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Gaughan, Kelly and Leonard save the day for Tourlestrane

Homeland SFC semi-final 2: Tourlestrane 0-11 St Mary's 2-4


Cathal Henry in possession for Tourlestrane in the Homeland SFC semi final in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pic: Donal Hackett

Cathal Henry in possession for Tourlestrane in the Homeland SFC semi final in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pic: Donal Hackett

Cathal Henry in possession for Tourlestrane in the Homeland SFC semi final in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pic: Donal Hackett

A late, late show from Tourlestrane saw them through to another county final after an absorbing one-point win over St Mary's in their Homeland Sligo Senior Football semi-final at Markievicz Park last Sunday afternoon.

In a hugely competitive clash, St Mary's looked the only winners for long stages of the second half.

They led by four points after Stephen Coen converted a 43rd minute penalty to push his side into a sizable lead, 2-3 to 0-5, and by two points, 2-4 to 0-8, after Nathan Rooney's excellent 59th minute point.

To their credit, Tourlestrane summoned a superb response in added time with three points on the trot, the last of which was a great effort by James Leonard, to keep their hopes of a fifth senior football championship in a row intact.

It was a cruel way for St Mary's to lose, having put in such a determined performance throughout the course of the hour.

They set off with intent from the throw-in, with the early exchanges full of intensity.

Indeed, it took eleven minutes for either side to trouble the umpires, with Liam Gaughan's opener giving Tourlestrane a 0-1 to 0-0 lead.

The response from St Mary's was immediate, with Hubert Gilvarry kicking a fine point from play.

The intrigue of the contest was added to by a number of interesting duels around the park - Liam Gaughan being closely followed by Ryan Feehily was one match-up that caught the eye in particular.

A couple of Tourlestrane points after the water break from John Kelly, who would register 0-5 from play, and a super kick from Liam Gaughan opened up a two point gap, 0-3 to 0-1, but two fine scores from Cian Breheny and Stephen Coen restored parity, before Kelly supplied another point to leave Tourlestrane marginally in front at the break, 0-4 to 0-3.

Centre forward Kelly added another point soon after the half-time break to establish a 0-5 to 0-3 lead, but that would be Tourlestrane's last score for some 20 minutes.

Two goals for St Mary's in the third quarter turned the game on its head. The first came from Nathan Rooney, who finished from close range brilliantly into the top corner, while the second came via a penalty.

The spot kick was awarded after the ball was fouled in the small square by Tourlestrane, and the successful conversion from Stephen Coen put St Mary's in a match-winning position, leading by 2-3 to 0-5.

Heading into the water break with this lead, St Mary's looked poised to inflict a first championship defeat on Tourlestrane since 2015, when the Sligo town club overcame the south Sligo men in a semi-final replay.

To their credit, however, Tourlestrane, as they have done so often in recent years, remained calm and worked their way back into contention.

Three points on the spin after the water break - Kelly, Liam Gaughan and James Leonard were all on target - closed the gap to a point, 2-3 to 0-8.

St Mary's were still battling hard, but the introduction of Conan Marren and John Francis Carr appeared to have the desired effect on Tourlestrane.

That said, St Mary's established a two-point advantage as the game entered added time with Nathan Rooney kicking a marvellous point with the outside of his right boot to put his team 2-4 to 0-8 ahead, though the centre forward was black carded seconds later for a challenge on John Francis Carr.

Down but still alive, Tourlestrane remained composed and worked scoring chances, with John Kelly and Liam Gaughan (free) both on target, before James Leonard popped up to kick the winner and put Tourlestrane into a fifth straight county final where they will square up against Drumcliffe/Rosses Point.

Tourlestrane: A Broe; C Surlis, B Walsh, N Gaughan; O Kennedy, A McIntyre, K O'Hara; S Henry, P Harte; C Henry, J Kelly (0-5), K Gavaghan; L Gaughan (0-4, 3fs), J Leonard (0-2), G Gaughan. Subs used: JF Carr, C Marren

St Mary's: J Teape; R Feehily, N Feehily, C Darcy; H Gilvarry (0-1), G O'Kelly Lynch, T O'Kelly Lynch; C Breheny (0-1), P Kilcoyne; K Cawley, N Rooney (1-1), M Butler; S Coen (1-1, 1-0pen), M Breheny, J Martyn. Subs used: D Kilgallon.

Referee: Barry Judge.

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