Sunday 23 October 2016

Marren on the mark to fire Sligo into Connacht decider

Sligo 1-14 Roscommon 0-13

Declan Rooney

Published 21/06/2015 | 02:30

Sligo’s Keelan Cawley shields the ball from Senan Kilbride. Photo: Oliver McVeigh
Sligo’s Keelan Cawley shields the ball from Senan Kilbride. Photo: Oliver McVeigh
Roscommon's Cian Connolly scores a point despite the attentions of Daniel Maye
Enda Smith evading a challenge from Sligo's Criostoir Daly
Sligo's Mark Breheny feeling the pressure

Sligo stunned Roscommon to reach their first Connacht final since 2012 after an epic encounter at Markievicz Park last night.

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Adrian Marren, Pat Hughes and David Kelly devoured the Rossies to set up a provincial decider against Mayo in four weeks' time.

Roscommon had no answer to the rampant home side as barely a handful of John Evans' side were at their best. And it was the home side that got off to the brighter start - a point from Cian Breheny in the second minute was a great way to launch his championship debut - and after two uncharacteristic wides from Senan Kilbride, Sligo were delighted to open a 0-2 to 0-0 lead when Adrian Marren landed a sixth-minute free.

As expected, Roscommon's more experienced midfield were lording this sector of the pitch under both teams' kick-outs, but the Yeats men were causing huge problems for Roscommon thanks to their powerful running out of defence and accurate deliveries into their potent full-forward line.

Enda Smith finally got the Rossies on the board in the tenth minute with a brilliant point off the outside of the right, but the home side continued to pepper the Roscommon full-back line and Pat Hughes added a point, before Marren's second free made it 0-4 to 0-1.

Sligo were by far the better team at the midway point of the first-half, but John Evans' troops managed to keep in touch and points from Cathal Cregg - a fine score on the run - and a Ciaran Murtagh free meant they only trailed by one point ten minutes before the break.

But from there to half time Sligo took total control. David Kelly was giving Seanie McDermott a torrid time and after he was fouled Marren slotted his third free.

And three minutes from the interval Sligo got the boost their endeavours deserved. Mark Brehony was probably dismayed to see his shot from the right crash off the cross bar, but after Neil Ewing gathered the rebound a careless foul from Neil Collins earned Sligo a penalty.

The return from the spot thus far in the championship has been poor, but there was no stopping Marren's bullet to the corner.

Deep into added time Criostóir Davey was black carded for pulling down a Roscommon player under a high ball, but despite that knock back, Sligo went into the interval on the back of another fine score: Kelly was again the instigator, this time Hughes benefited as the Yeats men led 1-7 to 0-5.

Cathal Cregg got Roscommon up and running ten seconds into the second-half with a fine point from play, but any notions of an immediate Sligo collapse were quenched with two excellent points on the trot from Marren and Cian Brehony.

The Sligo defence had been prised open on one or two occasions previously, but substitute Donie Smith was handed the best goal chance after been sent in on goal, but his high shot was tipped over his own bar by Aidan Deveaney.

And in a crucial two minutes spell Roscommon could have shattered that Sligo advantage. Firstly Ciaran Murtagh hit the post with an easy free, before Cian Connolly missed an open goal after Enda Smith's initial shot was saved well by Devaney.

Kelly got the point he deserved 13 minutes from time following a mix-up in the Roscommon defence, but with the goal at his mercy he took the certain point rather than the chancy goal attempt. It made no difference.

Scorers - Sligo: A Marren 1-7 (1-0pen, 3f), P Hughes 0-2, C Brehony 0-2, M Brehony 0-2, D Kelly 0-1. Roscommon: C Cregg 0-4, C Cafferky 0-2, E Smith 0-2, C Murtagh 0-2 (2f), F Cregg 0-1 (1f), N Daly 0-1, I Kilbride 0-1.

Sligo: A Devaney; R Donavan, K McDonnell, D Maye; E Flanagan, B Egan, K Cawley; C Breheny, N Murphy; C Davey, M Breheny, N Ewing; D Kelly, P Hughes, A Marren. Subs: B Curran for Davey (35 +3 BC), S Gilmartin for C Breheny (62).

Roscommon: D O'Malley; S McDermott, N Carty, N Collins; N Daly, D Ward, C Cafferky; I Kilbride, C Shine; E Smith, R Stack, C Cregg; D Murtagh, S Kilbride, C Murtagh. Subs: C Connolly for D Murtagh (34), D Smith for Stack (h-t), D Keenan for Ward (42), C Compton for S Kilbride (55), F Cregg for C Murtagh (62), J Hynes for Cawley (70).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

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