Allianz Hurling League 3B Rd 2: Sligo 3-18 Lancashire 1-15
Sligo hurlers got their Allianz league campaign underway at home to Lancashire in Markievicz Park on Saturday afternoon and Daithí Hand's men exuded composure in this entertaining encounter against steely opponents.
This was a well-rounded team performance from the Yeats men and their victory never really looked in doubt, despite Lancashire's best efforts, led by Caimin Quigley who finished the afternoon with a 1-10 tally.
The hosts, who are competing in the Christy Ring this year, were 8 points in front at the break, first half goals from Keith Raymond and Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch giving the Yeats men a sturdy cushion at the interval and they kept the momentum going for the second period.
They hit the net for the third time after a fantastic move saw Gavin Connolly offloading to Rory McHugh who goaled on 51 minutes, Sligo ahead by 3-14 to 1-11.
The visitors clawed right back into the game after a blistering start from Sligo, which saw them registering 1-8 to 0-3 after Raymond found the net on 23 minutes. However Lancashire responded with a goal of their own when the lively Caimin Quigley saw his attempt from a free which looked like it was going over, dispatch into the Sligo net, putting Stay Murray-Hession's men back within six points on 28 minutes.
Credit to Lancashire, they brought it back to a four point game, Quigley with three frees putting them right back in it but a point from play from Finnian Cawley was followed by a sublime goal from dual player Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch right on the cusp of half-time, the Naomh Eoin man giving Ronan McAteer no chance in the Lancashire goal.
This was followed by a fantastic score from Raymond, while down the other end, Quigley converted the final score of the half with a well-struck free, Sligo leading by 2-12 to 1-7 at the break.
It was the hosts who were first to score following the resumption, the impressive Tony O'Kelly-Lynch pointing from play and it was the Naomh Eoin man who saw his goal chance later saved by McAteer in the Lancashire goals on 47 minutes.
Quigley with 3 points (2 frees) was keeping Lancashire within 6 points of the hosts but a sensational move from Sligo saw Rory McHugh putting the game further out of their grasp on 51 minutes, after he netted, Sligo in front by 3-14 to Lancashire's 1-11.
Two more frees from Raymond put the hosts even further ahead, Lancashire did try to find the net once more, but Sligo goalkeeper Mark Burke had other ideas.
Sligo getting their league off to an impressive start as they next travel to Enniskillen to meet Fermanagh.
SLIGO: M Burke, P O'Grady, J Weir, E Rua McGowan, G Connolly, R McHugh, F Cawley, K Raymond, G O'Kelly-Lynch, K O'Kennedy, K Prior, A Kilcullen, J McHugh, T O'Kelly-Lynch, R Brennan.
Subs used: K Banks for G O'Kelly-Lynch (h/t), N Feehily (C) for O'Kennedy (40), S Brennan for R Brennan (50), D Cawley for Kilcullen (65), N McDermott for McGowan (67).
Scorers: K Raymond (1-6, 4f), G O'Kelly-Lynch (1-1), R McHugh (1-1), T O'Kelly-Lynch (0-3), K Prior (0-2), A Kilcullen (0-2), F Cawley (0-2), J McHugh (0-1),
LANCASHIRE: R McAteer, L Knocker, C Larkin, K Fennelly, D Power, D McKenna, S Moloney, S Duncan, T Maher, R Spencer, JJ Dunphy, D Maskey, C Duggan, E Kenny, C Quigley.
Subs used: D Connolly for Spencer (28), L Burns for Larkin (h/t), S Wallace for Power (47), L Knocker for Connolly (inj 67).
Scorers: C Quigley (1-10, 9f), D Connolly (0-3), E Kenny (0-1), C Duggan (0-1).
REFEREE: J Clarke (Cavan).