Updated: 27/02/18 : 05:49:28
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Sligo Rovers need to ‘fail better’ next time

By Eugene McGloin

SLIGO ROVERS fans rose and gave a standing ovation for one minute in the Showgrounds last night, Monday.

Thing is, is was for none of their players on the night they slumped to a 4-1 home defeat to current champions Cork City in this SSE Airtricity League tie.

That the two sides were meeting at all in 2018 was due to Rhys McCabe.

His goal at Flower Lodge last season in a 1-0 shock victory over the champs-elect saved Sligo Rovers season and saved their senior status.

Mean Night

Last night, McCabe got his marching orders, a straight red, in the dying minutes of a game already done and dusted.

There was even a lone cry — from a home supporter — to send the man packing. Some thanks to a savior.

It was that sort of mean, mean night — three ex Sligo players now at Cork saw that first-hand, too, as they come and went as substitutes.

Between them Steven Beattie, Kieran Sadlier and Jimmy Keohane, barely raised even a ripple of applause. 

That is not the usual style when any former Sligo stalwart comes back to the Showgrounds. 

The standing ovation in the 22nd minute is where we came in here: Last night it was for Liam Miller, the ex Cork City and Ireland star.

Liam Miller died last month in his mid thirties from pancreatic cancer.

Everything has a real context in Life, even for fans who came expecting nothing more than the usual close football contest between these two sides.

What a hectic start we got: Rovers came close to scoring in the first minute and the opportunity reprised itself one minute later.

Yet by the third minute Sligo Rovers were 1-0 down, the first bar of a hat trick for Graham Cummins.

By the 11th minute Sligo were 2-0 down, a cracking penalty from Kieran Sadlier.

Sadlier had joined Cork 12 months ago when it seemed he might be Sligo Rovers 2017 Player of the Season.

Dogfight Duel

Last night, Rovers lined up after half time and their demeanour  suggested we might witness a dogfight duel.

Within one minute of the restart Rovers went 3-0 down in a comedy of errors without the comedy.

The on-loan keeper Mitchell Beeney and captain Kyle Callan-McFadden did a ‘Christmas in February’ gift giveaway to, who else, Graham Cummins.

The introduction of  Calum Waters at half time added purpose and penetration to Sligo’s play. 

Waters was probably the only Rovers player who fully earned his keep last night.

Two home games in and new keeper Mitchell Beeney has conceded five goals.

But that’s not his biggest problem: Too seldom he hits kick-outs with any accuracy.

His rate of throwing the ball at all, accurately or otherwise, would suggest he is a long way yet from becoming Chelsea’s number one choice. 

Yesterday, Sligo Rovers former manager John Coleman got the full page treatment in the Times of London, no less.

He now manages a club with the ‘worst ground, worst changing rooms and worst offices.’

Hungry Players

So bad really that when the club, Accrington Stanley substituted a player he went for an early shower, hit the hot water switch and the floodlights failed!

But, said Coleman yesterday: “We’ve got players who are hungry, a great team spirit and work ethic.”

Little enough of those team building fabrics were in evidence in Sligo Rovers play for over an hour last night. 

Ireland’s Nobel Laureate — the other one  — said we must ‘fail better’ when the gods go against us. 

Sligo were outclassed last night by a wider gulf than four goals to one. 

It was a systems failure, not any individual player, and with nearly one hundred points to still play for in the 2018 season this team has time on its side.

Postscript: The wits haven’t left the Sligo soccer sidelines yet, thankfully.

One of them kindly likened one of the linesmen last night to Donald Trump. Bingo.

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