Late goals from Sean Maguire and Danny North gave Sligo Rovers all three points in Sunday night’s Airtricity Premier Division clash against Limerick at a dull and overcast Showgrounds.
Despite the conditions the home crowd were treated to an opening of all-out-attack play by the Bit O’Red. Just two minutes in Regan Donelon was denied by the foot of Limerick’s goalkeeper Shane Cusack with Ruairi Keating firing the rebound over the bar.
Sligo sustained the early pressure as Sean Maguire found fellow teammate Keating in space and he lobbed it at goal but the shot clipped the crossbar before going over.
The first real chance for the visitors came after 11 minutes. Patrick Nzuzi tried a shot from range but Sligo goalkeeper Gary Rogers watched it all the way and plucked it out of play with ease.
Sligo defender Danny Ledwith was on hand to deny two promising Limerick attacks before Sligo’s Sean McGuire and Limerick’s Rory Gaffney showed some good footwork but failed to find a final pass needed to break the deadlock.
The second half saw one change for Limerick as Jason Hughes replaced Colm Murphy and after an initial slow start the Bit O’Red began to set the pace - with two real chances coming after 55 minutes for the home side.
The first opportunity came as David Cawley found the ball at his feet just outside the area but the shot was aimed squarely at the arms of Shane Cusack.
Just seconds later striker Danny North crossed the ball low across the six yard box hoping to pick out Donelon but Limerick were wise to the threat with Patrick Nzuzi dashing Sligo’s hopes of a goal chance on that occasion.
Sligo had the ball in the Limerick net with 18 minutes to go but Danny North’s attempt was ruled offside. Far from discouraging the fans it gave them the reason they needed to get behind their team and urge them on to find the still elusive winning goal.
It was all Sligo for most of the rest of the half and with six minutes remaining North drove the ball into the back of Cusack’s net giving the home side a goal they truly deserved.
But the drama didn’t end there – determined to find an equalizer Limerick gave the fans some heart stopping moments in and around the 18 yard box as they looked for a way through the Rover’s defense. The best chance came from a shot by Limerick midfielder Prince Agyemang which almost finding its mark.
But the Rovers defense held firm and were rewarded in the dying seconds of added time as a lovely one-two between Sean Maguire and Danny North ended with Cusack off his line and North’s shot creeping into the back of the net.
Slgo Rovers will hope to achieve a similar result on August 1st when they face the Saints away at Richmond Park.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Danny Ledwith, Gavin Peers, Kalen Spillane, Alan Keane; Regan Donelon (Paul O’ Conor 62), Ruairi Keating (Evan McMillan 62), David Cawley, Seamus Conneely, Sean Maguire; Danny North.
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Ross Gaynor, Kieran Djilali, Eric Odhiambo.
Booked: Peers (26), Spillane (61).
Limerick F.C: Shane Cusack; Robbie Williams, Stephen Folan, Michael Leahy, Patrick Nzuzi; Colm Murphy (Jason Hughes HT), Prince Agyemang, Shane Duggan, Ian Turner (Samuel Oji 79); Rory Gaffney, Thomas McManus (Ross Mann 61).
Subs not used: Ali Abass (gk), Val Feeney, Tony Whitehead, Garbhan Coughlan.
Referee: Paul Tuite
Extratime.ie man of the match: Sean McGuire (Sligo Rovers)