Sligo 1-21 Roscommon 2-27
THIS pre-season final between neighbours Sligo and Roscommon didn’t go in favour of Padraig Mannion’s Yeats men on Saturday evening in the impressive NUI Galway Air Dome.
Francis O’Halloran’s Roscommon, who Sligo defeated in the Christy Ring quarter final in a sweltering Dr Hyde Park last year, were lethal up front, and despite Sligo just behind by 2 at the second water break, it was the final quarter that Roscommon really pushed on.
Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch hit six points on the bounce for Sligo as the second water break approached, teammate Patrick Foley from Clarinbridge also adding another as they had clawed back the Roscommon lead heading into the second water break.
A superb first half goal from O’Kelly-Lynch in the 25th minute was finished sweetly to the back of the Roscommon net as Sligo were behind by four.
It was much better from Sligo after the break, with the six point deficit reduced to a mere two points, however, their opponents pushed on. The exceptional Daniel Glynn extending their advantage along with points from Eoin Fitzgerald, Matthew Comerford and a goal from substitute Adam Donnelly meant hopes for a late Sligo resurgence were dented.
The Yeats men were certainly make Roscommon work after overturning a 6 point interval deficit to come right back into it, however their third quarter push was thwarted by a stronger Roscommon finish.
Sligo were dealt a hammer blow with Niall Feehily having to depart through injury, last year’s captain a powerhouse at full-back.
It was Roscommon who got off to the better start, three points from Daniel Glynn and two Cathal Dolan efforts pushing them into a five point lead but Sligo battled back with Tony O’Kelly-Lynch getting them off the mark followed by a fantastic effort from captain Finnian Cawley. The impressive Foley brought it back to a three point game followed by a fine Rory McHugh effort, Conor Hannify and Eoin Fitzgerald trading scores just before the first water break, Sligo behind by 0-9 to 0-5.
Roscommon had crept into a 7 point advantage right before the game’s opening goal, O’Kelly-Lynch doing brilliantly to run and blast to the net, followed by another superb score from McHugh.
Matt Davey was working hard in the Sligo goal, stopping an attempt from Brendan Mulry with Sligo’s Fionn Connolly pointing the last score of the half, Sligo behind by 0-17 to 0-8.
Roscommon got a dream start to the second half with Fitzgerald finding the net.
However, the second period showed Sligo attack with momentum as O’Kelly-Lynch was wilfully converting the frees as Sligo were back to a two-point game at the second water break, 0-21 to 1-16.
The break came at the right time for Roscommon who kept the scores coming, substitute Adam Donnelly getting their second goal, Sligo’s Conor Hannify also departing with a straight red.
They now regroup and prepare for the Allianz Division 2B league which starts next weekend with a trip to Derry.
Sligo manager Padraig Mannion admitted the better team won on the day.
He told the press; “They were the better team and we cannot argue with that really.
“Their intensity, their work rate was better than ours,” he added.
He said losing Niall early on through injury didn’t help the cause either.
“Losing Niall and then Conor there late on with the red card didn’t help but we are turning our attention now to the league.
“We will be pushing on with the help of God and we had a challenge game as well to prepare for that.”
There are so many players on this Sligo team who have really impressed in recent times and Mannion admitted his headache is not just with selecting the starting 15 but indeed the panel.
“My headache is selecting the 32 on the panel, never mind the starting fifteen!
“But we can’t complain, the numbers have been really high.”
After Derry, Sligo have a home match with Donegal in Markievicz Park and then have London, Mayo and Wicklow, teams the Ballygar man said they know will be strong.
“We know they will be strong opponents and it is a big step up for the lads like coming up to Division 2B.
“But at the same time, we are really looking forward to it and we will give it our best,” he added. Sligo play Derry in Celtic Park on February 5th (2pm).
SLIGO: M Davey, N Kilcullen, N Feehily, K O’Kennedy, G Connolly, M Hannify, F Connolly, F Cawley (C), P Foley, C Hannify, R McHugh, M Munnelly, T O’Kelly-Lynch, G O’Kelly-Lynch, R Brennan.
Substitutes used; D Cawley for N Feehily (inj), J McHugh for M Munnelly, J Gordon for M Davey, T Cawley for R Brennan, K Gilmartin for T O’Kelly-Lynch.
ROSCOMMON; N Fallon, M Comerford, P Kellehan, T Gilmore, H Rooney, C Cosgrove, P Kelly, P Kelly, B McGahon, C Coyle, M J Egan, D Glynn, C Dolan, B Mulry, N Connaughton, E Fitzgerald.
Substitutes used; E Costello, D Kelly, A Donnelly.
Referee; C Quinlan (Galway).