Date: 8 p.m. Sept. 9, 2011
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Sligo were the better team throughout, but it was the home team who were nearly first to score. In the 10th minute Jason McGuinness gave the ball straight to Rohan Ricketts. Ricketts played in Gary Twigg with a sublime chip. Twigg was through but scuffed his shot wide from just outside the 6 yard box.
On 18 minutes man of the match Joseph Ndo nearly scored a cracking goal. After Aaron Greene's shot was blocked, Ndo cut inside Ronan Finn, and chipped it from the edge of the area. His effort beat Ryan Thompson but hit the crossbar.
Paul Cook may feel that his side should have taken the lead in the 34th minute. Ndo played it to Richie Ryan. Ryan played in an excellent cross to Eoin Doyle. Sligo's number 11 somehow blazed it wide with only Ryan Thompson to beat from 6 yards out.
In the 40th minute the visitors missed two chances in quick succession. Dan Murray cleared off the line from Eoin Doyle, after Aaron Greene played him in, and then John Russell cut inside only to be denied by the legs of Ryan Thompson.
Rovers nearly took the lead in the 49th minute. Jim Paterson took an in-swinging free kick, which found the head of Chris Turner. But his header was somehow saved by Brendan Clarke.
Pat Sullivan received a 2nd yellow card in the 61st minute for the home team for appearing to kick the ball away.
However the home side did take the lead just a minute later. The excellent Rohan Ricketts raced down the left and crossed towards the 6 yard box where Shamrock Rover's number 9 rose highest to head past Clarke.
The side from the West were not prepared to give up though. They nearly found a breakthrough in the 78th minute. Captain Richie Ryan played it through to Eoin Doyle who dummied it, and Matthew Blinkhorn would have been in but for a fine intervention from the ever alert Ryan Thompson.
Sligo equalised in the 82nd minute. John Russell cut in from the Sligo left and curled a brilliant right foot shot past Thompson who had no chance in the home goal.
There was more drama to come. Shamrock Rovers substitute Pat Flynn was sent off for a shocking two footed challenge on Iarflaith Davoren in the 89th minute. Sligo continued to push for the winner after this.
They were rewarded for their efforts in the 91st minute. John Russell cut in from the left, the ball may have hit Matthew Blinkhorn's hand but Joseph Ndo didn't wait about as he played a fantastic cross to substitute John Dillon at the back post, who headed home from a narrow angle.
Sligo held on to claim all three points, although Shamrock Rovers’ manager Michael O'Neill may feel that referee Damien Hancock should have sent off Danny Ventre of Sligo before half time for a similar challenge to Pat Flynn's. Sligo deserved this victory and will now feel that they still have an excellent chance of winning the title.
Shamrock Rovers: Ryan Thompson; Pat Sullivan, Craig Sives, Dan Murray (captain), Jim Paterson; Rohan Ricketts (Billy Dennehy 68), Stephen Rice, Chris Turner, Ronan Finn; Gary Twigg (Ciaran Kilduff 66), Karl Sheppard (Pat Flynn 85).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Gary McCabe, Stephen O'Donnell, Gary O'Neill.
Sent off: Pat Sullivan and Pat Flynn.
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke Raffaele Cretaro (Alan Keane 66), Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Iarflaith Davoren, Joseph Ndo, Richie Ryan (captain), Danny Ventre ( John Dillon 46), John Russell, Aaron Greene (Mathew Blinkhorn 54), Eoin Doyle.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Alan Kirby, Derek Foran, Conor Powell.
Referee: Damien Hancock.
Attendance: 4,000 approx.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Joseph Ndo (Sligo Rovers.)