Collins hopeful Rossies' victory can steer them down route to further success
Roscommon U-21 skipper Neil Collins said that their title win could lead to better days ahead for the county.
The Roscommon full-back produced a man-of-the-match performance as they captured their sixth crown in the grade.
"Hopefully this can lead to better times for Roscommon and I pay tribute to all who helped secure this win," said the Castlerea clubman.
And manager Jimmy Gacquin is also hopeful that his side's first Connacht title in 11 years can be a springboard for further success.
"We missed quite a few frees and we had to deal with that, but we knew it would be close all through against Sligo," said Gacquin. "Hopefully now this can be the springboard to further success."
Supersub Alan O'Hara struck the decisive goal as Roscommon were hanging on to a one-point lead against the wind with just four minutes remaining.
Sligo 'keeper Brian McGovern did well to deprive Darren McDermott but O'Hara followed through to finish to the net. Sligo had clawed their way back having fell 0-4 to 0-1 behind after 12 minutes of the opening half.
David Maye boosted Sligo with a second-minute point, but Roscommon took over and a couple of pointed frees from Donie Shine edged them in front.
Niall Kilroy and Kevin Higgins hit good points from play as Roscommon opened up a goal lead, but they were guilty of some bad misses and hit seven first-half wides.
Maye pointed a superb '45 into the teeth of the wind and Padraig Clarke reduced the deficit to the minimum, before Paul Kilroy responded for Roscommon to leave them two points in front, 0-5 to 0-3, at the break.
But Sligo were unable to use the wind advantage and managed just a solitary point after the restart, another free from Maye after 43 minutes. However, he got few openings from play as Roscommon full-back Collins produced a stellar display to keep him at bay.
There was just a point between them going into the closing stages but just as Sligo seemed poised for a late raid, it was O'Hara who popped up to kill off a comeback.
Scorers -- Roscommon: A O'Hara 1-0; K Higgins, D Shine (2f) 0-2 each; N Kilroy, P Garvey (1f) 0-1 each. Sligo: D Maye 0-3 (2f, 1 '45), P Clarke 0-1.
Roscommon -- D O'Malley; J Sharkey, N Collins, M Higgins; J McKeague, N Daly, E Bannon; N Carty, K Higgins; P Garvey, C Shine, B Murtagh; N Kilroy, D Shine, D McDermott. Subs: E Kenny for Murtagh (35 mins), P O'Grady for Sharkey (40), A O'Hara for Kilroy (49).
Sligo -- B McGovern; Daniel Maye, G Gilsenan, N Gaughan; R McGarigle, B O'Boyle, K Cawley; C Davey, C Burns; D Gilsenan, P Clarke, P Kelly; N Judge, David Maye, A Dunne. Subs: C Brady for Judge (38), J Hynes for Kelly (43), P Greene for McGarigle (51).
Ref -- V Neary (Mayo).