Sunday 21 January 2018

Breheny steers Sligo towards safety

Sligo 2-18
Antrim 1-11

Sligo eased their relegation plight with a fully deserved victory at Casement Park.

Kevin Walsh's charges were just too powerful for an out-of-touch Antrim who were always playing second fiddle after the visitors stormed into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after seven minutes.

Eamonn O'Hara scored the goal after taking a pass from Charlie Harrison inside the full-back line.

Two pointed free-kicks by Paddy Cunningham and a neat point from Kevin Brady brought Antrim into the game but it didn't stop the visitors from keeping control.

Mark Breheny (2), Adrian Marren and sub Alan Costello increased Sligo's lead on their way to a 1-9 to 0-6 interval advantage.

Kevin Niblock and Tomás McCann put a bit of life into Antrim on the resumption.

However, a second Sligo goal, on 40 minutes, was a stunning blow to the home side. Brian Curran swept the ball home, from close to the small square, from a pin-point David Rooney pass.

Sean Davey added a point and Sligo were coasting at 2-10 to 0-7 but then Antrim launched a revival.

McCann's goal could have graced any game: he sliced through the Sligo defence from 70 yards out to hit the net from close range.

In 16 minutes the home side hit 1-4 to 0-1, but they failed to score again during the closing 17 minutes of a below-par game.

During that time, the visitors tagged on an unanswered seven points with Breheny snatching three of them.

In injury-time, Antrim's Kevin McGourty was given a straight red card.

"We were outplayed from start to finish," admitted Antrim manager Liam Bradley.

"We didn't see that coming. We created two goal chances in the first half but didn't take them and we started the second half fair enough but didn't make it count on the scoreboard. Mathematically, we can still stay up but, realistically, it looks as if we are going back down again.

"If that's what happens so be it. It's not the end of the world."

Man of the Match: Mark Breheny (Sligo).

Scorers -- Sligo: M Breheny 0-6, B Curran 1-2, A Marren 0-4, E O'Hara 1-1, S Gilmartin (1 '45'), S Davey, A Costello, D Maye, T Taylor 0-1 each. Antrim: P Cunningham 0-7 (5f), T McCann 1-0, K Brady 0-2, K Niblock, B Herron 0-1 each.

Sligo -- J Farrell 6; C Harrison 7, N Ewing 6, R Donovan 6; D Rooney 7,K Cawley 7, P McGovern 6; T Taylor 7, S Gilmartin 7; B Curran 7, M Breheny 8, S Davey 7; A Marren 7, E O'Hara 7, K Sweeney 5. Subs: A Costello 6 for Sweeney, B Maye for Marren (71).

Antrim -- S O'Neill 6; A Healy 6, C Brady 6, K O'Boyle 5; T Scullion 5, J Crozier 6, T O'Neill 6; K McGourty 7, S Burke 6; A Gallagher 7, K Brady 8, C Murray 5; P Cunningham 8, M Sweeney 6, B Herron 7. Subs: K Niblock 7 for Sweeney (33), T McCann 7 for Burke (33), A Douglas 7 for O'Boyle (40), M Armstrong for Murray (62), R Johnston for O'Neill (64).

Ref - M Sludden (Tyrone).

Irish Independent

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