Thursday 18 July 2019

Down defeat Sligo in late late show at Connolly Park

Sligo 1-10 Down 1-12

David Goulden

Sligo are the only side in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League yet to pick up a point after an injury time Down goal saw Paul Taylor's side beaten in Collooney.

The Yeatsmen looked like they had recovered from goalscorer Pat Hughes' late red card, but Caolan Mooney popped up in the fifth minute of added time to see Sligo beaten for a second time in seven days.

As cruel as the manner of the defeat was, Sligo's showing was an improved performance from the previous weekend's collapse to Carlow and things looked bright early on.

Showing five changes from the trip to Cullen Park, the black and white stormed into a five point lead with six minutes gone.

Hughes slotting over the free he won from 30 metres, while Niall Murphy combined with Liam Gaughan as the latter judged the posts with typical accuracy from the Tourlestrane man.

This was the first league game to be hosted by Owenmore Gaels in over seventy years and local supporters had more to cheer when Hughes registered the first goal of the game.

The Geevagh man electing not to take the mark after he plucked Adrian Marren's pass out of the sky. Instead, Hughes quickly turned his marker before firing past Rory Burns in the Down goal.

Sligo's impressive start was stunted by three scores conceded in as many minutes.

Paul Devlin's free in front of goal was followed by successive white flags from the boots of Pat Havern and Jerome Johnston. While just moments on the field, substitute Ryan Johnston narrowed the gap to just the one score with 19 played.

Sligo ended a 14 minute drought without a score on 20 with a much needed free converted from the hands of Sean Carribine. Murphy following up with a brace of his own to steady the ship. Sligo ahead by four with seven of the half to go.

Down finished the opening period stronger. Donal O'Hare too, not long on the pitch when he sent over a double of his own, Down cutting Sligo's advantage to two points at the interval.

Paddy Tally's side started the started the second half where they left off in the first. O'Hare claiming his third, quickly followed up by Devlin's second, while a Ryan Johnston point levelled the score on 46.

Down hit the lead for the first time as continuous rainfall worsened conditions under foot. Mooney and Stephen Fegan executing a well worked one-two as Mooney kicked over.

Sligo net minder Aidan Devaney had the teams tied once again with a well-hit free from 50 metres. Devaney's opposite number Burns then did just enough to put off Carribine in front of goal after Gaughan's superb ball into the path of the Castleconnor man, who didn't have enough time to bring it under control.

Hughes and Mooney exchanged scores on 63 and 64 minutes respectively as the destination of the points became anyone's guess.

But then arrived the game's talking point. Hughes' high challenge on a Down man summoned a red card from referee Padraig Hughes' back pocket, much to the anger of the Sligo bench. O'Hare adding salt to Sligo wounds as he converted the resulting free in front of his own dugout.

Sligo didn't allow this set back affect them however and the home side rallied to manufacture a point from Murphy and the score of the game from Carribine who bided his time before firing over from the angle at the dressing room end.

The home support looked like they would go home happy, particularly after Down's Barry O'Hagan fluffed his lines from close range for what would have been a late equaliser in added time.

But cruelly, Down had one more opportunity to decide this tie as they hurried through an ever deeper Sligo line. Possession falling to Darren O'Hagan at the end line who picked out O'Hare who in turn pulled the ball back for the waiting Mooney to lace past Devaney and a series of Sligo defenders.

Sligo: Aidan Devaney (0-1); Nathan Mullen, Peter Laffey, John Carr; Luke Nicholson (Cathal Henry 53), Paul McNamara, Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch; Paul Kilcoyne, Adrian McIntyre; Liam Gaughan (0-2), Paddy O'Connor (Brian McGowan 69), Sean Carribine (0-2); Adrian Marren (Barry O'Gorman 64), Pat Hughes (1-2), Niall Murphy (0-3).

Sent off: Pat Hughes (68).

Down: Rory Burns; Darren O'Hagan, Shay Murnin (Ryan Johnston 15) (0-2), Gerard Collins; Stephen Fegan, Colm Flanagan, Caolan Mooney (1-2); Liam Devlin (Daniel McCarthy HT), Johnny Flynn; Conor Francis, Conor Polan, Kevin McKernan; Jerome Johnston (0-1) (Donal O'Hare 27) (0-4), Pat Havern (0-1) (Daniel McGuinness 50), Paul Devlin (0-2) (Barry O'Hagan 54).

Referee: Padraig Hughes

Sligo Champion