Sligo ease past a slack Wicklow with strong finish
Sligo won their first qualifier since 2009 by virtue of a flying start and a strong finish in Aughrim.
Sligo 0-12 Wicklow 0-10
The visitors were never behind, but they only put the issue to bed with late points from impressive substitute Stephen Coen and half-back Brian Curran. It was Sligo who powered out of the blocks in the opening stages. James Hynes popped over the opening score after two minutes.
Wicklow soon found themselves four points down thanks a fabulous Charlie Harrison effort, a free from Mark Brehony, and a wonderful score from a sideline by Adrian Marren, but they rallied.
Talismanic full-forward Seanie Furlong kicked two points and Anthony McLoughlin and Leighton Glynn brought the sides level. Sligo, however, created some good opportunities and they kicked the last two points, from a Marren free and a ’45 by goalkeeper Aidan Devaney to lead 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time. Wicklow were first to point after the break with James Stafford firing over. The hard-working Harrison replied for Sligo before Wicklow’s subs Niall Gaffney and Daragh O’Sullivan brought the sides level.
Sligo pushed on with a late burst to seal victory. Wicklow had to chase a goal and, hard though they tried, they never really looked like recovering.
Scorers — Sligo: C Harrison, A Marren (f), S Coen, M Brehony 0-2 (2fs) each, A Devaney, B Curran, J Hynes, D Kelly 0-1. each. Wicklow: S Furlong 0-4 (f), R Finn, L Glynn (f), N Gaffney, D O’Sullivan, A McLoughlin, J Stafford 0-1 each.
Sligo: A Devaney; R Donovan, J Martyn, N Ewing; Charlie Harrison, A McIntyre, K Cawley; K McDonnell, J Hynes; B Curran, M Brehony, B Egan; P Hughes, A Marren, D Kelly. Subs: J Kilcullen for Brehony (44); S Coen for Egan (56); D Rooney for Hynes (64).
Wicklow: R Lambert; C Hyland, P McLoughlin, A Murphy; K Murphy, A Byrne, D Healy; J Stafford, A McLoughlin; D Hayden, P Earls, R Finn; L Glynn, S Furlong, P McWalter. Subs: N Gaffney for Hayden (h-t); J McGrath for McWalter (46); C McGraynor for Earls (54); D O’Sullivan for Finn (58).
Referee: C Branagan (Down)