League Preview: Sligo Rovers -v- Derry City


Sligo Rovers welcome Derry City to the Showgrounds this Saturday night after an impressive start to their season with a good 2-2 draw away at Bohemians last weekend.

Rovers came within minutes of securing all three points in that game but they eventually had to settle for just one point after conceding a goal in the fourth minute of injury time in Dalymount Park on Friday night.

They did go a goal down as early as the 5th minute but showed great resilience to recover from that setback and in fact went into the half time break 2-1 ahead.

There was a familiar look to the spine of the Rovers team, with the likes of Ed McGinty in goals, Reece Hutchison at the back, Niall Morahan in midfield and Max Mata and Fabrice Hartman up front.

There was also a sprinkling of new faces in the Rovers starting line up with ex Shamrock Rovers player Simon Power the pick of the new bunch on the left wing.

It was Hutchison and Hartman who netted for them in the first half but their efforts were partly in vain as Bohemians’ James Clarke scored a 94th minute header to deny the Bit O’ Red all three points.

Manager John Russell spoke to Independent.ie in advance of the Derry game and said ‘’We want to win matches, it’s so hard to win games in this league, you have to be at it for 90 plus minutes as you could see tonight. You’ve got to just keep making the right decisions, tracking runs, getting tight, stopping crosses. We did get leggy and tired at the end of the Bohs game’’

"There’s loads of positives. We get to build into two home games coming up now, hopefully we can fill out The Showgrounds. It would be great to get a full house at home to Derry, a team that has aspirations of winning the league.

"I think we’ve done good business , we’ve got a tight group, I was happy with the performance against Bohs.”


Derry City made the perfect start to their new season when they bagged all three points in a 2-1 home win over Drogheda Utd before 3,300 supporters at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday night.

There was a very familiar look to the Derry City side with Pat Hoban the only close season signing to make the starting eleven, although his fellow Dundalk clubmate Daniel Kelly did come on as a 76th minute substitute.

Ruadri Higgins’ side were held scoreless by a resolute Drogheda team up to half time and they can probably thank keeper Brian Maher for enabling them to claim all three points in the second half. The home side went ahead through a Ronan Boyce strike in the 46th minute but minutes later Maher saved a Ryan Brennan penalty which would have seen the Drogs draw level.

The Candystripes took inspiration from that save as shortly after Hoban made it two nil, and although Evan Weir pulled one back with a superb 67th minute free kick, Derry had enough in the tank to hold to all three points.

Ruadhri Higgins found Rovers a tough nut to crack in 2023 and spoke about the threat they pose when he met with the Derry City media team this week, saying: ‘’Sligo have made some brilliant signings ahead of the new season; bringing in Connor Malley, Ellis Chapman, Simon Power and the returning Max Mata and Ed McGinty.

“They always seem to find an extra yard when we come to town and we’ll have to roll our sleeves up if we want to get three points.

‘’We have to back ourselves when we need to be strong and if it’s going to be a good game of football, we can do that too.’’

“I’d expect that we’ll take a good crowd down with us and it’s important that they see total commitment from us.

“I’m going to get tired saying this but we’re in an ultra-competitive league and every squad is more than capable.

Referee: Kevin O’ Sullivan



Sligo had a good record against the Candystripes in 2023, picking up seven points out of a possible twelve, including two 1-0 wins at home in the Showgrounds.

In the May fixture, Limerick native Will Fitzgerald scored the only goal of the game, while the September fixture saw Faroe Island native Stefan Radosavljevic net the winner for the Bit O’ Red.

The other two clashes saw Derry win 2-1 and draw 1-1 at the Brandywell.


Sligo Rovers 0 - 2 Derry City


Sligo Rovers

Injured:  John Mahon

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None


Derry City

Injured: Sadou Diallo

Doubtful: Mark Connolly, Patrick McEleney

Suspended: None