Entertaining opener with Roscommon
FBD Connacht Senior Football League semi-final at Dr Hyde Park: Roscommon 2-18 Sligo 1-16
Sligo's first game in charge under Paul Taylor saw them making the short journey to Dr Hyde Park to face Roscommon in the FBD Connacht league semi final on Sunday. Both Sligo and Anthony Cunningham's Roscommon had a number of changes to their starting teams, Brian McGowan and Luke Towey making their senior debuts for Sligo starting in the full and half forward lines respectively.
The Yeats county are also without last year's captain Kevin McDonnell who is set to miss the year through a hip injury with Coolera/Strandhill's Niall Murphy taking over as captain.
It was Murphy who was instrumental in getting Sligo back into this game with some excellent scores throughout, he had a tally of 1-8 at the end including a penalty in the 25th minute after Patrick O'Connor was brought down. Cunningham's men looked to be easing ahead early in the first half, a Shane Kiloran goal on 10 minutes followed by 2 quick scores from Ciaran Lennon (mark) and the excellent Enda Smith but Sligo came back and overturned Roscommon's 5 point lead into their own 5 point advantage shortly before the break.
Much discussion surrounds the new rules and this was the first match for both to test them out. Sligo were playing the first half with a strong breeze on their backs and needed their 4 point lead at the break after a half which saw both sides dominate for spells. It was a free-flowing and entertaining encounter, Roscommon's Cathal Cregg with a free on 4 minutes the game's opening score.
A minute earlier and the hosts nearly snatched a goal when Donie Smith, Niall Kilroy and Cregg advanced but it was saved on the line by Keelan Cawley.
Murphy got his first with a free on 7 minutes which was responded to by Conor Daly from play. Then referee Jerome Henry awarded a hop ball as Sligo keeper Aidan Devaney's kickout was not taken from the required 20m spot under the new rules, The ball fell into the path of Roscommon's Kiloran who gave Devaney no chance in the Sligo goal. The hardworking Towey sent over a brilliant score from play as Sligo trailed by 3.
Then Roscommon;s Lennon was awarded a mark which was the first mark converted as Smith put 5 between them midway through the half. Sligo then took over and it was the brilliant Murphy who was the instigator. A fabulous point in the 17th minute quickly followed by another from play after a Towey pass with the Coolera/Strandhill man bringing it back to a 2 point game with a free on 20 minutes.
A well-struck free from Carrabine was followed by Murphy's 5th point, his 3rd from play as it was level on 23 minutes. Sligo then went ahead as Roscommon had not scored since the 17th minute.
McGowan won the Roscommon kick-out and the advancing O'Connor was subsequently brought down the referee quickly signalling a penalty.
Murphy stepped up and his shot to the right went past Darren O'Malley in the Roscommon goal as Sligo led by 3.
Sligo's scoring spell saw eight scores in a row with another point from play from Towey and a free from Murphy for a Carrabine foul putting them into a 1-9 to 1-4 lead on 31 minutes,
Roscommon failing to score since the 17th minute.
It was Kiloran who passed to Kilroy for their first score in 16 minutes. Carrabine added another point from a mark for Sligo with the influential Kiloran wrapping up the half's scoring to leave it 1-10 to 1-6 in favour of the Yeats men at the break.
The hosts came out strongly after the resumption with a great point from Ronan Daly on 41 minutes pleasing the home crowd before Enda Smith turned over possession linking up with brother Donie who slotted over from play.
Kilroy brought it back to a one point game on 45 minutes and 3 minutes later the sides were level again with midfielder Caoilean Fitzmaurice on target.
Enda Smith then went on an attacking run and his fisted shot aimed at the incoming Lennon was tipped into the goal by a Sligo defender as Roscommon hit 1-4 without reply.
Substitute Pat Hughes had an impact on the game and was Sligo's first scorer in the 2nd half on 50 minutes with a free. Smith and Towey traded points from play before a Murphy free on Hughes and then Hughes with a mark brought it back all square once more on 57 minutes. Roscommon went ahead again through Niall Daly and Donie Smith and an Enda Smith free followed by Murphy from play saw Roscommon leading by 2-14 to 1-15.
Colin Compton pointed from play to put Roscommon into a 3 point advantage with 5 minutes to go before Nathal Mullen linked up with Paul Kilcoyne and the Sligo midfielder saw his attempt on goal sailing over the bar on 73 minutes. Sligo kept trying to find another goal but points from Roscommon's Donie Smith and 2 more from Compton including a mark saw them advance to this Sunday's league final meeting with Galway after an entertaining semi final.
ROSCOMMON: D O'Malley, G Patterson, S Mullolly, C Daly, C Hussey, N Daly, R Daly, T O'Rourke, C Fitzmaurice, N Kilroy, E Smith, S Kiloran, D Smith, C Lennon, C Cregg. Subs used: D Pettit for Mullolly (inj 28), H Darcy for Lennon (54), A Lyons for Cregg (55), E McGrath for Kiloran (56), C Compton for Kilroy (63). Scorers: E Smith 1-3 (1f), S Kiloran (1-1), D Smith (0-3, 1f), C Compton (0-3), N Kilroy (0-2), C Cregg(0-1, 1f), C Daly (0-1), C Lennon (0-1, 1f), R Daly (0-1), C Fitzmaurice (0-1), N Daly (0-1).
SLIGO: A Devaney; N Mullen, P Laffey, JF Carr; K Cawley, P McNamara, G O'Kelly-Lynch; P Kilcoyne, D Cummins; S Carrabine, P O'Connor, L Towey; B McGowan, D Quinn, N Murphy. Subs used: A McIntyre for Cummins (44), P Hughes for Quinn (46), A Marren for McGowan (58), L Nicholson for Mullen (59), A McLaughlin for Towey (65). Scorers: Sligo: N Murphy 1-8 (1 pen, 4f), L Towey 0-3, S Carrabine (2f), P Hughes (2f) 0-2 each, P Kilcoyne 0-1.
REFEREE: J Henry (Mayo).