Shamrock Rovers continue their roll towards a third league title in a row after they eased past Sligo Rovers 3-1 on Saturday, but manager Stephen Bradley is expecting a much more difficult task as they return to Europa League action in Norway this week.
he Hoops dominated from the start at the Showgrounds when Dan Cleary nodded home Seán Kavanagh’s cross after 15 minutes, with Dylan Watts netting the second on 38 minutes when Jack Byrne fed a clever ball into the path of Watts who added a clinical finish.
The away side added a third goal in the second half when Byrne picked out the run of Rory Gaffney with the Galway man squaring it for Graham Burke who tapped it into the net.
Sligo brought the game back to 3-1 with Nando Pijnaker adding the finish but the table-toppers held out for the win and now turn their attention to Thursday night where they will travel to Molde for their Europa League Conference clash.
Speaking after the match on Saturday, Rovers boss Stephen Bradley warned his players that they cannot afford the same type of calamitous start that saw them fall two behind after 20 minutes against Gent in their last European outing.
“It’s going to be tough for us”, Bradley said. “They’re top of their league and we know Bodo/Glimt, who are in second and are a serious team, so, it shows you the level these are at.
“But I said it from the start, these are best team in the group. I watched them lose to Djurgardens but I still feel they’re the better team.
“We have to improve on what we did in Gent. We can’t start that way and expect to win the game. Against these teams, once you give the ball away, you’re chasing the game and they just wait to pick you off.”
Sligo Rovers – R Brush; C Horgan, S Blaney, N Pijnaker, P Kirk; A McDonnell (K Barlow 63), D Cawley (R Burton h-t), G Bolger (N Morahan 63); F Liivak (K O’Sullivan 72); A Keena, M Mata (W Fitzgerald 63).
Shamrock Rovers – A Mannus; S Gannon (S Hoare 74), D Cleary, L Grace; R Finn (N Farrugia 84), S Kavanagh (A Lyons 71); D Watts, J Byrne (V Serdenyuk 84), G O’Neill; G Burke (A Greene 71); R Gaffney.
Ref – P McLaughlin