Thursday 20 June 2019

Galway put an end to Sligo's Connacht campaign for second consecutive year

Sligo 0-07 Galway 3-11

David Goulden

Sligo's interest in the Connacht senior football championship ended at the semi-final stage in Markievicz Park with defeat to Galway for the second year running on Sunday.

A closer contest than last year's 21 point hammering, the 13 point difference somewhat flattered an out-of-sorts Galway side, who profited from two goals early in the second half.

In a relatively low key first period, both sides registered scores on their first attempts.

Niall Murphy converting Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch's free after the dual player was fouled by Kieran Molloy.

While man-of-the-match Liam Silke's sharp turn past his marker did all the hard work before the Corofin man slotted over.

Galway ended the game with 14 men when Sean O'Ceallaigh was sent off for two yellows, but were somewhat fortunate not to have been in arrears earlier on.

Corner forward Danny Cummins left Sligo goalkeeper Eammonn Killgannon in a heap on the floor, but referee Ciaran Branagan gave the Claregalway native the benefit of the doubt by only showing yellow.

The game had gone a full 15 minutes without a score when Galway hit the lead for the first time. A position they would not hand over.

Adrian McIntyre pulled off a great block to deny Ian Burke's goalward shot as Sligo afforded space to the Galway front lines.

They weren't to miss at the second attempt however as Fiontan O'Curraoin's looped effort landed on the roof of the Sligo goal.

The Tribesmen, who lost Kieran Molloy to a suspected dislocated shoulder in a collision with his own man, had their third point on 20.

Shane Walsh's first of four for the day, a free from the ground after Molloy's replacement Gary O'Donnell was upended.

Paul Taylor's boys for their part, could have been accused of failing to take their opportunities, hitting four first half wides.

Sean Carrabine, one of Sligo's better performers on the day, saw his shot from distance fall short of Bernard Power's goal 23 minutes in.

Galway's Michael Daly showed how it's done as he extended the lead to four with a super score from a very awkward angle, against the breeze.

The visitors chalked up nine wides themselves, four in the first half. The second of these arriving when Daly and Antaine O'Laio's hard work allowed Walsh fire off an effort on goal.

Killgannon beaten but relieved to watch the ball slip past his far post.

With no score since the second minute, Sligo eventually arrived back in the game on 25.

O'Kelly-Lynch losing his footing but doing enough to fire the ball between Power's posts to bridge the gap back to three.

Both Silke and Paddy O'Connor kept the wide count moving with misplaced efforts from decent positions.

Paul Kilcoyne showing accuracy however, to bring it to a one point game with his only score of the day a half hour in.

Silke rounded off the half with another Galway point before the interval. Sligo standing off both Thomas Flynn and Johnny Heaney, both architects of a simple tap over for Silke.

Improvement will be required should Galway see off either Roscommon or Mayo in this year's decider.

Midfielder John Daly typifying their lacking accuracy with two poorly struck shots early in the second half.

Murphy and Walsh exchanged scores in the 40 and 41st minutes respectively.

But Sligo's stay in this year's competition looked seriously under threat following a three minute spell which saw Galway push their lead from two to nine.

A free from the hands of Walsh was followed by two Galway goals.

Heaney squaring for Silke to punch into an open net as the Sligo defence was sliced open. While Heaney was left with a simple finish one minute later, when Daly's initial effort came back off the post and straight into the hands of the wide man.

Galway went close to a third on 47 when Kilgannon's short kick-out landed with Walsh.

The St Farnan's net minder redeeming himself as he got a outstretched foot to Walsh's follow-up.

The Yeatsmen then staged a mini-revival. Murphy striking through the ball from 30 yards out before repeating the trick with another impressive point with the outside of his boot for his fourth of the afternoon.

Carrabine got in on the act to reduce the score to a six point game, but the introduction of substitutes from both benches quenched the speed of the contest somewhat.

Sensing a third provincial decider in as many years, Galway were able to stifle the game and added insurance scores through Walsh, Daly and Eamonn Branagan.

O'Ceallaigh was dismissed one minute into injury time after he tangled with Sligo's evergreen Adrian Marren.

But it mattered little when Galway had their third green flag at the death.

Daly's quickly executed free catching the Sligo backline off-guard.

Farragher profiting from the ball sailing over a defender's head before he tucked it beyond Kilgannon.

Farragher then added polish to an already over-complimentary scoreline when his first time strike flew over the black mark on the Sligo crossbar on 74.

Sligo: Eamonn Kilgannon; Michael Gordon (Neil Ewing 53), Peter Laffey, Keelan Cawley (Karl McKenna 61); Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch (0-1), Darragh Cummins, Paul McNamara (Luke Nicholson 65); Adrian McIntyre, Paul Kilcoyne (0-1); Mikey Gordon, Sean Carrabine (0-1), Nathan Mullen; Paddy O'Connor (David Quinn 70), Pat Hughes (Adrian Marren 53), Niall Murphy (0-4).

Galway: Bernard Power; Eoghan Kerin, Sean O'Ceallaigh, Liam Silke (1-2); Kieran Molloy (Gary O'Donnell 16), Gareth Bradshaw (Johnny Duane 68), John Daly; Thomas Flynn, Fiontan O'Curraoin (0-1); Shane Walsh (0-4), Michael Daly (0-2), Johnny Heaney (1-0) (Cillian McDaid 64); Antaine O'Laoi (Robert Finnerty 61), Ian Burke (Martin Farragher 68) (1-1), Danny Cummins (Eamonn Brannigan 55) (0-1).

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down).

Sligo Champion