Sligo Rovers booked their place in the last four of the EA Sports Cup in style with a four-nil thrashing of Limerick at Thomond Park on Monday night.
Both sides started the game reasonably well - the tie seemed to be very much an even affair with Sligo and Limerick both having threatening spells in front of goal. The first real chance of the game fell to the quick-footed Axel Bossekota. Danny Galbraith went on a trademark storming run through the middle of the Sligo midfield before playing Bossekota in on goal. A poor effort from the Limerick forward almost found its way into the back of the net though, courtesy of a deflection. Alan Keane was on hand to clear the danger.
Limerick had started brightly, but they were soon to be undone by individual mistakes. After Danny North's deflected effort hit the post, Limerick believed they had received a stroke of fortune, only to concede from the resulting corner. Kieran Djilali's terrific delivery was met by the head of the towering Jeff Henderson who nodded past Ryan with ease. The home side's defensive organisation left a lot to be desired.
Shane Tracy almost levelled just minutes later when his free kick went narrowly over the crossbar, but Sligo Rovers would go on to double their advantage before the break. A very similar situation to the first, Djilali delivered and Gavin Peers was the beneficiary from some schoolboy defending on Limerick's behalf. He rose highest at the near post and rocketed his header into the top corner.
Garbhan Coughlan's return to the club was a boost for everyone and he should have halved the challenge facing Limerick just seconds into the second half. After some good link up play with Shane Tracy, Coughlan found himself on the end of a square pass with only Kelly in the Sligo goal to beat - sadly for him, he fluffed his lines completely.
That last bit of hope that Limerick clung onto was quashed just minutes later as a mistake from Barry Ryan gifted Sligo possession. Limerick native Lee Lynch advanced with the ball before playing in Danny North. The ex-Grimsby man fired a low drive into the far corner much to the delight of the small travelling support.
Sligo would go on to hit the woodwork no less than three times on the night - an indicator of just how good they were when entering the final third. David Cawley ducked and dived his way around the edge of the Limerick box with twenty minutes remaining before shifting the ball to his right foot and slamming the ball against the upright.
The visitors did eventually get their fourth though. Just over a minute after coming on, Evan McMillan, who was drafted in at centre forward at the request of his manager showed his striking ability when he curled an effort into the far corner of Barry Ryan's net. He wheeled away in celebration; showing the strikers how it's done.
McMillan could have doubled his tally for the night when a carbon copy of the first two Sligo goals fell to his head. He lacked the composure of his centre halves, ironically, when the chance came his way.
In the end, Limerick failed to get going and Sligo ran out deserved winners on the night.
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Stephen Folan, Brian O'Callaghan, Robbie Williams; Shane Tracy (Barry Sheedy 74), Stephen Bradley, David O'Leary (Val Feeney 67); Danny Galbraith, Rory Gaffney (Garbhan Coughlan 45), Axel Bossekota.
Subs not Used: Shane Cusack, Shane Costelloe, Joe Gamble, James McGrath.
Sligo Rovers: Ciaran Kelly; Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Gavin Peers, Ross Gaynor; Lee Lynch (Ryan Connolly 66), David Cawley (Evan McMillan 75), Seamus Conneely; Liam Martin (Jake Dykes 85), Danny North, Kieran Djilali.
Subs not Used: Gary Rogers, Iarflaith Davoren, Marty Owens.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Cawley (Sligo Rovers)