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Irish Team Earns “Huge” Result at Motherwell

Irish team Sligo Rovers went to Fir Park this week and secured an important away win Europa Conference League qualifying, defeating the home side 1-0.

The Full Scottish by Brian P. Dunleavy 

Fir Park is hardly a fortress in European football terms, but the Irishmen were quite thrilled in the aftermath of the victory, with manager John Russel describing it as “huge” and “one of the biggest” in the club’s history. Granted, it was only their fifth win all-time in European competition.

“It was a deserving win too, it wasn’t snatch and grab,” Russel told the press. “Motherwell probably did underestimate us a slight bit but we had to play to our potential and I thought we were really good in the transitions, causing them problems.”

Indeed, supporters at Fir Park appeared to blame the referee for their side’s troubles, launching a plastic bottle in the direction of the Faroe Islander after the final whistle. However, the blame lies elsewhere. Captain Stephen O’Donnell was missing for the match, with goalkeeper Liam Kelly wearing the armband. Emerging star Ross Tierney was left out of the starting XI and for some reason remained on the bench until the 64th minute.


By then, the Steelmen were punting the ball up the park, in hope rather than by design. For much of the match, they were given opportunities but failed to capitalize on them. They were wasteful in the final third.

“The goal we’ve given away has really hurt us [because] it allowed them to sit in and try to hit us on the counter but I thought we moved the ball better after the goal and got into some great positions,” Motherwell manager Graham Alexander told the media. “Second half was the same but we couldn’t find that clinical touch in front of goal. It wasn’t for a lack of effort or commitment. I thought it was a performance that should have won the game.”

That last bit is debatable. And the return leg went even worse. The Fir Park outfit lost 2-0 at Sligo (hardly an easy journey on a shoestring budget) Thursday, scotching, so to speak, any hopes of advancing. With their fifth-place finish last term, Motherwell were thrilled to potentially have European football this season.

By failing to advance at the first time of asking, though, it may be a “be-careful-what-you-wish-for” scenario. As we were just telling Gretna the other day.

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