Marren eases Sligo past Big Apple banana skin
THERE was no sting in this Bronx tale for Sligo, who return home from New York this evening with Galway and Roscommon on their minds.
Kevin Walsh's team won't be fooled by this big win over a game but limited side in the Connacht SFC Championship opener and the former Galway midfielder will be especially concerned by his own specialist area where Sligo struggled from kick-outs.
Walsh used the opportunity to give championship debuts to centre-back Mark Quinn, midfielder Shane McManus and centre-forward Pat Hughes and will be satisfied with their displays, while whoever Sligo's opponents are on June 9, they will need to keep tabs on their impressive full-forward line and Adrian Marren and Stephen Coen in particular.
New York started the brighter with midfielders Mike Jim Fitzgerald and Eoghan Carew on top of their sector. They couldn't make their dominance count, however, often getting caught in possession and running down blind alleys and after two early wides the men in black got going.
They had their problems in front of goal themselves and for a while it looked as if no one wanted the honour of scoring the first point of the 2012 championship, but full-forward Marren stepped up at the end of a well-worked move to get the scoring underway after nine minutes, before he added a free moments later.
New York's fine start was consigned to memory soon after when goalkeeper Alan Hearty got to Marren's pass before Coen, but spilled the ball at the feet of the corner-forward and he didn't need asking twice, beating defender Ronan McGinley with a neat finish.
Brendan Egan added a point to make it 1-3, before the hosts finally got on the scoreboard with CJ Molloy's free. That couldn't stem the tide, and although Carew continued to win ball, his team-mates couldn't make the possession count and the Sligo full-forward line began to thrive, and Marren added three points along with one from Shane McManus.
Coen and Paul McGovern added further points, but they were cancelled out by a Carew free and a superb score from Molloy, and Coen's second point left it 1-10 to 0-3 at half-time.
After an overcast opening period, the sun began to beat down over Gaelic Park and, while the crowd might have been pleased, it didn't do New York any good in terms of keeping pace with Sligo.
Manager Connie Molloy had used all his subs by the 45th minute, but at that stage their race was already run and as they wilted in the heat, Sligo began to cut loose with and turn on the style.
Although Carew sent over a free for New York, Tony Taylor and Mark Breheny (2f) kept the scoreboard ticking over. Substitute Sean Kelly pointed for the hosts, but the north-westerners then went on a run, bagging 2-8 in the last 20 minutes before Carew got a consolation score.
Alan Costello sent over a booming effort to get them up and running, before captain Ross Donovan got up for a score from corner-back.
Hughes marked his championship bow with a goal and a point, netting from the edge of the square, before Coen got his second goal to finish the job.
Man of the Match: Adrian Marren (Sligo)
Scorers -- Sligo: S Coen 2-4, A Marren 0-6 (2f), M Breheny 0-3 (3f), P Hughes 1-1, B Egan, S McManus, P McGovern, T Taylor, A Costello, R Donovan, E Mullen 0-1 each. New York: E Carew 0-3 (3f), CJ Molloy 0-2 (2f), S Kelly 0-1.
SLIGO -- P Greene 6; N Ewing 6, M McGuire 7, R Donovan 7; C Harrison 6, M Quinn 7, P McGovern 6; T Taylor 5, S McManus 6; B Egan 7, P Hughes 7, A Costello 8; S Coen 8, A Marren 8, M Breheny 8. Subs: E Mullen 6 for TTaylor (56), D Maye 6 for Marren (57), J Davey 7 for Harrison (57), K Cawley for McGovern 64, J Clarke for Costellon (64).
NEW YORK -- A Hearty 4; P Lambe 5, D O'Dwyer 5, R McGinley 5; C Hogan 5, S Kelly 5, C Short 4; MJ Fitzgerald 7, E Carew 8; S Kinehan 6, E Hogan 6, S Hogan 5; D Reilly 5, CJ Molloy 5, D Moore 5. Subs: M Kennedy 5 for Kinahan (28), C Conlon 5 for S Hogan (h-t), S Kelly 5 for E Hogan (45), R Stafford 5 for Reilly (46).
REF-- E Kinsella (Laois).