Opening night defeat for Rovers

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Sligo Rovers 0

Limerick 1

(D Dennehy 63)

Darren Dennehy’s debut goal earned Limerick an impressive opening night win away to Sligo Rovers in front of over 3,000 at the Showgrounds.

Dennehy headed home from close range against the run of play midway through the second half, as Limerick beat the Bit O’ Red in the first game of the season for the second year running.

Limerick had six newcomers in their starting team, and former Rovers winger Daniel Kearns thought he had scored midway through the half, but his precise curling effort was brilliantly palmed away by Micheál Schlingermann at full stretch.

Hearts loanee Alastair Roy then had a couple of opportunities to test former Sligo keeper Brendan Clarke, firstly from inside the area after good work from Caolan McAleer, and shortly after from outside the box on a breakaway, but he narrowly missed the target on both occasions.

Brazilian Eduardo Pinceli was shown a yellow card for a clash with Shane Tracy towards the end of the half, but had a great chance to open the scoring for the home side shortly after, but his glancing header inside the area went the wrong side of the post.

Striker Adam Morgan and Roy had further chances, but Brendan Clarke and Darren Dennehy intervened as the sides went in scoreless at the break.

Dennehy’s next intervention was even more effective, as Pinceli lost possession on the left, and the ball broke to Limerick captain Shane Duggan, whose cross picked out the former Cork City defender to flick home.

Prior to that, Pinceli’s ball across the face of goal just needed a touch from McAleer inside the area, but the former Finn Harps man could not connect.

Rovers reacted by bringing on Adam Wixted for his debut, while McAleer’s former Harps team-mate Kilian Cantwell almost marked his Limerick introduction with a goal, but his shot flashed narrowly wide.

Kearns was excellent in the closing stages for Limerick, and he forced another great save from Schlingermann after breaking into the area with five minutes remaining.

And late substitute William Fitzgerald should have secured the points with a great chance after his introduction, but Schlingermann made another superb stop.

In the end, one was enough for the Munster men, as Tommy Barrett’s side secured an unexpected but fully deserved three points.

ROVERS: Schlingermann, Roddan (Keaney 82), Callan-McFadden, Sharkey, Boylan, Cawley, Pinceli, McCabe (Moorhouse 72), McAleer (Wixted 65), Roy, Morgan.

LIMERICK: Clarke, Kelly, Whitehead, D Dennehy, Tracy, Coleman, Duggan, Wearen (Cantwell 67), Kearns, B Dennehy, O’Sullivan (Morrissey 86).

REF: T Connolly.