Goals from John Russell and Evan McMillan helped Ian Baraclough's side secure all three points at the Showgrounds
Sligo Rovers opened their SSE Airtricity Premier Division campaign with a late victory over local neighbours Athlone Town thanks to goals from John Russell and Evan McMillan after Philip Gorman gave the visitors a surprise lead.
Sligo Rovers piled on the pressure from the outset and their attacking style created several chances, going close after just four minutes when Danny Ledwith hit the post with a free-kick. Moments later, Alan Keane crossed for Sean Maguire, but the new signing could not turn the ball in.
Athlone Town struggled to get a foothold on the game and were fortunate to go in at the break level, as Sligo dominated the possession stats.
Referee Robert Rogers was in the thick of things when Sean Brennan's cross was handled in the box by Danny Ledwith, awarding Athlone a penalty kick, which Philly Gorman gratefully converted.
It took only 10 minutes for the home side to get back into the game, when a cross from David Cawley was met by John Russell who headed home to leave the keeper no chance.
Ian Baraclough urged his players to grab all three points, and they did exactly that three minutes from time when substitute Evan McMillan hit home after more good work from Russell.
First Division champions Athlone Town will have to ensure they hold onto leads in the top tier if they wish to ensure their survival this season.