Sligo Rovers seal Airtricity Premier Division title with late win over St Pat's

Sligo Rovers halted a St Patrick's Athletic comeback to win their first league title in 35 years after the most dramatic of contests at the Showgrounds
Ian Baraclough's Sligo Rovers won the Airtricity Premier Division title for the first time in 35 years after a pulsating 3-2 victory over St Patrick's Athletic at the Showgrounds.

Raffaele Cretaro put the Bit O'Red into a comfortable 2-0 half-time lead with two well-taken goals before Christy Fagan and Chris Forrester looked to have forced the west coast side to put the champagne on ice.

However, a controversial last-minute handball call against Pat's gifted Mark Quigley the chance to earn Rovers the title from the penalty spot and he duly obliged.

The drama did not end there, however, as Danny Ventre and Sean O'Connor both saw late red cards after an ugly spat in injury time.

That could not put an dampner on Sligo's day though as Baraclough celebrated jubilantly after winning the title at the first time of asking.

Pat's can count themselves unlucky as they twice hit the woodwork; first through Sean O'Connor and a second time in the shape of a sumptuous Anto Flood effort but it would prove to be Sligo's day.

Second-placed Pat's were on the back foot for large periods of the first half and fell behind after just 20 minutes. Raffaele Cretaro gave Sligo the lead, putting the ball past Barry Murphy after breaking through on goal.

Tidy approach play brought the ball to the edge of the area and, with an exquisite piece of skill, Cretaro put the ball through Ian Bermingham's legs before doing the same to Murphy.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0 to the hosts, with Cretaro grabbing a second, heading in at the back post from a corner which was flicked on by Gavin Peers.

Pat's looked sharper in the second half, helped by the introduction of Vinny Faherty, and got one back after 51 minutes through Fagan's blistering strike.

Amazingly, Pat's drew level on the hour mark as Chris Forrester's shot following a short free-kick routine came through a crowd of bodies and was deflected en route to the net.

However, Sligo continued to push men forward in order to claim the title in front of a Showgrounds' sell-out crowd.

Cretaro and Quigley both had decent chances for the hosts before the 89th-minute penalty gifted Sligo the title.

Kenna was adjudged to have handled in the area as Peers struck on goal and Quigley made no mistake from the spot to send the home fans into raptures.