The Limerick side showed great determination and strength throughout the game and were undone by a stronger Sligo Rovers. Paul Cook’s men will feel disappointed after a poor performance from them but no credit should be taken away from The Hoops.
The game started off with Sligo Rovers being the dominant side but they were unable to really threaten Gary Neville in the Pike Rovers goals. Aaron Greene and Iarfhlaith Davoren were causing havoc down the left wing but The Hoops were able to deal with the majority of threats. Dave Ryan’s terrific finish looked to have put Pike Rovers ahead but the linesman harshly gave offside.
On the counter-attack, Sligo surged forward and Daryl Horgan was taken down in the box by Wayne Colbert. A penalty was given but Keane smacked it off the cross-bar. John Russell missed several opportunities to put Sligo Rovers ahead before half-time and so the first-half ended goalless. The Pike defence had been doing fantastic and kept out every single Sligo opportunity.
Pike Rovers looked nervous at the back after the break and a mix-up between Edward O’Donovan and Brian Cleary gifted Sligo an opportunity. Daryl Horgan played a fine pass to John Russell but he slipped and lost the ball. Brendan Clarke was called in to action when a fantastic and powerful effort from John Tierney swung in front of the goals. Clarke got his hand to the ball and forced it wide.
Colm Carroll was excellent throughout the duration of the first-half and his efforts were converted in to a goal in the 58th minute. Eoin Hanrahan’s perfect cross came to Carroll who kept his header down and smashed it in to the net. The Sligo feathers were certainly ruffled after going a goal down and three minutes later, defender Jason McGuinness got the equaliser with his first goal for Sligo Rovers. Poor defending from The Hoops meant that Rafael Cretaro was able to cross to McGuinness who only had to tap in to the net.
McGuinness was the man once again when he doubled Sligo’s lead in the 67th minute. It looked all over for Pike Rovers when Cretaro’s effort took a cruel deflection off Brian Cleary and hit the back of the net just four minutes later putting the score-line at 3-1. Matthew Blinkhorn came frighteningly close to scoring after an inch-perfect cross from John Dillon. Blinkhorn headed straight at keeper Gary Neville.
Declan Considine’s side were determined to show that they were not willing to give up just yet and David Ryan took advantage of a Jason McGuinness error and he slotted past Brendan Clarke in goal. There was plenty of time for The Hoops to grab a late equaliser but they were unable to get force any sort of attack.
Sligo Rovers will certainly be relieved tonight but Pike Rovers were worthy opponents and were no easy defeat for Sligo. But, onwards and upwards for Sligo who are now in to the fourth round of the FAI Ford Cup and ready to continue their defence of the trophy.
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Jason McGuinness, Derek Foran, Alan Keane, Danny Ventre (Rafael Cretaro, 56), John Russell (Richie Ryan, 56), Alan Kirby, Daryl Horgan (John Dillon, 76), Aaron Greene, Matthew Blinkhorn.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Gavin Peers, Eoin Doyle, Mark McGoldrick.
Sending’s Off : None
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville, Brian Cleary, Keith Hartnett, Pat Mullins, Edward O’Donovan, Colm Carroll, Wayne Colbert, Eoin Hanrahan (Dermot Phelan, 74), Conor Kavanagh, Dave Ryan, John Tierney (Michael Ahearne, 74).
Subs not used :Declan Considine.
Bookings : Wayne Colbert
Sending’s Off : None.
extratime.ie Man of the Match :Iarfhlaith Davoren
Referee: Paul McLaughlin