Murphy a law unto himself in Sligo rout
Sligo 2-15 - Leitrim 0-10
Second-half goals from Kyle Cawley and Darragh Cummins wrapped up a comprehensive victory for Sligo over their neighbours Leitrim at Markievicz Park.
But it was in the opening half that Niall Carew's men laid the foundation for their success.
This was only the second ever meeting between these sides in the qualifiers, with Sligo looking to repeat their 2006 win over Leitrim. And they were well on their way as they took full advantage of the wind in the opening half to lead by 0-12 to 0-4 at the interval.
The key figure was full-forward Niall Murphy, who kicked 0-5 from play. Leitrim struggled to deal with quick ball being delivered from distance and Murphy made the most of everything which came his way. Sligo, having won the toss, got a great start when Mark Breheny landed a couple of early frees.
Emlyn Mulligan settled Leitrim with a point from play after six minutes, but Sligo took over and after Brian Egan popped over from a counter-attack, Murphy landed the first of his superb five.
Murphy was in devastating form and he added two more before Breheny's first from play pushed Sligo 0-7 to 0-1 ahead after 17 minutes. Ronan Kennedy responded with a free for Leitrim and Mulligan got another, but in between Sligo full-back Kevin McDonnell soloed forward to kick a magnificent effort.
Donal Wrynn got Leitrim's first point from play after 25 minutes to reduce the arrears, 0-8 to 0-4, and with wind advantage to come in the second-half, the travelling supporters began to hope. However, Sligo had other ideas and Adrian Marren pointed from the right before Murphy struck two more splendid efforts, with a free from Marren making it 0-12 to 0-4 at the break.
Leitrim had hope just before the break when Wyrnn pounced on Mulligan's delivery, but his fisted effort came back off the post before being scrambled clear. After the break, James Hynes managed just a point with the goal begging and Leitrim never looked staging a comeback as Kyle Cawley found the net for Sligo and sub Darragh Cummins wrapped it up in the dying moments.
Scorers - Sligo: N Murphy 0-5, M Breheny 0-4 (2f), K Cawley 1-0, D Cummins 1-0, A Marren 0-3 (1f, 1'45), J Hynes, K O'Donnell, B Egan 0-1 each. Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-4 (4f), N O'Donnell 0-2, D Wrynn, R Kennedy, (f), D Sweeney, C Gaffney 0-1 each.
Sligo: A Devaney; D Maye, K McDonnell, G O'Kelly-Lynch; Keelan Cawley, E Flanagan, Brendan Egan; J Hynes, A McIntyre; A Marren, M Breheny, N Ewing; Brian Egan, N Murphy, Kyle Cawley. Subs: C Breheny for Hynes (47), P Clark for Brian Egan (51), L Henry for Maye (63), N Gaughan for O'Kelly-Lynch (65), C Nally for Kyle Cawley (67), D Cummins for Marren (69).
Leitrim: B Flynn; P Maguire, R Gallagher, K McHugh; S McWeeney, G Reynolds, T Mulvey; S Moran, P McGowan; C Gilheaney, E Mulligan (0-4f), K Conlan; R Kennedy, D Wrynn, J Rooney. Subs: N Woods for Rooney (19), D Sweeney for McGowan (33), N O'Donnell for Gilheaney (34), A Croal for Gallagher (36), C Gaffney for Mulvey (51), R O'Rourke for Moran (60).
Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone).
Sunday Indo Sport