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Minors overcome Roscommon to reach Connacht semi-final

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Sligo's Dillon Walsh scored 4 points for his side in their encounter with Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park as Sligo progress to the semi-final.

Sligo's Dillon Walsh scored 4 points for his side in their encounter with Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park as Sligo progress to the semi-final.

Sligo's Dillon Walsh scored 4 points for his side in their encounter with Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park as Sligo progress to the semi-final.

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Sligo and Roscommon played out a thoroughly entertaining encounter in this Electric Ireland Connacht Minor Football Championship Round 5 in Dr Hyde Park on Friday.

David Caffrey's Sligo, who had beaten Leitrim the previous weekend, knew a draw was enough to progress to the semi-final as Roscommon were without a win in the round robin series having drawn with Leitrim. 

It was a battling performance from both sides with only a goal separating them at the interval and both had plenty of goal chances, including right at the end from Conor Kelly, whose shot was saved by Diarmuid Henry in the Sligo goals.

It was a fast paced, flowing game of football. Sligo were playing aided with the breeze in the opening half and there was a mere 50 seconds on the clock when the hosts had their first goal chance which went out wide.

The opening stages saw a number of wides from both, the excellent Ronan Niland getting Sligo off the mark with a well-struck free on 6 minutes. 

A short Roscommon free from Robert Heneghan saw Jamie Betts with a goal chance, Sligo defence standing strong. 

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Niland added the visitors’ second on 10 minutes after being set up by Cian Carty.

Heneghan got Roscommon on the scoreboard on 13 minutes from play, Rory Carthy then slotting over a free before the lively Eoghan Murray put his side in front on 16 minutes, it was shortlived however as down the other end Niland set up James Foley who responded.

James Duignan’s men went in front again with Ryan Hanley before Sligo struck for the decisive only goal of the game. 

Good work from full-forward Shea O’Neill finding Robert O’Kelly-Lynch whose superb shot left the Roscommon keeper with little chance of saving on 18 minutes, Sligo ahead by 1-3 to 0-4. 

Murray added his second as Carthy saw his potential goal chance go out to the right and wide on 24 minutes.

Betts sent over a fine score to bring the game level, the hardworking O’Kelly-Lynch adding a point with midfielder Ryan Gillespie adding another as Sligo’s lead stretched to two points on 27 minutes. 

Sligo’s keeper added a sweetly struck ‘45 before half-time as Sligo had another goal chance, Eli Rooney doing well with Sean Kelly saving the shot as Sligo led by 1-6 to 0-6 at the interval. 

Murray got his third 20 seconds after the resumption as the gripping contest continued. 

Good work from Dillon Walsh, Tommy Ross, Rooney and Tom Bailey saw the latter having a goal chance for the visitors saved by Kelly.

TJ Hannon reduced the deficit to a point on 33 minutes before Niland and Carty linked up with Rooney who pointed, Gillespie overturning for Sligo and Walsh added a brilliant point on 36 minutes as a goal separated them once more.

A fine score from Heneghan was followed by another goal chance for Sligo, Niland seeing his chance stopped by Kelly. 

A Carthy free brought it back to a one point game as Niland responded with a fantastic score on 43 minutes. 

Rooney added another brilliant point moments later, good work from Bailey and Rian O’Callaghan setting him up. 

Conor Flynn was introduced for Sligo and Ryan Dowling was brought on for the hosts, both scoring after their introduction, Flynn adding his first of three on 48 minutes.

A Heneghan free was followed by a brilliant score from the excellent Walsh, a huge point from Hannon seeing 2 between them.

Walsh added his third point as Flynn then added another as Sligo’s lead extended to four points with five minutes to play.

A Carthy free on 58 minutes seeing a goal separate them and Roscommon were pushing for a goal, Henry doing extremely well in the Sligo goal.

A quick free for Roscommon saw Conor Kelly see his shot on goal saved by Henry as Walsh then ran the whole field and pointed his fourth from play. A Rooney chance came off the post, Heneghan added Roscommon’s last point and the impressive Flynn scored his third for Sligo, who progress to the semi-final with Galway. 

ROSCOMMON: Sean Kelly, Michael Moran, Jack Donnelly, Evan Quinn, Mark Halligan, Ronan McDermott, Ryan Hanley (0-1), Conor Kelly, Brendan Murphy, Eoghan Murray (0-4), Robert Heneghan (0-4 1f), John McGuinness, Jamie Betts (0-1), Rory Carthy (0-2 2f), TJ Hannon (0-2).

Substitutes used; Ryan Dowling for McGuinness (46) (0-1), Brian Greene for Hannon (53), Lee Taylor for Betts (27). 

SLIGO; Diarmuid Henry (0-1 ‘45), Ronan O’Hehir, Oisín Conlon, Daniel King, Rian O’Callaghan, Robert O’Kelly-Lynch (1-1), Tommy Ross, Ryan Gillespie (0-1), Dillon Walsh (0-4), Tom Bailey, Ronan Niland (0-3 1f), Cian Carty, Eli Rooney (0-2), Shea O’Neill, James Foley (0-1).

Substitutes used; Conor Flynn for O’Neill (45) (0-3), Kevin Carnahan for Foley 963).

REFEREE; Paul Lydon (Mayo). 


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