Valuable point as Sligo and Longford draw
Allianz League Division 3 Rd 5: Sligo 0-18 Longford 2-12
A late free from substitute Adrian Marren in the 75th minute saw this Allianz League Division 3 encounter with Longford end all even for Cathal Corey's Sligo side after an exciting second half.
The hosts who had a poor opening 15 minutes were only able to register one point to the visitors' five but from the 17th minute until the break it was all Sligo. The Yeats men scored eight points on the bounce as Longford were behind by four at the interval in a game that Sligo very much needed to get something from.
It looked like curtains for Longford after the resumption when Sligo captain Kevin McDonnell put the hosts into a six point advantage but two goals for Longford in the space of six minutes from Pauric Gill and midfielder Darren Gallagher saw them take the lead with 20 minutes to go and from here it was evenly matched for the remainder.
Marren who came on as a sub in the 56th minute was influential scoring three from placed balls and the equaliser in the dying moments after Longford's excellent Robbie Smyth scored twice for his side and looked to have sealed the win for Denis Connerton's men. The late drama ensued when Neil Ewing was brought down heavily and Marren stepped up to send over the close-range free and grabbing a much needed point on the board for Sligo.
After a dominating opening spell from Longford Sligo needed to get a grasp on the game and their first score didn't come until the 14th minute through Paddy O'Connor after Gallagher, Rian Brady and Dessie Reynolds had Longford three in front with 11 minutes played.
Michael Quinn was very lively throughout for Longford and linked up with Smyth who sent Longford four in front, Smyth adding his second in the 17th minute after being fouled but from here it was Sligo who took control for the remainder of the opening half.
An attempt from O'Connor slammed off the post but Pat Hughes, who caused Longford's defence a lot of hassle throughout, collected and sent over Sligo's second point on 22 minutes. The hosts were moving the ball much more fluidly the hardworking Adrian McIntyre added his side's third and two fouls on McIntyre and Liam Gaughan were converted by Stephen Coen to bring the sides level on 28 minutes. Sligo's scoring spree wasn't done just yet and they finished the first half strongly, four more points from Niall Murphy, Gaughan a Coen free for a foul on Hughes and a skilful bit of play from O'Connor to seek out Cian Breheny who pointed gave Sligo a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Five minutes into the second half and Sligo were in front by five after Coen again slotted over his fourth free and good work from O'Connor and McDonnell saw the latter scoring from play as Sligo lead 0-11 to Longford's 0-5. The visitors at this stage hadn't scored since the 17th minute but that was to turn around in the space of six minutes as they overturned a six point deficit into a one point lead.
There was a chance for a Sligo penalty when Coen was bundled to the ground but any shouts of a penalty were waved away by referee Liam Devenney.
Gallagher powered through the Sligo defence and sought out substitute Pauric Gill who found the net on 43 minutes leaving three between them and this was quickly followed by two points from Gill again and Smyth as the visitors were only one behind on 48 minutes.
A fisted point from Hughes put Sligo in front by two a minute later and down the other end Longford attacked again this time Brady linked up with Reynolds to find Gallagher who scored their second goal and put Longford into the lead for the first time in the second half. The intensity was huge for the remaining 20 minutes. Sligo responded with a Ewing point from play before Coen pointed a foul on Keelan Cawley to put Sligo into a one-point lead which again was wiped out by the excellent Quinn two minutes later.
Longford took the lead again through full back Diarmuid Masterson which was responded to by a fantastic point from Murphy with 13 minutes left. Marren pointed a free on Coen to give Sligo a one point lead on 59 minutes but Longford came back again through Reynolds to bring the sides level once again.
Marren pointed another free with 7 to go before the excellent Symth equalised again for Longford and he followed with a converted free which seemed like the winner for Longford but with four minutes injury time, Sligo kept trying to find the leveller which saw Ewing brought down and the referee moved the ball forward for Longford dissent. It was easy for Marren to send over as both sides had to share the spoils.
Scorers - Sligo: S Coen 0-5 (5f); A Marren 0-3 (3f); N Murphy, P Hughes 0-2 each; A McIntyre, K McDonnell, N Ewing, P O'Connor, L Gaughan, C Breheny 0-1 each. Longford: R Smyth 0-5 (2f); P Gill 1-1; D Gallagher 1-0; D Reynolds 0-2; D Masterson, M Quinn, C Berry, R Brady 0-1 each.
SLIGO: A Devaney, R Donovan, L Nicholson, C Harrison, K Cawley, A McIntytre, G O'Kelly-Lynch, N Murphy, K McDonnell (C), N Ewing, P O'Connor, J Clarke, S Coen, P Hughes, L Gaughan. SUBS: C Breheny for Clarke (27), A Marren for Gaughan (56), M Gordon for Harrison (60), S Carrabine for McDonnell (69), K Cawley for Coen (71).
LONGFORD: P Collum, P McCormack, D Masterson, B Gilleran, M Quinn, D McElligott, D Mimnagh, D Gallagher, A Farrell, B McKeon, D McGivney, D Reynolds, R Smyth, C Berry, R Brady. SUBS: P Gill for Farrell (41), R McEntire for Brady (60), M Nally for Reynolds (72).
REFEREE: L Devenny (Mayo).