Saturday 15 December 2018

Sligo come close in FBD League opener

Sligo 0-11 Galway 1-12

Emma Gallagher

Cathal Corey's new-look Sligo got their 2018 campaign under way in harsh conditions in Bekan against Kevin Walsh's Galway.

It was the former Sligo boss's side who ran out four-point winners after an entertaining encounter in their opening round of the Connnacht FBD League.

With conditions cold and blustery on a dark Wednesday night, this was a game that was definitely for the die-hard fans who travelled to Bekan after Storm Eleanor meant a late switch from Tourlestrane.

Corey's side included five debutants for the Yeats County who were eager to give younger players a start in the early January encounter.

Eddie McGuinness started at full-back, with Easkey's Mickey Gordon also making his debut at corner back.

In the forward line, there was also debuts for Finnian Cawley, Jodie O'Reilly and Seán Carrabine who was lively throughout.

Peter Cooke was clinical from his free-taking for the Tribesmen, getting the first score of the game less than a minute in before Adrian Marren, who scored a hefty eight of Sligo's tally, responded for the Yeats County.

Sligo, although they never went ahead, were always close on the heels of Galway and it was Sean Kelly's goal in the 28th minute that was the deciding factor at the end.

Marren was influential upfront for the Yeats men and scored four fantastic points from play as well as converted frees.

It was the Curry man who brought it right back to a three-point game on the 45-minute mark but Galway held on, with points from Dessie Keneally and Robert Finnerty enough to see them take the points with Marren scoring the last point deep into injury time.

Pat Hughes and Finnian Cawley were involved in setting up Marren for Sligo's first score three minutes in before Galway's Cooke scored two more on the bounce from well-struck frees and another from play from Patrick Sweeney saw the Tribesmen in front by four points to one with 12 minutes gone.

Carrabine was pacey for the Yeats men and Marren brought it back to a two-point game with a fine free before Frank Burke added another from play for Galway.

A goalmouth scramble from Galway eventually saw referee Jermone Henry awarding Sligo a free out, Keelan Cawley did well at tracking back but moments later the Coolera/Strandhill man was shown a black card for a high challenge on Kelly, St John's Paul McNamara coming into the fray and he worked hard for the remainder.

Another good goalchance for Galway saw Cooke intercept a Sligo run and he hand passed to Sweeney who's effort went wide on 21 minutes.

Down the other end, Carrabine was awarded for his good attacking runs with a point from play as the Yeats men were two behind.

Then the game's turning point arrived on 28 minutes.

Kelly slotted to the back of the Sligo net after being fed by Cooke as they went into a 1-6 to four point lead.

Another Cooke free, his fourth, made it a six point game as half-time approached, Darragh Cummins pointing the last score of the opening period after being sought out by Paddy O'Connor as Galway led 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval.

The second half saw a brighter performance from Sligo, outscoring their opponents by six points to five.

It was Varley who pointed shortly after the resumption to give Galway a six point lead but Marren quickly responded for Sligo. His initial shot came back off the post by he was quick to get past his marker and point from play.

Finnian Cawley, making his debut, neatly turned and sent over a fantastic score for Sligo on 41 minutes as they chipped away at the Galway lead.

Neil Ewing was fouled and it was an easy strike for Marren, who brought it back to a three-point game. Down the other end, Cooke saw his '4 attempt sail narrowly wide as moments later, Frank Burke got his second.

A free and a '4 from Marren once again brought it back to a three point game with 15 to go but points from substitutes Keneally and a Finnerty free was enough for Galway to hold on.

Sligo: A Devaney, E McHugh, E McGuinness, M Gordon, K Cawley, D Cummins, G O'Kelly-Lynch, P O'Connor, P Kilcoyne, N Ewing, F Cawley, J O'Reilly, A Marren, P Hughes, S Carrabine.

Scorers for Sligo: A Marren (0-8, 4f, 45), S Carrabine, D Cummins, F Cawley (0-1 each).

Galway: R O' Beolain, G Bradshaw, S A O Ceallaigh, E Wynne, C Sweeney, D Wynne, T Flynn, C Duggan, J Maher, P Cooke, S Kelly, F Burke, P Sweeney, A Varley.

Scorers for Galway: P Cooke (0-4, 4f), A Varley (0-3) S Kelly (1-0), F Burke (0-2), P Sweeney, R Finnerty, D Keneally (0-1 each).

Referee: J Henry (Mayo).

Sligo Champion