SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Limerick FC 5, Sligo Rovers 1
SLIGO Rovers endured a painful start to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Friday night last when unexpectedly losing 5-1 away to Limerick FC at Markets Field.
In what was a dismal performance from the Bit O’Red, Dave Robertson’s side trailed 3-0 at half-time, flickered briefly in the 60th minute when substitute Mathews Stevens netted from close-range, but then conceded twice more in the second period.
Journeyman striker Rodrigo Tosi – Limerick’s new Brazilian signing – bagged a hat-trick, with Limerick’s other goals coming from Ian Turner and Lee J Lynch, the former Rovers player.
The winners could also afford to miss a 76th minute penalty when Ian Turner hit a soft effort straight at Rovers net-minder Micheál Schlingermann.
Rovers, who host champions Dundalk this Saturday night at The Showgrounds, fell behind in the third minute. Micheál Schlingermann parried Lee J Lynch’s firm drive and Ian Turner turned home the loose ball.
After half an hour it became 2-0 when Rodrigo Tosi converted a cross from the right. Tosi scored his second eight minutes later – this time with a header – as the disappointing Rovers went 3-0 down.
Having been outplayed in the opening period, Rovers could only reflect on a solitary effort on target in that woeful first-half – Chris Kenny’s shot after 11 minutes that forced the Limerick goalkeeper, Freddy Hall, to produce a good save.
Dave Robertson made two changes at the break – bringing on striker Mathew Stevens and defender Kyle Callan-McFadden – and it was Stevens who provided Rovers’ only highlight 15 minutes into the second period.
Kieran Sadlier unleashed a powerful shot on target, Freddy Hall could only parry the ball and Stevens gobbled up the rebound for his first Rovers goal on his competitive debut.
But Limerick’s fourth goal – Rodrigo Tosi scoring at the second attempt – made it 4-1 seven minutes later.
The home fans forgave Ian Turner for wasting a scoring opportunity from the spot – the penalty was awarded after John Russell’s foul on Rodrigo Tosi – and lively Lee J Lynch wrapped up a superb night for last season’s First Division champions when he dinked the ball over Schlingermann in the 79th minute.
Limerick: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Robbie Williams, Tony Whitehead, Tommy Robson; Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, Lee Lynch, Dean Clarke (Cheidozie Ogbene 71); Bastien Hery (Paul O’Conor 84), Rodrigo Tosi (Chris Mulhall 78)
Sligo Rovers: Micheál Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Mick Leahy (Kyle Callan-McFadden ht), Gary Boylan, Regan Donelon; Daniel Kearns, Craig Roddan, Chris Kenny (Mathew Stevens ht), John Russell, Kieran Sadlier; Raffaele Cretaro (Jonah Ayunga 84)
Referee: Graham Kelly