freshened his team when he handed the foraging role to Benny Igiehon, replacing Faherty, in the 75th minute.
The card-happy referee upped his count for the night in the 78th and 79th minute.
First, he showed Cretaro yellow for swinging back his hand, rather than his elbow, in a tackle.
Then, McCabe who had his most memorable game since coming to Sligo got into the little black book for little or nothing.
The final ten minutes saw Cork City squander two chances to square the score.
In the 81st minute Gearoid Morrissey -- who had a woeful game -- released Karl Sheppard on the left inside the box.
But his cut-back cum cross was of poor quality and the chance was lost.Best Chance
Then Cork City had its best chance of the game in the 83rd minute.Jimmy Keohane was in clear space, unmarked and six yards out, when his weak headed was guided downward and bounced up to hit the bar.
Sligo were coasting on a wave of confidence and further freshened the team with two late substitutions.
In the 85 minute Gary Boylan strengthened the defence when he came on for Cretaro.
In the 89th minute Greg Moorhouse came in for McDonagh who, one minute earlier, almost scored the most spectacular of goals.Shown Red
Cork City keeper Mark McNulty left his line and chased a ball he didn't need to out on the right touchline.
It came to Jamie McDonagh who swept a strike high and just wide of the far upright.
There were six minutes added at the end of ninety and this period saw two items of note.
First, substitute Conor Ellis had a late, late chance to sneak an (undeserved) Cork City equaliser but his weak header lacked conviction, pace or direction.
Then in the game's final seconds Craig Roddan was shown a red card, after a second yellow.
It was a hardship and unfair end to what had been Sligo Rovers best night of season 2017.Players Smiles
It was the night they rained on Cork City's parade and themselves reigned for their few supporters.
Sligo Rovers had clocked up its first Away win of a season which began in February.
In season 2017 they have THREE
times taken the lead in games with Cork City. Last night they made it stick.
The smiles of Sligo players after the final whistle said it all; it was a 'night to remember' for all the right reasons.
Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Kyle Callan-McFadden(captain), Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon, Jamie McDonagh, Chris Kenny, Craig Roddan (Man of Match), Rhys McCabe, Raffaele Cretaro and Vinny Faherty.
Benny Igiehon for Faherty 75th minute; Gary Boylan for Cretaro 85th minute; Greg Moorhouse for McDonagh 89th minute.
Missed the match? See it on RTÉ Player HERE