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Second win on the bounce for Sligo

Allianz League Division 4 Rd 2: Sligo 0-15 Antrim 0-14


Sligo captain Paddy O’Connor is challenged by Antrim’s Niall Delargy in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pics: Carl Brennan

Sligo captain Paddy O’Connor is challenged by Antrim’s Niall Delargy in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pics: Carl Brennan

Sligo captain Paddy O’Connor is challenged by Antrim’s Niall Delargy in Markievicz Park on Sunday. Pics: Carl Brennan

Sligo did just enough to make it two wins from two in their Allianz league Division 4 campaign after a tight victory over Antrim in Markievicz Park on Sunday.

2020 is already looking much brighter for Paul Taylor's men, having been winless throughout last season and now making it two victories on the bounce after their opening game away to London.

Captain Paddy O'Connor hit six of his side's tally and was displaying leadership in his midfield role, while up front Red Óg Murphy and Liam Gaughan were keeping the Antrim defence on their toes.

Former AFL player Murphy saw his goal chance in the 10th minute well saved by Oisín Kerr in the Antrim goals as O'Connor, Gaughan and the Curry man had edged Sligo three points to one in front.

Sharp-shooter Paddy Cunningham was excellent for Lenny Harbison's men throughout, he kicked nine of their scores, including a free in the 76th minute but it was the hosts who took all the points to propel them for this weekend's away trip to Aughrim to face Wicklow.

After a bright start from the hosts, Antrim kicked three unanswered points midway through the opening half, points from play from Eunan Walsh and Conor Murray sandwiched in between a Cunningham free to give them the lead 18 minutes played.

The next goal chance was the visitors, with Declan Lynch, Cunningham, Ruairí McCann and Patrick McBride combining well, McBride's shot cleared off the line on 19 minutes.

Sligo were guilty of 13 wides throughout, 7 coming in the first half.

It was an O'Connor free in the 25th minute that brought it back all square once more with five points a piece after referee Niall McKenna signalled a foul after the St Farnan's man was dragged down.

Sligo full back Eddie McGuinness did well to thwart a McCann goal-bound run on 27 minutes, a Cunningham free followed by a sensational Murphy point from play, Darragh Cummins and Gaughan setting him up.

Another Cunningham free edged their noses in front on 32 minutes before Sean Carrabine fisted over to draw the game level once more.

Murray added his second score with a fine effort from a difficult angle before Murphy set up O'Connor for a fantastic point from play, Sligo overturned possession and Cummins pointed to give them a 0-9 to 0-8 lead at the break.

The second half was just as riveting with very little between the sides. Sligo goalkeeper Aidan Devaney split the posts with a well-struck '45 before Cunningham converted a brilliant free on 39 minutes. His side overturned possession and Murray won a free, Cunningham slotting over to bring it back level once more with ten points each on 44 minutes.

Then after Antrim's half-time substitute Kevin Quinn received a black card, Sligo took the momentum with 3 points on the bounce.

O'Connor scored two, Pat Hughes setting him up for the second, with Keelan Cawley adding another fine point from play to give his side a three point lead on 51 minutes.

Antrim responded through Cunningham and Colum Duffin fisting over to bring it back to a one point game entering the final ten minutes.

A Murphy free was converted by Gaughan which was replied to from substitute Odhran Eastwood as a mere point separated them with 5 minutes to go.

A foul on Hughes saw O'Connor adding his sixth of the afternoon as stoppage time approached.

Murphy was sent off on 72 minutes with his second yellow as Antrim needed a goal.

A free out for Sligo after Antrim substitute Eoin Nagle touched the ball on the ground was celebrated rapturously by the home support but the game wasn't over just yet.

Deep into injury time Cunningham stepped up to take another free and went for the point before the referee signalled the end, Sligo ecstatic with their second win on the trot.

SLIGO: A Devaney, J F Carr, E McGuinness, M Gordon, N Mullen, P McNamara, S Carrabine, P O' Connor (C), P Kilcoyne, K Cawley, N Ewing, D Cummins, L Gaughan, C Lally, R Óg Murphy.

Subs used: G O'Kelly-Lynch for Ewing (h/t), P Hughes for Lally (43), J O'Reilly for Cawley (55), A Marren for Gaughan (71).

Scorers: P O'Connor (0-6, 3f), L Gaughan (0-3, 2f), R Óg Murphy (0-2), S Carrabine (0-1), D Cummins (0-1), A Devaney (0-1, '45), K Cawley (0-1).

ANTRIM: O Kerr, P Gallagher, R Johnston, M Gardiner, D Lynch, J McAuley, P Healy, R McCann, M Jordan, E Walsh, P McBride, N Delargy, P Cunningham, C Duffin, C Murray.

Subs used: K Quinn for Gardiner (h/t), C Small for McBride (42), O Eastwood for Walsh (55), D McAleese for Duffin (60), E Nagle for McCann (67).

Scorers: P Cunningham (0-9, 6f), C Murray (0-2), E Walsh (0-1), C Duffin (0-1), O Eastwood (0-1).

REFEREE: N McKenna (Monaghan).

Sligo Champion