After 35 years Sligo Rovers crowned Airtricity League Premier Division Champions

By Nicole Rogers

Raffaele Cretaro and Mark Quigley gave Sligo a historical victory over St Patrick’s Athlectic’s with a 3-2 end result at Rovers home pitch The Showgrounds on Saturday the 13th of October 2012. With this victory Rovers became the 2012 winners of the Airtricity league Premier Division for the first time in 35 years clinching victory in the 89th minute thanks to Mark Quigley’s penalty.

Cretaro scored two goals within three minutes of each other early in the first half for Rovers, similarly Christy Fagan and Chris Forrester got two early goals for St. Pat’s in the second half but Rovers midfielder Quigley secured a penalty in 89th minute of play to claim victory for Rovers.

In the first half Sligo Rovers were in the control of the game with the majority of ball possession. Rovers got off to a great start in the match with Raffaele Cretaro securing the first goal of the match thanks to a great pass from Pascal Millien in 21st minute to put Rovers in front.

Three minutes later Cretaro followed up his first goal with yet another impressive goal. Ross Gaynor’s corner was met by Gavin Peers and then passed off to Cretaro to put The Bit O’Red side up by 2 goals.

Cretaro has been in great form for Rovers scoring two goals for the side in the previous match against Derry City.

Pascal Millien had an impressive first half leading a lot of Rovers attacks, Mark Quigley was working hard in midfield throughout the first half.

Towards the end of the second half St. Pat’s started to gain more possession and Greg Bolger’s shot was unfortunately for Pat’s over the goal. St. Pat’s had a few more chances but couldn’t get passed the good defending of Jeff Henderson and Jason Mc Guinness.

Chris Forrester had a good run in the 38th minute but was denied, Sean O’ Connor and Chris Forrester were the standouts for Pat’s the first half.

In the second half St. Pat’s became in control of the game straight away after their bad start in the first half. In the 52nd minute Christy Fagan secured a goal as a result of bad defending from Rovers to give St.
Pat’s a boost.

After this goal Rovers defender Jeff Henderson was taken off and replaced by David Cawley. St. Pat’s had a few more chances and in the 58th minute Chris Forrester secured a second goal to even the score.

Minutes later Pascal Millien had a near miss for Rovers to try to put the home side back in the lead again.Towards the end of the second half Millien and Quigley were showing signs of returning to the form they were in during the first half.

In the closing minutes of the match Rovers were back on the attack and a handball from St. Pat’s Conor Kenna secured a penalty, which Quigley struck well to secure a victory in 89th minute of the match.

The rivalry between the two side was very evident as an altercation broke out between Rovers captain  Danny Ventre and St. Pats Sean O’ Connor both receiving a red card.

This win for Rovers is a very proud moment for team as they haven’t been crowned the champions of the Airtricity League Premier Division since 1977. The celebrations on the pitch after the final whistle were a great sight for Sligo supporters.

Iarfhlaith Davoren an injured member of the Sligo Rovers Squad spoke after the match saying “St. Pat’s are a very good team, play lovely football so it was always going to be tough task but with the atmosphere in The Showgrounds the boys got a great win”.

Rovers had a great first half but lacked in the second until lasting minutes but secured a victory thanks to Cretaro and Quigley. St. Pat’s put up a good fight in the second half with the two early goals from Fagan and Forrester but Rovers clinched victory in the 89th minute of play as 5,261 supporters looked on.

This is especially sweet victory for Rover to win the league after 35 years and so on their home pitch in front of thousands of supporters. Ian Baraclough Rovers manager will be very happy with his teams perform during his first year as manager after taking over from Paul Cook in February of this year. The atmosphere in The Showgrounds was electric with the Rovers supporters flooding the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate the win.

Referee Damien Hancock

Sligo Rovers – Gary Rogers, Jeff Henderson (David Cawley 54), Jason Mc Guinness, Gavin Peers, Ross Gaynor, Lee Lynch, Danny Ventre, Joseph Ndo (Liam Buchanan 84), Raffaele Cretaro, Mark Quigley, Pascal Millien (John Dillon)

St. Patrick’s Athletic – Barry Murphy, Ger O’ Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, James Chambers (John Russel 70), Jake Carroll, Greg Bolger (Vinny Faherty 46), Chris Forrester (Anthony Flood 80), Christy Fagan, Sean O’ Connor

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