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Colleary with the key score as first ever final beckons

Homeland SFC semi-final 1: Drumcliffe/Rosses Point 1-7 Coolera/Strandhill 0-9

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Ciaran McLoughlin of Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in action with Coolera/Strandhill’s Kevin Banks in the Homeland SFC semi final. Pic: Donal Hackett

Ciaran McLoughlin of Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in action with Coolera/Strandhill’s Kevin Banks in the Homeland SFC semi final. Pic: Donal Hackett

Ciaran McLoughlin of Drumcliffe/Rosses Point in action with Coolera/Strandhill’s Kevin Banks in the Homeland SFC semi final. Pic: Donal Hackett

Drumcliffe/Rosses Point will contest a first ever Homeland Sligo Senior Football Championship final after a narrow one-point win over Coolera/Strandhill at Markievicz Park last Saturday evening.

In a tense contest with massively competitive exchanges from the off, a surge from the North Sligo men in the middle of the second half put them into a commanding position, with Niall Colleary's 48th minute goal the key score.

Coolera/Strandhill, bidding to reach the county final for a second successive year having appeared in last year's decider, were the better team for long stages and led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the 40th minute mark.

Barry O'Mahony, arguably the championship's best forward, again impressed here, kicking eight of the seasiders' nine points.

The full forward was the first man to raise a white flag, and a free after 14 minutes put Coolera/Strandhill 0-2 to 0-0 in front.

Failing to register a score in the first 20 minutes, Drumcliffe/Rosses Point were still competing well and eventually got off the mark when Cian Lally, who had a strong ten minutes before half time, took on the Coolera/Strandhill defence and registered a first point.

This was followed by scores from Paul Logan - one a free, the other from a mark - to put Fergal O'Flaherty's men into a 0-3 to 0-2 lead.

Another O'Mahony free put Coolera/Strandhill back on level terms in the 28th minute before Enda Lennon's point from play in added time left his side in front at the break, 0-4 to 0-3.

After half-time, Coolera/Strandhill really stamped their authority on proceedings and opened up a four-point gap.

O'Mahony was on target with three scores on the bounce - two coming from frees - to establish a 0-7 to 0-3 lead and at that stage, in a tight match, that appeared to be a potentially decisive move towards a final place.

Drumcliffe/Rosses Point, however, had other ideas. Niall Canning's good point before the water break trimmed the gap to three points, 0-7 to 0-4.

After the resumption came the key score of the game.

Paul Logan found himself in space with an opportunity of goal; he opted to hand pass it across the square, where Niall Colleary palmed to the net.

Back on level terms, 1-4 to 0-7, Drumcliffe/Rosses Point tagged on another score soon after when Colleary fisted over a point, and Kieran Lyndham's fine score from play extended the lead to two, 1-6 to 0-7 as the game entered the final ten minutes.

Another point from Barry O'Mahony cut the gap to a point, 1-6 to 0-8, but Paul Logan's response padded the lead out to two once more.

In the tense finale, another O'Mahony score left the minimum between the sides but Drumcliffe/Rosses Point hung on to claim a historic victory and progress to a first ever senior final.

Drumcliffe/Rosses Point: P Durcan; A McCormack, C McLoughlin, J McGarry; S Power, N Ewing, J McGowan; M Horkan, S Waldron; C McBride, C Lally (0-1), S Regan; E Gaughan, N Colleary (1-1), P Logan (0-3, 2fs). Subs used: B Monaghan, N Canning (0-1), K Lyndham (0-1).

Coolera/Strandhill: K Harte; C McDonagh, S Murphy, G Kelly; A O'Boyle, T Gilligan, A Higgins; B Doyle, K Banks; G Cawley, K Cawley, L Doherty; O McDonagh, B O'Mahony (0-8, 6fs), E Lennon (0-1). Subs used: P Gaughan, D McGee, M McCallion.

Referee: Ciaran McGovern.

Sligo Champion