Report: Ryan McMullen

Despite numerous chances for both sides, the points would be shared after the game finished scoreless at The Showgrounds.

Pico Lopes, who made his first appearance of the season against Derry on Monday (4 March), was named in the starting lineup going into the game – captaining the side too. The Cape Verde international coming into the team initially meant that Dylan Watts dropped to the bench, however, the midfielder was called upon close to kick-off after midfielder Gary O’Neill picked up an injury in the warmup.

The first opportunity of the game would fall to the hosts early on when an Ollie Denham effort at the back post was sent just wide of the target from a Simon Power free-kick.

Power himself then had an attempt of his own minutes later – after a pass was fed into him by Max Mata, the Greystones native fired the ball at goal but it was kept out by the post on the left-hand side.

On a difficult surface, both sides took time to settle into the game, with Leon Pohls being the busier of the two ‘keepers in the opening stages.

At the other end, Graham Burke couldn’t direct his effort the right side of the post after Rory Gaffney glanced a header into his path.

Sligo had an opportunity shortly after the half-hour mark when a Simon Power free-kick was sent in from wide on the left, but Pohls got down smartly to deny a goalbound Max Mata attempt.

Less than a minute later, Hartmann skilfully created space for himself inside the box and took on a shot, but failed to direct his effort on target.

At half-time, we were yet to see a breakthrough. It was Rovers who controlled the possession throughout although Sligo had the better of the chances. The Hoops were hoping to come back out for the second 45 minutes of play and trouble Ed McGinty more in the Sligo goal.

Shortly after the break, Hartmann played a pass to the overlapping JR Wilson who drove into the box before cutting it back to Ellis Chapman who saw his effort cleared off the line by Dan Cleary.

Upon the hour mark, the Hoops upped their intensity and attacked with more pace as well as creating some half-chances but again, none of these troubled McGinty in goal for Sligo.

Rory Gaffney had a quiet night which was uncharacteristic of the Galway man and 64 minutes in, Johnny Kenny came on to replace him up front, the 20-year-old had opportunities against his former club, finding himself one-on-one with McGinty on a couple of occasions.

Pico Lopes picked out Josh Honohan with a searching pass who cushioned a header into the path of Kenny but the striker saw his effort deflected behind by Oliver Denham.

Minutes later, Burke teed up Kenny to the right of the box, but McGinty got down well to save.

Kenny had a third attempt when again Burke picked him out, this time to the left of the box, however, the striker failed to trouble McGinty in the Sligo goal.

In the end, neither side could break the deadlock and had to settle for an outcome of a point apiece full-time.

Overall, the result was a frustrating one for Rovers who had looked to put their first three points on the board.

However, they will have the opportunity to secure their first win of the season Friday night as the Hoops head West again to face Galway United, with kick-off set for 7:45 pm at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Sligo Rovers: McGinty, Wilson, Denham, Pijnaker, Hutchinson, Malley, Morahan © (Barlow 88’), Power, Hartmann (Fitzgerald 61’), Chapman, Mata (Waweru 76’).

Sligo Rovers unused substitutes: Brush, Wiggett, Radosavljevic, McAteer, Reynolds, Elding.

Shamrock Rovers: Pohls, Burns, Cleary, Lopes, Grace, Honohan, Watts (Noonan 89’), Poom, Burke (Nugent 89’), Gaffney (Kenny 64’), Greene (Towell 77’).

Shamrock Rovers unused substitutes: Steacy, Leitis, Hoare, Barrett.

Referee: Rob Hennessy