Stephen Kenny to rally troops after heavy defeat
Challengers Cork now just one point behind Dundalk ahead of Tuesday’s league clash
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny: “Cork are scoring plenty of goals and they are doing well but we have shown the capacity to rise to the big occasion and we must do that again.”
Dundalk 0 Sligo Rovers 3
Dundalk’s lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League table has been whittled down to just a single point after the champions fell to their heaviest home league defeat in six years on Saturday night.
Sligo Rovers, who arrived at the border venue looking to end a five game run without a win - and also a goal - stunned the home support when they took the lead inside the opening 60 seconds.
Supporters were still coming through the turnstiles when Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers completely missed a Brian Gartland pass back and although he got back to claw the ball away before it could cross the line, Achille Campion followed up to slam the ball home and give Dave Robertson’s side the perfect start.
Dundalk regained their composure and Ronan Finn could have had a first-half hat-trick, seeing two efforts curl wide of Ciaran Nugent’s post and another brilliantly saved by the goalkeeper.
It looked like an equaliser was on the way but Sligo stunned the home support in the 37th minute when Phil Roberts, a substitute for the injured Campion, curled a great effort into Rogers’ left hand corner.
Dundalk were given hope when referee Ben Connolly sent Rovers winger Liam Martin off for hacking Sean Gannon down in the 54th minute but it was the Bit o’Red that put the game to bed when Raff Cretaro exchanged passes with John Russell to leave Andy Boyle for dead before rifling a stunning effort past Rogers.
While Dundalk were crashing to defeat, Cork City ran riot against Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park and The Leesiders’ 5-0 win means that they will arrive at Oriel Park on Tuesday night just one point behind Stephen Kenny’s side and with a better goal difference.
“We had an advantage and that has slipped somewhat but we’re at home on Tuesday night and we’ve been in this position before,” said Kenny.
“We need to rally around each other and put in a big performance and get a big result. That would put us four points ahead and in the driving seat.
“It’s a big game but it’s one we are well capable of winning,” he added. “Over the past three years the players have never been found wanting and when the big games come up we always seem to find a way of winning.
“Cork are scoring plenty of goals and they are doing well but we have shown the capacity to rise to the big occasion and we must do that again.”
Kenny also backed Rogers to bounce back and put the mistakes of recent weeks behind him.
“Gary’s form with Dundalk led to him getting into the Irish international squad and last season he was the Goalkeeper of the Year. We must not forget that,” said Kenny.
“It has happened twice in the last couple of weeks and that’s unprecedented really. You never really see mistakes like that happen. It’s just one of those unfortunate episodes.
“He’s experienced enough to cope with it. It’s very unfortunate but he’ll have to bounce back in that regard.”
DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland (Shiels 72), Boyle, Massey; Shields (McEleney HT), O’Donnell; Meenan (Mountney 52), Finn, Horgan; McMillan.
SLIGO ROVERS: Nugent; Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Boylan, Keohane; McCann, Russell (Kearns 67), Roddan, Martin; Cretaro, Campion (Roberts 32).
Referee: Ben Connolly.