League Preview: Sligo Rovers -v- Cork City

Mon, Feb 26 2018

Cork make the trip to the Showgrounds this evening. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)


Sligo Rovers will complete a trio of home games in a row when they welcome Cork City to the Showgrounds on Monday night for their SSE Airtricity Premier Division clash (kick-off 7.45pm).


The Bit O’Red kicked off their league campaign with a 1-0 home loss to Limerick before bouncing back with a 2-1 victory over Derry City last Friday.


Whilst Gerard Lyttle will be pleased with the three points from the victory over the Candystripes, the Sligo Rovers manager has very little time to dwell on the results with the visit of the champions Cork City on the horizon.


"The Derry game is gone. We were happy with the result and performance but the focus now is on Cork coming here. We look forward to the champions coming here. Everyone aspires to be where they are. That's what we are looking at, to get that level. It's a massive challenge that will take time. They have started really well as expected.


"They are coming here with players in form and a team in form. We look forward to pitting our wits against the champions. Cork went on a mad run last year where they were unbeaten for over 20 games. We want to see what we can do against a side like that. We look forward to trying to get at them and us being at home gives us a massive advantage in that.


"The boys are looking forward to it. When we trained on Sunday morning, everything was positive. The win has given everyone a lift and hopefully we can get a positive result."


Lyttle has no complaints when it comes to opening the league with three games in nine days and he confident his team are ready and eager, especially with the added bonus of three home games in a row.


"We were in Saturday for a light recovery session. We looked at a couple of different things on Sunday. The boys have been excellent. Their attitude is top class and we look forward to playing games. They come thick and fast but that's what we want.


"We train every day to prepare ourselves for games. Ask any of them, they want to play rather than train. It's always a tight game against Cork when we play them. It seems to be a goal or one or two goals in it. It's going to be a tough one for us but we're going to relish it and we can't wait to bring Cork here.


"Any manager would bite your hand off if they are offered their first three games at home. We were very disappointed with the first league game that we didn't get a result. I did say we played well and it was hard to say it because we didn't get anything from it.


"There were things we had to put right and we did that against Derry. Limerick came with a plan, stuck by it and they were unlucky not win against Bohs. It shows they have a good team as well. It's going to be a tough league. Every team in the country is capable of beating each other.


"We are about to be three games in and it's crazy to think that people are saying teams need points on the board and there is pressure on certain teams because they haven't got off the mark."


In team news, Sligo Rovers will be without Regan Donelon (hamstring), Raffaele Cretaro (hip) and John Mahon (knee) as was the case on Friday.


"John Mahon had a setback in his knee and he will be out for another month to six weeks. Raff Cretaro did light training on Sunday and his recovery is another week away. He has a hip problem with wear and tear during pre-season (playing and training on astro throughout).


"Regan Donelon is making great progress. We're looking at next Friday or Monday where he'll be back for selection. We'll have near enough everyone available then if we come through the Cork game so the squad is looking healthy at the minute. It's difficult for me to pick a starting XI at the minute which is a great headache to have, long may that continue."


The Sligo Rovers boss also had words of thanks to the support behind the teams opening two fixtures and is hoping that a big crowd will turn up on Monday.


"It's a big thing for us having our supporters behind us, encouraging us, being positive and driving us on. Hopefully it will be the same on Monday night with an even bigger crowd.


"During the weekend some fans stopped me on the street about it. I was out for a meal with my wife last night and you see when Sligo Rovers win it gives so many people a massive lift around the town. Hopefully we can continue that this season and keep smiles on people's face and supporter's faces."




Just like last season, Cork City go into their third league game with a 100% record. Their 3-2 win over St. Patrick’s Athletic was followed up on Friday with a 2-0 home win over Waterford.


Cork City manager John Caulfield was delighted to secure a home win in front of the largest crowd of the season so far and is looking forward to a ‘difficult game’ against Sligo Rovers.


“We are looking forward to Monday’s game. We had a very difficult game on Friday night, but we were delighted to get the win in front of an absolutely phenomenal crowd. We are on the road to Sligo now, and most of the players who played the other night seem to be in good condition, while we also have Graham back from suspension.


“We know that teams will raise their game against us and you can see that. In terms of Sligo, it is Gerard Lyttle’s own team now, as he has said himself. He has introduced four or five new players and has a much stronger squad. They should have won against Limerick, but they turned it around against Derry and had a great win.


“It is a great game for Sligo, to be at home after winning on Friday night but, at the same time, we expect every team to put it up to us and it is up to us to be at our best. Sligo is a fantastic club with fantastic support and, over the last few years, they have always made it difficult for us. They caused us lots of problems last year and they feel they can qualify for Europe this year, so we have no doubt that it will be another difficult match.


“We need to be at our best and, if we do that, fine, but if we don’t, we won’t be taking any points and that is the challenge to us. We have more strength in depth this season and we can make changes but, at the same time, you could see our second half performance against Waterford was very good. We just have to get on the ball and move it around like we are well capable of doing. We know it is always difficult going to Sligo and nothing but a good performance will give us any chance of getting a result.”


In team news, Johnny Dunleavy and Josh O’Hanlon are both still side-lined. Graham Cummins returns to the squad having served a one match suspension, while Conor McCarthy will have a late fitness test after missing Friday’s win.


Referee: Robert Harvey




Last season, Sligo Rovers and Cork City faced each other three times resulting in two wins for Cork City to one for Sligo Rovers.


In the only game played in the Showgrounds, Kieran Sadlier scored for Sligo Rovers with Achille Campion and Kevin O’Connor scoring for the Rebels as Sean Maguire missed a penalty. Sadlier now plays for Cork, Campion is on loan to Linfield, O’Connor moved to Preston and is on loan to Fleetwood whilst Maguire also moved to Preston.


Sligo Rovers last win over Cork City at home came in 2013, a 1-0 win in the FAI Cup Third Round with Gavin Peers getting the only goal of the game.  




Sligo Rovers 4/1; Draw 11/4; Cork City 4/7



Sligo Rovers 1 – 2 Cork City  



Sligo Rovers

Injured: Regan Donelon (hamstring), Raffaele Cretaro (hip) and John Mahon (knee)         

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None


Cork City

Injured: Johnny Dunleavy, Josh O’Hanlon

Doubtful: Conor McCarthy

Suspended: None