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On the Sli

Cliftonville continue their pre-season preparations in tonight’s friendly with Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds (7.45pm) in what will represent the 16th meeting between the Clubs.

The Reds hold an unenviable record against their similarly-hued hosts, who boast 10 wins to Cliftonville’s three.

The first encounter took place on August 9, 1975, when Sligo clocked up a comfortable 3-0 win on home soil before toasting a 2-1 success when they first visited Solitude three years later.

Rovers returned to north Belfast 38 years ago today for a 5-1 victory that remains the biggest winning margin and highest-scoring game in clashes between the sides and, though somewhat less entertaining, the next encounter saw the League of Ireland outfit further underline their dominance in the fixture with a 2-0 win in April 1982.

Cliftonville’s first ever triumph against Sligo came later the same year, however, when goals from Davy McAlinden, Peter Dunlop and Brendan Tully earned a 3-1 success at Solitude.

Tully bagged a double in addition to strikes from Gary Higgins and Wesley Hanna as the Reds proceeded to claim their first victory at The Showgrounds in the summer of 1985 ahead of a solitary Davy Armstrong goal settling a tie at the same venue three years later.

That, however, would prove to be Cliftonville’s last taste of success against Rovers who, having lost three in a row, bounced back with a 2-1 win in 1989.

Though 0-0 and 1-1 draws would follow, there was no doubting Sligo’s ascendancy as the Bit o’ Red duly set about a run of five consecutive wins they will bid to build upon this evening.

After being defeated 2-1 and 1-0 in respective home and away friendlies, Cliftonville also lost both of the 2019/10 Setanta Sports Cup fixtures that remain the only competitive meetings between the Clubs, who last locked horns when Rovers were 1-0 victors at Solitude in February 2017.

Results Archive
August 9, 1975: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 3-0 Cliftonville
August 15, 1978: Friendly: Cliftonville 1-2 Sligo Rovers (Mills)
August 1, 1981: Friendly: Cliftonville 1-5 Sligo Rovers (Patterson)
April 24, 1982: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 2-0 Cliftonville
August 11, 1982: Friendly: Cliftonville 3-0 Sligo Rovers (McAlinden, Dunlop, Tully)
August 3, 1985: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 1-4 Cliftonville (Tully x2, Higgins, Hanna)
August 5, 1988: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 0-1 Cliftonville (Armstrong)
July 29, 1989: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 2-1 Cliftonville (Drake)
August 9, 1991: Friendly: Cliftonville 0-0 Sligo Rovers
August 9, 1992: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 1-1 Cliftonville (McCann)
August 7, 1993: Friendly: Cliftonville 1-2 Sligo Rovers (O’Kane)
August 3, 1997: Friendly: Sligo Rovers 1-0 Cliftonville
October 3, 2009: Setanta Sports Cup: Cliftonville 2-3 Sligo Rovers (Bannon, Boyce)
February 27, 2010: Setanta Sports Cup: Sligo Rovers 3-0 Cliftonville
February 3, 2017: Friendly: Cliftonville 0-1 Sligo Rovers