Disputed Smith penalty helps Rossies to winning start
Roscommon 1-11 Sligo 1-8
DONAL SMITH'S penalty in the third minute of first-half injury-time put Roscommon in the box seat as they kept Sligo at bay at Dr Hyde Park.
The visitors were incensed when referee Derek Fahy adjudged that Sligo goalkeeper Philip Greene had barged into Cathal Shine as he gathered Michael Finneran's long delivery.
Smith held his nerve to convert the penalty and his side just about did enough to maintain their advantage.
The opening 35 minutes produced a pulsating contest. Roscommon made the brighter start, with points from Smith and a free from Donal Shine. Then Sligo took over and Adrian Marren's well-taken seventh-minute goal injected Kevin Walsh's side with fresh impetus.
Points from Marren, Mark Breheny and Shane McManus gave the Yeatsmen a three-point cushion by the 22nd minute.
But Roscommon rallied, helped by Finneran's towering display at midfield.
Smith, Niall Daly and a brace of frees from Cathal Cregg and Smith nudged Roscommon ahead, before the Boyle clubman's penalty catapulted John Evans' side into a four-point interval lead.
The second half was a much more dogged affair.
Sligo hit four wides early on to leave themselves with a mountain to climb. Breheny (2), Johnny Martyn and Marren (a free) did find the target, but a Kevin Higgins point and frees from Cregg and Smith ensured that the home side began their league campaign with a victory.
Man of the Match: M Finneran (Roscommon).
SCORERS – Roscommon: D Smith 1-4 (1 pen, 2f), C Cregg 0-3 (2f), D Shine (1f), C Shine, N Daly, K Higgins 0-1 each. Sligo: A Marren 1-2 (1f), M Breheny 0-3 (1f), S Coen, S McManus, J Martyn 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON – G Glaffey 7; S McDermott 6, N Carty 7, C Daly 6; D Ward 6, N Daly 7, N Collins 8; M Finneran 9, K Higgins 6; D Keenan 8, F Cregg 6, D O'Gara 5; D Smith 8, D Shine 5, C Cregg 6. Subs: C Shine 6 for D Shine (18), J Connaughton 5 for Ward (35), P Brogan 5 for Connaughton (64), S Oates 5 for Cregg (67), C Devaney 5 for O'Gara (70).
SLIGO – P Greene 5; N Ewing 6, J Martyn 7, B Kennedy 5; M Quinn 6, R Donovan 7, B Curran 6; S Gilmartin 7, A McIntyre 6; B Egan 5, P Hughes 5, S McManus 5; S Coen 7, A Marren 7, M Breheny 8. Subs: K Cawley 6 for Kennedy (30), F Quinn 5 for Egan (46), E Mullen 5 for McManus (61), J Clarke 5 for Coen (69).
REF – D Fahy (Longford).