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Saturday 19 August 2017

Sligo stake a claim in title race

Cork boss expects Rovers to challenge

Sligo Rovers players on top of Stephen Beattie after scoring his side's goal
Sligo Rovers players on top of Stephen Beattie after scoring his side's goal

A TWO-HORSE race in 2014, the new League of Ireland season already looks like being a more open race in 2015.

And John Caulfield, manager of title favourites Cork City, says he expects Sligo Rovers to put up a real challenge after Cork, last season's runners-up, needed a late, late show to earn a point away to Sligo.

Bohemians, 3-0 winners away to Limerick on Saturday night, are the unexpected league leaders. However Gypsies fans won't get too excited too soon - last term they also began with a 3-0 away win (to UCD) but after that managed just one win from the next 14 league games so expectations will remain in check.

One surprise from the opening weekend was the healthy attendance figures: aggregate games of just under 15,000 for the six Premier Division fixtures and a very healthy gate of 1,420 for Cabinteely's opening night win over Wexford.

Cork needed a goal from Ross Gaynor deep into injury time to get a 1-1 draw in Sligo but City boss Caulfield expects Sligo to impress.

"Sligo will be right up there at the top, Owen Heary has assembled a really good side, Sligo could win the league as well," said Caulfield. "That's great for the people here and the club, we're just happy to get away with a point."

Sligo boss Heary questioned the amount of added time played but was pleased to get a point.

"There are loads of positives from us. Cork are supposed to be up there at the top of the table at the end of the season, lots of people have tipped them to win the league, so for us to put in a performance against them the way we did was pleasing," said the Dubliner.

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