Sligo Rovers opened their 2021 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign with a 1-1 draw against Dundalk in an entertaining Showgrounds encounter on Saturday evening.
Liam Buckley’s new-look side included six debutants – among them 18-year-old Leaving Cert student Johnny Kenny – who produced a fine display on his senior competitive debut.
Dundalk led on 15 minutes after a defensive mix-up in the Rovers penalty area presented Patrick McEleney will a golden opportunity, which he took.
That lead, however, lasted just seven minutes as Romeo Parkes popped up to head home Robbie McCourt’s left-footed free kick.
As the game developed, Rovers created more than enough chances to win the game with Kenny, Jordan Gibson, Greg Bolger and Walter Figueira all going close.
Dundalk had chances of their own – they twice hit the woodwork.
There was more drama in the closing moments when Mark Byrne slotted home a low David Cawley cross but the goal was disallowed for an apparent offside in the build-up.
Sligo Rovers team:
Ed McGinty, Colm Horgan, Garry Buckley, John Mahon, Robbie McCourt, Greg Bolger (C), Niall Morahan, Walter Figueira, Jordan Gibson, Johnny Kenny, Romeo Parkes. Subs used: Mark Byrne & David Cawley for Figueira & Parkes.
Elswhere, Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps made an impressive start to the season with 1-0 win against Bohemians at Finn Park. Adam Foley was Harps matchwinner.
Sligo Rovers 1 Dundalk 1
Finn Harps 1 Bohemians 0
Longford Town 2 Derry City 0
Shamrock Rovers 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 1
Drogheda United 1 Waterford FC 0.