Sligo Rovers sealed their place in the next round of the EA Sports Cup after defeating Monaghan United 3-1 at The Showgrounds on Monday evening. Two Conor McMahon own goals along with a 79th minute goal from Ross Gaynor gave Sligo the win, despite a goal from Mons’ substitute Owen Humphrey early in the second half.
On an extremely wet evening in ‘sunny Sligo’, it was the home side who adapted to the familiar conditions quickest. Former Sligo Rovers man Michael Schlingermann was forced to be on his toes early when Raffaele Cretaro latched on to Romauld Boco’s cross. Mayo man Schlingermann had no problems with the effort and caught it easily.
The first twenty minutes were reasonably quiet and the rain was getting the most attention. A John Dillon effort from around twenty yards was hit wide but it certainly sent warning signals to Roddy Collins’ side. The warning signals seemed to do anything but wake Mons up and they found themselves behind on the 24th minute.
Marty Owens, making his first start for the Bit o’Red, instigated the movement and played the ball to Raffaele Cretaro down the right. Cretaro swung the ball across the face of the goal, which Mons defender Conor McMahon hit in to his own net.
United failed to find their feet after conceding the opener and found themselves on the back foot for the remainder of an utterly dour first half. Sligo midfielder John Dillon was causing all sorts of difficulties for Monaghan and, with acres of space, he struck just over Schlingermann’s bar.
The visitors began the second half with more bite and were the first to threaten. Second half substitute Owen Humphrey played a one-two with Tony Griffiths and saw his shot easily stopped by Sligo ‘keeper Richard Brush. Shortly afterwards, a Shane Dunne effort went both high and wide but was an indication of what was to come.
On 55 minutes, Roddy Collins’ men got their equaliser through youngster Owen Humphrey. The substitute barged past the Sligo defence and slotted in past Richard Brush.
A fantastic ball from John Dillon across the field to former Dundalk man Ross Gaynor was crossed in to the box to Raffaele Cretaro. The Tubbercurry man’s close-range effort was hit straight at Schlingermann in the Mons goal. The clock hit 67 minutes, and Mons defender Conor McMahon hit another one in to his own net to give Rovers the lead yet again. The ball for the goal was provided by youngster Marty Owens who put in an impressive shift.
Monaghan looked disheartened after conceding the second goal and it was Ross Gaynor’s free kick after 79 minutes that gave Ian Baraclough’s side their third goal. Youngster Liam Martin was taken down on the edge of the box by Paul Whelan and the free was hit low by Gaynor and swung in nicely.
It was all Sligo after Gaynor’s goal and despite a good fight, Monaghan were unable to find their way back in to the tie.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Marty Owens, Alan Keane, Danny Ventre, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Jake Dykes, 87); Romauld Boco, John Dillon (Lee Lynch, 76), David Cawley, Ross Gaynor; Mark McGoldrick (Liam Martin, 46), Raffaele Cretaro.
Subs not used: Gary Rogers, Gavin Peers, Ben McGarry, Danny North.
Bookings: Romauld Boco (61).
Monaghan United: Michael Schlingermann; Roddy Collins, Paul Whelan, Conor McMahon (Niall Crosbie, 81), David Crosbie (Owen Humphrey, 46); Danny McGuinness, Shane Dunne, Bobby Ryan, Keith Quinn, Jason Marks; Tony Griffiths (Michael Isichei, 80).
Subs not used: Darragh Reynor, Stephen Maher, Conor Forde, Cillian Corcoran.
Bookings: Paul Whelan (77); Niall Crosbie (82).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Martin Owens.