By Stephen Walsh at Turner's Cross
Sligo Rovers gave themselves a huge boost in their hope of remaining in the Premier Division next year as Rhys McCabe's goal just after half time gave them a 1-0 win over Cork City at Turner's Cross.
The first half was devoid of many chances but a moment of magic from McCabe helped Sligo get the three points in tonight’s televised clash.
Not even a late red card for Craig Roddan, following a second yellow card, could spoil a brilliant night for Sligo.
Cork City came into the game knowing that a win would bring them one step closer to lifting the league trophy here in the final game of the season.
On the back of defeating Bray Wanderers 1-0 in the Cup last weekend, manager John Caulfield made two changes with Alan Bennett and Jimmy Keohane starting in place of Robbie Williams and Steven Beattie.
Sligo lost out to Longford Town in extra time last weekend, while during the week they drew 0-0 with Bray Wanderers.
Manager Gerard Lyttle has a battle on his hands to keep his side in the Premier Division, and he made four changes with Vinny Faherty, Jamie McDonagh, Raffaele Cretaro and Chris Kenny all starting.
The bookmakers only predicted one result going by the pre match odds available but Sligo had no intention of lying down and put City under pressure from the start with a pressing game.
It was former Sligo player Kieran Sadlier who had the first chance of the game when his low shot went narrowly wide of Micheal Schlingerman’s goal.
Cretaro tried his luck from distance but his shot went narrowly wide. Vinny Faherty had a header go straight at Mark McNulty but the ball was mainly with Sligo as City struggled to get the ball into the box.
The false nine idea involving Jimmy Keohane appeared to be withdrawn during the game;he is the fourth different striker for City in four games showing the size of the task for John Caulfield to fill the gap left behind by Sean Maguire’s departure.
On 30 minutes, the visitors appeared to be denied a penalty when Garry Buckley blocked Kenny’s shot for a corner using his arm.
City’s best chance of taking the lead fell to Karl Sheppard on 38 minutes when Keohane played him in with a lovely through ball only for the winger to fire the ball narrowly wide.
Garry Buckley hit the post with a shot from just outside the box within two minutes of the second half recommencing after being played in by Griffin.
Sligo stunned the home crowd of 3,617 when McCabe, who was at the centre of everything Sligo did on the night, scored the opener. His cross on the side lobbed McNulty into the top corner of the net.
City struggled to create many attacking opportunities of note on the night with too often the final pass lacking in accuracy.
Sligo, on the other hand, let their discipline down at times collecting five yellows after the goal.
Their best chance of an equaliser came on 83 minutes with Schlingerman pulling off a superb save from point blank range following Keohane’s header from a Griffin cross.
On 87 minutes McDonagh had an opportunistic shot go wide following a poor McNulty clearance.
Substitute Connor Ellis had a late header go wide but overall City was not good enough and the visitors were fully deserving of the three points.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Conor McCormack (Steven Beattie 61), Alan Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin; Greg Bolger (Connor Ellis 61), Gearóid Morrissey; Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley, Kieran Sadlier; Jimmy Keohane.
Subs not used: Achille Campion, Conor McCarthy, Robbie Williams, Alan Smith, Pierce Phillips.
Booked Sheppard (59)
Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schlingerman; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Kyle McFadden, Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon; Craig Roddan, Chris Kenny; Jamie McDongh (Greg Moorhouse 89), Rhys McCabe, Rafael Cretaro (Gary Boylan 85); Vinny Faherty (Bennie Igiehon 76).
Subs not used: Mick Leahy, Shaun Patton, Omar Haughton, John Russell.
Yellow Cards: Sharkey (32), Roddan (59), Adebayo-Rowling (59), Cretaro (78), McCabe (80).
Sent off: Roddan (96).
Referee: Ray Matthews
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Craig Roddan (Sligo Rovers).