Sligo party begins as Rovers seal title

Sligo Rovers 3 St Patrick's Athletic 2

Sligo party begins as Rovers seal title

Sligo Rovers 3 St Patrick's Athletic 2

A controversial late penalty gave Sligo Rovers their first League of Ireland title in 35 years to send the bulk of the 5,500-strong crowd at the Showgrounds delirious with delight today.

St Pat's had battled back brilliantly from 2-0 at half-time, only for the game to be decided by an incident in the 89th minute.

John Dillon's corner was met by Gavin Peers who shot against the hand of St Pat's skipper Conor Kenna with assistant referee Damien McGrath flagging for a penalty.

Former Saint, Mark Quigley, coolly sent Barry Murphy the wrong way from the spot.

Sadly, a terrific game ended on a sour note in stoppage time with both Sligo captain Danny Ventre and St Pat's winger Sean O'Connor sent off following scuffles after St Pat's were aggrieved at a hop ball incident after the game was stopped following a clash of heads.

St Pat's started the game brightly, but it wasn't long before Sligo settled and began to take the game to their visitors, stunning them with two quick goals by the 24th minute.

The deserved lead came on 21 minutes from a delightfully worked goal.

Raffaele Cretaro collected Haitian Pascal Millien's pass, turned nimbly to nutmeg Ian Bermingham and race in to shoot through the legs of Murphy.

Three minutes later, Ian Baraclough's side extended their lead. Peers flicked on Ross Gaynor's corner at the near post and Cretaro arrived at the back upright to nod home his fifth goal in his last six games.

St Pat's made a change at the break and responded well to get a goal back on 53 minutes.

O'Connor's diagonal ball into the area took a nick off the head of Ventre and dropped into the path of Christy Fagan who rifled a crisp shot across Gary Rogers to the far corner of the net.

O'Connor curled a free-kick off the top of the far post before St Pat's levelled on 59 minutes.

O'Connor pulled another free-kick back to the edge of the area for Chris Forrester, whose drive deflected to the net off the head of Sligo left-back Gaynor.

Substitute Anto Flood was inches from giving St Pat's the lead on 84 minutes, his curling shot clipping the top of Rogers' crossbar, before the late drama gave Sligo the title their season's effort fully deserved.

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