Doherty goal spree puts gloss on NUIG final spot
Mayo forward Jason Doherty went on a scoring rampage, when he hit 3-3 as NUIG added gloss to their already secured final place by finishing Section 'A' unbeaten with a smash-and-grab defeat of Sligo at Quigabar.
When substitute Alan Costello's mighty score brought the home side level at 0-12 to 1-9 in the 24th minute of the second half, a Sligo success appeared likely, but Doherty delivered two goals in the space of 60 seconds to inspire a five-point win -- 3-9 to 0-13.
Doherty's third, from a Neil Douglas assist, was a scintillating finish -- as good as his opening goal after three minutes.
After conceding that early goal Sligo's situation worsened with the enforced withdrawal of Brendan Egan.
NUIG's slick attack set up an interval lead of four points -- 1-7 to 0-6 -- Greg Higgins (2), Doherty (2) and Neil Douglas among the point scorers.
Before those late Doherty goals, the winners only hit two second-half points, both within 10 minutes of the restart, as Sligo, boosted by Eamonn O'Hara's influence and fine points from Mark Breheny (0-6 in total) and Adrian Marren, began to recover.
O'Hara almost goaled with a fine shot after a typical run 10 minutes from full-time, while, earlier in the game NUIG goalkeeper, Nathan King showed fine reflexes to keep out efforts from Pat Hughes and Francis Quinn.
Scorers -- NUIG: J Doherty 3-3 (0-3f), N Douglas, G Higgins 0-2 each, S Gilmartin, D Corroon 0-1 each. Sligo: M Breheny 0-6 (4f), A Marren 0-4 (1f), A Costello 0-2, P Hughes 0-1.
NUIG -- N King, R Rochford, S McHale, K Rodgers, P Gardiner, C Conroy, D Gavigan, S Gilmartin, D Corroon, A Dillon, G Higgins, M McHugh, N Douglas, A Mullan, J Doherty. Subs: K Conlan for McHugh (h-t), G McDonagh for Conroy (h-t), P Gleeson for Gardiner (35), C Mimnagh for Dillon (51).
Sligo -- B McGovern, B Kennedy, G Gilsenan, R Donovan, C Harrison, P McGovern, B Curran, T Taylor, B Egan, F Quinn, E O'Hara, P Hughes, M Breheny, A Marren, D Maye. Subs: M McGowan for Egan (4); M Quinn for McGovern (25), A Costello for Maye (39), J Hynes for Hughes (48), S Davey for Quinn (51).
Ref -- M Daly (Mayo)