A 35-year wait is over for Sligo Rovers FC after they were finally crowned champions of the Republic of Ireland.
A 3-2 home win against second-placed St Patrick's Athletic FC means Sligo have the Premier League wrapped up with two games to spare, bringing the title to the Showgrounds for the first time since 1977 and third in all. The Bit O'Red had Dublin-born striker Mark Quigley to thank – it was his penalty two minutes from time which sealed the club's 17th victory in 28 matches this season and sparked wild celebrations.
The success is a remarkable feat for Sligo's English-born coach, Ian Baraclough, who only took over a matter of days before the campaign started but settled into the role quickly. "It's a great achievement for the whole club," said captain Danny Ventre. "These fans have waited a long time for this and we're delighted for them."
Sligo made their supporters sweat, though. Leading 2-0 after 23 minutes thanks to Raffaele Cretaro's double, they eased off, allowing St Pats back into the game as goals from Sean O'Connor (53) and Christopher Forrester (60) restored parity. However, a handball in the penalty area by Saints captain Conor Kenna enabled Quigley to score the winner against his former employers and claim the title for Sligo.
Disappointed to lose out on the championship, the Dublin outfit will now focus their minds on finishing runners-up in the league and winning the FAI Cup final, where they play Derry City FC on 4 November.
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