Sligo just three points from the title after drab draw down by the Lee
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION Cork City 0 Sligo Rovers 0:IT WASN’T quite the celebration the large band of travelling Sligo Rovers supporters had hoped for at Turner’s Cross last night but after a drab scoreless draw, they know that three more points will be enough to crown them as champions for the first time since 1977.
With both St Patrick’s Athletic and Drogheda United, who still have slim chances of usurping the Bit O’Red, forced to watch from home due to tomorrow afternoon’s FAI Cup semi-finals, all eyes were on Ian Baraclough’s team.
However, those three points won’t be easy to come by as Sligo face the toughest run-in imaginable. Pat’s come to the Showgrounds next Saturday afternoon, before Sligo then face third-placed Drogheda and outgoing champions Shamrock Rovers on the final night of the season.
There could well be another twist in the tale but having only suffered one defeat all year, Rovers remain substantial favourites to end the 35 year wait.
They were restricted to efforts from long range for much of a dull opening period as the Cork defence held them at bay. Pascal Millien did cause havoc on the right, giving Danny Murphy a torrid time, but they just couldn’t find their way into the home side’s area.
The pick of the efforts, Raffaele Cretaro and Danny Ventre both striking 25 yard efforts narrowly wide, arrived midway through the half, but the Bit O’Red’s tentative and nervy performance was somewhat understandable.
Yet Cork rarely managed to get forward and, despite playing five in midfield, were often overrun by Joseph N’do and Ventre. Colin Healy was introduced at the break in an attempt to give the Leesiders an extra foothold in the centre.
And it worked to an extent as they showed much more attacking intent. Ian Turner went very close to breaking the deadlock on 66 with a drilled effort which Gary Rogers did well to palm away, while Kalen Spillane rattled the post with a rocket header from Ian Turner’s corner after 78 minutes.
Rovers themselves never really made Cork stopper Mark McNulty work in the second half as the home team spurned one last chance in the second minute of injury time when Shane Duggan shot straight at Gary Rogers, as both sides departed relatively satisfied with a point.
CORK CITY: McNulty; Kavanagh, Spillane, K Murray, Murphy; Turner, Duggan, Dunleavy, Lenihan (Healy 46), Horgan (Kenny 85); Sullivan.
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Conneely (Cawley 44), Peers, McGuinness, Gaynor; Millien (Buchanan 83), Ventre, N’Do, Cretaro; Quigley, Lynch.
Referee: D Tomney(Dublin).
Limerick FCclinched the First Division title and the one automatic promotion berth following Mervue United's shock 2-1 away win over Waterford United last night.
Second half goals from Etanda Nkololo and Alan Murphy left second-place Waterford, who have just one game left, four points adrift of Limerick.
Pat Scully's side meet Longford Town away tonight and Wexford Youths next weekend at Jackman Park in their final game of the season. However, those games are now of academic interest.