Damien Duff fails to inspire Shamrock Rovers to Showgrounds victory

A Gary McCabe strike cancelled out Sander Puri’s opener for Sligo

Sligo Rovers 1 Shamrock Rovers 1

Former international Damien Duff was the star attraction, but current international Sander Puri stole the headlines as the two Rovers drew on Saturday at the Showgrounds.

Duff made his first start for Shamrock Rovers and played 78 minutes of the 1-1 draw.

But Estonian Puri headed home the opener on 29 minutes to put his side deservedly in front, before Gary McCabe’s second half free-kick earned the Hoops a point.

Puri is back in the Estonia squad for the first time in a year and misses Sligo's next game against leaders Dundalk as he departs for international duty and European qualifiers against Lithuania and Slovenia.

Boss Micky Adams admits it wasn't a problem he expected to have to deal with when taking over at the Showgrounds.

“To be honest, I have not managed an international player since I was in the Premier League, so it is something new for me again, I haven’t had it for a few years.

"He took his goal really well after a great cross in from Gary Boylan. We'll miss him because he has been top quality since I have been here."

Adams may have a readymade replacement, however, with the club announcing at half-time on Saturday that they have signed winger Jennison Myrie-Williams.

Adams said: “He was part of my promotion-winning side at Port Vale, so I know a lot about him and I trust him. He will be a great addition to the squad.”

The draw means Shamrock Rovers remain 12 points off leaders Dundalk ahead of the Tuesday’s game between the two sides in Oriel Park.

Hoops boss Pat Fenlon admits that is a must-win game if they are to remain in the mix.

“We are looking forward to Tuesday. It gives us a chance to go and see if we can beat Dundalk. It hasn’t happened too many times this year in fairness.

“If we have any aspirations of catching them we have got to win up there. It will be very difficult, but we are capable of doing it if we play to our potential.

“They are a good side too, but we will go there to try and win the game.”

Sligo Rovers: Brush, Boylan, Peers, Keane, Donelon, Cretaro (Nielsen 71), Hughes, Cawley, Russell (Ward 87), Puri, Corcoran (Elding 71).

Shamrock Rovers: Murphy, Madden, Kenna, Webster, Byrne, G Brennan, McCabe, Blanchard (Cregg 60), Miele, Duff (McCaffrey 78), North (R Brennan 82).

Referee: Derek Tomney.