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Date Time League Season
28 October 2022 7:45 pm LOI Men's Premier Division 2022

Match Report

Controversial Keena penalty helps Sligo beat Pats

A contentious officiating decision helped Sligo Rovers snatch a 1-0 win over St. Patrick's Athletic at The Showgrounds, as Aidan Keena's thunderous second-half penalty ended the visitors' hopes of European qualification for next season.

The Saints now need Derry City - already qualified through their league position - to beat Shelbourne in the FAI Cup Final on November 13, to play European football next term.

Tim Clancy's men could only blame themselves for wasting a handful of chances in either half, kickstarted three minutes into proceedings after Eoin Doyle somehow failed to profit off goalkeeper Richard Brush's early mistake.  

Chris Forrester had a toe-poked effort cleared off the line, before Serge Atakayi and Thijs Timmermans both also threatened in the first-half.  

Paddy Kirk, Keena and Kailin Barlow all fashioned half-chances for the hosts, reduced to hopeful strikes from distance by a diligent defensive display from the Saints.

They appeared to be playing a 5-3-2 formation with teenage fullback Sam Curtis tucking in off-the-ball, aiding them defensively after conceding four away at Shamrock Rovers last week.  

It worked a treat but made for a frustrating watch at times, as both struggled to produce much incision in the final third and there were scrappy midfield battles.  

After a delayed restart following some unsavoury crowd trouble at the break, things took a positive turn for the hosts but not immediately.  

They would've been thankful for more poor execution in attack by Atakayi, after Barry Cotter's bursting run through midfield went unrewarded.

Then, they benefited from a controversial officiating decision without warning.  

Paddy Barrett appeared to marshal Aidan Keena off the ball with a firm but fair shoulder barge, though the referee didn't seem to think so and quickly pointed to the spot after 53 minutes.

Keena gladly stepped up and slammed home from twelve yards for his 17th league goal of the campaign, leaving goalkeeper David Odumosu no chance. 

Shortly afterwards, Atakayi was withdrawn on the hour mark. St. Pats now needed, at minimum, two unanswered goals.

While third-placed Dundalk led 2-0 at home against Bohemians, their closest rivals were probing frantically in search of a spark. Mark Doyle replaced Barrett in an attacking alteration, though the game remained stop-start as stoppages for knocks, soft fouls and bookings were a constant theme.

It may have been worse still, but for Joe Redmond producing some excellent defending under pressure to keep Adam McDonnell at bay as the midfielder edged dangerously towards goal, before Ben McCormack replaced St. Pats' young player of the year Adam O'Reilly with tired legs a factor.

He then found himself with their biggest opportunity of the second-half, hand delivered on a plate into his feet by Curtis' latest excellent floated pass. 

The 19-year-old watched ruefully as Brush tipped the strike around the post, before the subsequent corner quickly fizzled out.

Some gamesmanship, more questionable officiating and Brush brilliantly keeping his clean sheet intact followed before the referee eventually blew his whistle for full-time.  

Former Cameroon international midfielder-turned commentator Joseph N'Do - who played for both during his well-travelled career – said afterwards that the Saints must look at the positives, but it's hard to see any after tonight's display.

They created multiple chances and yet had nothing to show for it, were hard done by with inconsistent officiating while the matchwinner came from a penalty that shouldn't have been given.

Sligo could not mathematically overtake their visitors regardless but Dundalk confirmed their UEFA Europa Conference League qualification berth after tonight's events and won't mind. St. Pats though, now reflect on an underwhelming end to the campaign after enjoying a promising summer. 

  • Thanks for joining me for tonight's live minute-by-minute commentary, stay tuned for the full match report plus reaction around the grounds as there were three other fixtures unfolding elsewhere in the Premier Division. Until next time though, I've been Mosope Ominiyi, goodnight!

  • 96'

    FT: Sligo Rovers 1-0 St. Patrick's Athletic. And it is! Sligo win in their final home game of the campaign, while this result means St. Pats finish fourth - not clinical enough tonight and they can only blame themselves.

  • 96'

    Brush with another save, this time from a hopeful - but unlikely - header.. that should be the last action of the evening.

  • 93'

    Chance creation hasn't been the problem, execution was. Elsewhere in the last few minutes, Ethon Varian's 89th-minute goal pulled one back for Bohemians, but Dundalk sealed a 2-1 win elsewhere in the only other game that matters to tonight's visitors.

  • 92'

    Cotter with a pinpoint crossfield pass, but one which isn't well controlled in time to stay in play! Another half-chance goes begging for the visitors, who should've at least scored one tonight.

  • 90'

    Six minutes of stoppage-time to be added on. Can St. Pats level in the time left, at least?

  • 89'

    Another dangerous cross is floated into the box by Curtis, Brush again anticipates the delivery and holds firm to briefly relieve pressure on his teammates. He's been my Man of the Match tonight.

  • 87'

    Another smart piece of play by Brush, who smothers the danger and hoofs the ball out of play so O'Sullivan can be introduced into the fray. Still 1-0, and time is running out now.

  • 85'

    A warm reception for Kailin Barlow, who limps off with a knock suffered a few minutes earlier. Karl O'Sullivan will come on in his place, but is being made to wait momentarily.

  • 82'

    Forrester is into the book after a cynical, but necessary foul on Barlow - while Cotter is fuming at the linesman for not being awarded a free-kick moments beforehand in the build-up. He's understandably angry, but needs to be careful how he approaches the officials as they're not going to change their mind.

  • 80'

    BIG SAVE! Sam Curtis chips a delightful ball, on a plate for McCormack, who sees his goalbound effort tipped around the post for a corner, which is swiftly ended by an off-the-ball foul.

  • 76'

    You can see from the floodlights that the rain's starting to pick up, as St. Pats prepare another change. Ben McCormack on, their young player of the year - Adam O'Reilly - is withdrawn.

  • 72'

    Redmond with some excellent defending under pressure, to first delay and eventually dispossess McDonnell as he edged dangerously towards goal. The visitors can breathe freely again.

  • 70'

    Confirmation of that change now: Kirk trudges off in pain, as academy product Eanna Clancy will come on in his place for the final 20 minutes plus stoppages.

  • 68'

    Paddy Kirk is down on the turf, receiving medical attention and limping - it's clear he still feels the effects after a firm challenge from Cotter a few minutes earlier.

  • 67'

    An attacking change being made next and understandably so given the Saints' urgency: Mark Doyle replaces centre-back Paddy Barrett, who conceded a soft penalty earlier in the half.

  • 63'

    Predictably, the game's opening up more now and tired legs are becoming a factor. Brush being made to work for his clean sheet tonight, he shows good hands to comfortably catch as St. Pats press in the box once more.

  • 60'

    Atakayi coming off is St. Pats' first alteration of the evening now - Billy King on in his place.

  • 54'

    That just shows, yet again, how quickly things can turn. Atakayi should've done better to open the scoring five minutes earlier and now St. Pats have a mountain to climb.

  • 53'

    GOAL! 1-0 to Sligo - Keena produces a thunderous finish into the top corner, leaving Odumosu no chance.

  • 52'

    PENALTY TO SLIGO! Paddy Barrett on Aidan Keena, but that looks dubious...

  • 51'

    Bolger looks in discomfort, swiftly takes off the captain's armband and appears to have a knock he won't be able to run off. Robbie Burton replaces him in the game's first change.

  • 49'

    Cotter drives forward through midfield on another slaloming run, he feeds Atakayi... over the bar! Really should've done better from there.

  • 46'

    Kick-off! Back underway and no changes at the break for either side, after almost a ten-minute delay... I'm told there was fan trouble in the stands but thankfully things have been resolved, with rival supporters being moved further apart. Hopefully that'll be the end of that.

  • 46'

    HT: Sligo Rovers 0-0 St. Patrick's Athletic. Keena tried his luck from distance again, but it flew over the crossbar. Still goalless, which is a shame, but St. Pats should be ahead in truth. They've had ample opportunity yet lacked the execution in the final third - and that's the difference.

  • 45'

    Just one minute of stoppage-time to be played, announces the fourth official.

  • 44'

    Timmermans will wish he had that opportunity back again. He seemed in two minds over whether to shoot or pass with Atakayi alongside him, unmarked and open... he opted to almost pass the ball into Brush's grateful gloves, another let-off for the hosts.

  • 42'

    Another goal alert and more bad news for the visitors: Runar Hauge has just made it 2-0 to Dundalk, with our reporter Ciaran Callan on his live commentary calling it a goal fit to win any game. Ouch.

  • 41'

    Atakayi is next to threaten - he forces Brush to parry a powerful effort over the crossbar, out for a corner. It's a poor one though and comes to nothing.

  • 38'

    OFF THE LINE! O'Reilly threads through a perfectly-weighted through ball for Chris Forrester. He runs clear and has a great opportunity to break the deadlock, but his toepoked effort flicks off Brush's outstretched legs and not hit hard enough... it trickles towards the goal line before Lewis Banks clears off the line!

  • 35'

    A reminder that as it stands, St. Pats need to win tonight if they're to take their UECL qualification hopes into the final matchday. Dundalk, two points ahead before play this evening, are in the driving seat.

  • 34'

    Liivak is booked after a forceful aerial challenge which knocked Thijs Timmermans to the turf. Following brief medical attention, it appears the midfielder is okay to continue though.

  • 33'

    Brush is called into action again, this time it's to get down low and smother the danger from a Sam Curtis effort at his near post. Not enough power to truly test the 37-year-old, still goalless.

  • 28'

    Odumosu produces a comfortable catch from McDonnell's ambitious free-kick strike.

  • 25'

    Goal alert and it's an unwelcome one for St. Pats given their fading European aspirations: David McMillan curled a fantastic free-kick goalwards to break the deadlock, and Dundalk are 1-0 up on Bohemians now.

  • 24'

    Barlow, who signed a new contract extension this week, reacted quickest to latch onto a loose ball on the edge of the area - but skewed his shot low and wide from distance. Right idea, didn't get under the strike though.

  • 22'

    Adam O'Reilly is next into the book after a sliding tackle in a 50-50 challenge with Kailin Barlow. Looked a bit harsh, perhaps there was some dissent shown to the referee immediately following that too.

  • 17'

    Unsurprisingly, the final ball - or lack thereof - has typified the start to this game thus far. Elsewhere, Shelbourne are 2-0 up against Drogheda while it's goalless in Dundalk. Finn Harps vs. UCD has just kicked off.

  • 14'

    After being released by a probing through ball, Atakayi had a half-chance to potentially test the 'keeper or create a chance, but was in two minds about which direction to take his marker and was eventually dispossessed.

  • 13'

    Frank Liivak found himself in space and unchallenged to have two bites at the proverbial cherry with low deliveries across the box as Sligo advanced forward, but lacked execution and direction both times.

  • 10'

    Lewis Banks just fizzed a defence-splitting pass through towards McDonnell, who was inches away from latching onto the ball in the area. He didn't, and grateful goalkeeper Odumosu can comfortably claim.

  • 5'

    Adam McDonnell is first into the referee's book and can have no complaints after sliding in late on Barry Cotter as he advanced down the flank. Moments earlier, Aidan Keena blazed over the bar from a soft free-kick.

  • 3'

    Richard Brush almost concedes a horror goal in his box after a miscued touch from a backpass, but recovers in time to slide and hound Eoin Doyle at the near post. He should've scored though!

  • 2'

    Close! Paddy Kirk strikes with venom from distance, his effort takes a wicked deflection and goes out for a corner - which eventually comes to nothing.

  • 1'

    We're off! Sligo vs St. Pats, the hosts kicking from left-to-right in this first-half.

  • The two sides are about to emerge from the tunnel now, kick-off just minutes away. A great night for some football!

  • There's three other Premier Division games taking place elsewhere tonight, but the one to keep an eye on for St. Pats' sake involves Dundalk. They're at home against mid-table Bohemians - who are winless in three - fate remains in their hands as far as UEFA Europa Conference League qualification is concerned.

  • St. Pats team news: After scoring in consecutive games for the first time since mid-August, Serge Atakayi continues to start for the Euro-chasing visitors. From their line-up, manager Tim Clancy appears to be deploying a 5-3-2 formation, aiding them defensively after fullback Anto Breslin's red card suspension.

  • Sligo team news: The hosts make two changes to the side who drew 0-0 with Derry on Monday night, as Colm Horgan and Greg Bolger are recalled to start. Shane Blaney is injured, while Robbie Burton drops to the bench. Aidan Keena will lead the line alongside Frank Liivak in what appears to be a 4-4-2 formation.

  • As always, if you haven't seen it already, click on the article tab. My match preview is there, but only until KO! Why is this an important fixture for St. Pats, with virtually everyone having nothing to play for?

  • My name's Mosope Ominiyi and I'll be providing updates on the evening's action from The Showgrounds, with kick-off in just over an hour's time (7.45pm BST). Team news for both sides should be arriving shortly.

  • Good evening everyone and welcome to tonight's live minute-by-minute commentary, as Sligo Rovers entertain St. Patrick's Athletic in a must-win clash for the visitors.

Sligo Rovers

30Richard Brush Goalkeeper
2Lewis Banks Defender
3Colm Horgan Defender
19Paddy Kirk 41 Defender
28Nando Pijnaker Defender
6Greg Bolger 18 Midfielder
7Will Fitzgerald Midfielder
17Adam McDonnell Midfielder 5'
34Kailin Barlow 14 Midfielder
9Aidan Keena Forward 53'
10Frank Liivak Forward 34'
31Conor Walsh Goalkeeper
5Cameron Evans Defender
41Eanna Clancy 19 Defender
18Robbie Burton 6 Midfielder
35Sean McAteer Midfielder
44Darragh McCarthy Midfielder
14Karl O’Sullivan 34 Forward
25Cillian Heaney Forward
27Max Mata Forward

St. Pat's Ath

23David Odumosu Goalkeeper
2Barry Cotter Defender
4Joe Redmond Defender
5Tom Grivosti Defender
22Sam Curtis Defender
29Paddy Barrett 14 Defender
8Chris Forrester Midfielder 82'
16Adam O’Reilly 18 Midfielder 22'
25Thijs Timmermans Midfielder
7Serge Atakayi 15 Forward
9Eoin Doyle Forward
21Danny Rogers Goalkeeper
12Harry Brockbank Defender
18Ben McCormack 16 Midfielder
32Darius Lipsiuc Midfielder
34Adam Murphy Midfielder
11Jason McClelland Forward
14Mark Doyle 29 Forward
15Billy King 7 Forward 78'
45Babatunde Owolabi Forward

Past Meetings

(Round 27)
1 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Richmond Park

St. Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers

(Round 15)
1 - 1
LOI Men's Premier Division
The Showgrounds

Sligo Rovers v St. Patrick's Athletic

(Round 2)
1 - 2
LOI Men's Premier Division
Richmond Park

St. Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers

(Series 34)
0 - 3
LOI Men's Premier Division
Richmond Park

St. Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers

(Series 27)
2 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
The Showgrounds

Sligo Rovers v St. Patrick's Athletic

(Series 16)
2 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Richmond Park

St. Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers

(Series 9)
1 - 1
LOI Men's Premier Division
The Showgrounds

Sligo Rovers v St. Patrick's Athletic

(Series 11)
0 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Richmond Park

St. Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers

(Series 2)
0 - 2
LOI Men's Premier Division
The Showgrounds

Sligo Rovers v St. Patrick's Athletic

Ground

The Showgrounds
The Showgrounds - Sligo Rovers F.C., Magheraboy Road, Knappagh Beg, Sligo, Sligo Municipal Borough District, County Sligo, Connacht, F91 P523, Ireland

Mosope Ominiyi is a freelance sports journalist and sub-editor with over a decade's worth of experience, having graduated in 2020 with a BA Hons degree at Staffordshire University. His work has appeared in The Times, MailOnline and Sportskeeda, among other platforms.