Sligo Rovers secured their Premier Division status for next season on Saturday night and in doing so also confirmed Bray Wanderers’ relegation from the top flight, as the Bit O’Red managed to get their third league win at the Showgrounds this season.
Sligo, who hadn’t managed to record a league win at home since the Seagulls’ last visit to the North West in April controlled large parts of the first half and should have opened the scoring early on.
Mikey Drennan’s chested attempt in front of goal snook past O’Connor, the Bray shot-stopper within the first two minutes, while Rhys McCabe’s headed effort from just inside the box suffered the same fate.
Bray, who haven’t won a single league away game this season spent the first ten minutes in their own half.
Lee Lynch had O’Connor stretching to the ball to push it away for a corner from his drive from distance, while moments later Caolan McAleer, John Mahon and Lynch again, each went close to breaking the deadlock.
Kevin Lynch did try to create a few chances for the Seagulls, by darting down the left hand side of the pitch but they were blocked on all three attempts.
Michael D Higgins was in attendance as Sligo Rovers celebrated 90 years of football. The underage teams then let off ninety red and white balloons in the centre circle.
The second half proved to be more entertaining as Rovers goalkeeper Ed McGinty had to be on hand to tip Ger Pender’s driving effort over the crossbar after five minutes.
But it wasn’t for Bray to open the scoring first after Lee Lynch’s floated ball was nodded past O’Connor in the Bray net by McAleer to see Sligo take the lead.
Bray went for it right from the restart, when Jake Ellis slotted it past McGinty to make it level on 59 minutes. But the Connaught side fought back again and they were ahead seconds after Bray’s equaliser. Drennan latched onto Lee Lynch’s ball and headed the ball smartly past O’Connor.
The Seagulls fought hard right to the final whistle but Sligo were the stronger side and hung on to see them stay in the Premier Division next year, while Bray’s departure to the First Division will not come as a major surprise to the neutals.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Kyle Callan-McFadden, John Mahon , Patrick McClean , Regan Donelon , Lewis Morrison (Darren Collins, 60), Rhys McCabe, David Cawley , Lee J Lynch (Raffaele Cretaro, 88), Caolan McAleer (Liam Kerrigan,80), Mikey Drennan.
Bray Wanderers: Mark O’Connor, Conor Kenna, Darragh Gibbons , Cian Walsh, Kevin Lynch, Dylan Hayes (Dragos Mamaliga, 8), Paul O’Conor, John Sullivan, Jake Ellis, Darragh Noone, Ger Pender (Byron O’Gorman, 85)
Referee: John McLoughlin
Attendance: 2,347 (official)