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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Mark McCadden

Sligo Rovers 1 Shamrock Rovers 1: Champions pegged back through Jordan Hamilton’s second-half header

SHAMROCK ROVERS’ invisible man struck again tonight - but Andy Lyons’ opener wasn’t enough to give the Hoops all three points at Sligo Rovers.

Lyons’ fifth goal of the season was cancelled out by Jordan Hamilton’s second-half header, leaving the Dubliners three points adrift of leaders Derry City.

Both headers found the same corner of the same goal, but they were two very different executions.

Lyons was granted the freedom of the Sligo Rovers penalty area on 23 minutes to run onto Jack Byrne’s corner and head it powerfully inside an unguarded near post.

Canada international Hamilton opted for a more delicate looping finish with 19 minutes remaining, while Sligo finished with 10 men after Garry Buckley’s late dismissal.

Adam McDonnell was the closest Bit O’ Red player to Lyons when he met the ball for the opener, but the midfielder had no chance against the Ireland Under-21 star’s running jump.

It’s been a similar story with most of Lyons’ goals so far - the failure to spot the defender until it’s too late.

But while he has been invisible to many of his opponents so far this season, his presence in the final third has been clear as day as far as his teammates have been concerned.

While Lyons’ early goals were a surprise, given he netted just three in 77 games for his former club Bohemians, rival defences can no longer claim to be caught unaware.

His five goals in 12 games so far has him in joint-third place in the Premier Division goalscoring charts, alongside Sligo striker Aidan Keena.

Keena failed to find the net last night and his departure on 66 minutes for teenage centre-forward Cillian Heaney wasn’t met with the approval of some home fans.

There were shouts of ‘You haven’t a clue’ towards Bit O’ Red boss Liam Buckley as some close to the home dugout voiced their protest at Keena’s withdrawal.

However, within five minutes of Heaney’s arrival, the 19-year-old played a crucial role in the hosts’ equaliser.

He linked up well with David Cawley, who delivered a deep cross towards the back post, where Hamilton rose and sent a looping header back across goal and inside the right-hand post.

Buoyed by their equaliser, Sligo began to attack with confidence and looked the more likely side to break the stalemate.

Their best chance came when Greg Bolger’s lofted pass forward dropped to Robbie McCourt and his shot was gathered at the second attempt by Alan Mannus.

So Hoops boss Stephen Bradley reacted with a series of substitutes, including an attacking triple-change that saw Aaron Greene, Neil Farrugia and Aidomo Emakhu enter the action.

Richie Towell and Ireland cap Graham Burke also came on, further emphasising the incredible depth of Rovers’ options.

The tide appeared to be turning again in favour of the visitors when Sligo centre-half Buckley was shown his second yellow card for an 85th minute foul on Towell.

A couple of injury-time corners aside, however, the visitors failed to trouble Ed McGinty’s goal and the stalemate prevailed.


Ed McGinty 6

Lewis Banks 6

Garry Buckley 5

Nando Pijnaker 7

Shane Blaney 7

Greg Bolger 6

Colm Horgan 6

David Cawley 7

Jordan Hamilton 7

Adam McDonnell 6

Aidan Keena 6

SUBS: Robbie McCourt (for Blaney 57), Cillian Heaney (for Keena 66), Paddy Kirk (for Hamilton 86)

SUBS NOT USED: Richard Brush, Will Fitzgerald, Niall Morahan, Seamas Keogh, Mark Byrne, Karl O’Sullivan, Cillian Heaney.


Alan Mannus 6

Sean Hoare 6

Roberto Lopes 7

Lee Grace 6

Ronan Finn 6

Gary O’Neill 7

Dylan Watts 6

Jack Byrne 6

Andy Lyons 7

Danny Mandroiu 6

Rory Gaffney 7

SUBS: Richie Towell (for Watts 77), Aaron Greene (for Gaffney 83), Neil Farrugia (for Finn 83), Aidomo Emakhu (for Mandroiu 83), Graham Burke (for O’Neill 86)

SUBS NOT USED: Leon Pohls, Sean Gannon, Barry Cotter, Sean Kavanagh.

REFEREE: Rob Harvey

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