Marren's late free earns vital point for Sligo in survival bid
Sligo 0-18 Longford 2-12 - Allianz Football League Div 3
Sligo dug out a draw that could go a long way to helping them stay in Division 3 when they pounced for a late share of the spoils with Longford at Markievicz Park.
It took a pointed free from substitute Adrian Marren, who landed the equaliser in the fifth minute of additional time, to give Sligo something to show for their efforts that had, at one stage, saw them score 10 points without reply and go six clear, 0-11 to 0-5, by the 40th minute.
But the hosts, who lost three times in four games ahead of this fixture, showed their fragile side when allowing Longford a way back via goals from substitute Pauric Gill and Darren Gallagher, who netted after 44 and 50 minutes respectively. These goals restored Longford's advantage, 2-7 to 0-12, but they were never able to go more that a point ahead during the next 25 minutes.
That contrasted with their powerful start when, despite Sligo's ploy of getting 13 outfield players in their own half, Longford eased into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the 18th minute.
Long-range Inside forwards Robbie Smyth, Connor Berry and Rian Brady scored during Longford's best spell but Sligo took charge - to lead 0-9 to 0-5 at half-time - after a series of excellent long-range scores, including efforts from Adrian McIntyre, Liam Gaughan and Niall Murphy.
Patrick O'Connor, part of the UCD panel that won last month's Sigerson Cup, was excelling for the home side at centre-forward, with Adrian McIntyre also growing in influence.
Sligo maintained this fizzing form after the restart and Longford seemed down and out until midfielder Darren Gallagher's industry set up substitute Pauric Gill for a flicked close-range goal. Gallagher himself netted after a move involving Rian Brady and Dessie Reynolds as a dogged Longford managed to turn things around.
Following Marren's equaliser there was a chance for both teams to win it but Patrick O'Connor was off target for Sligo, as was Longford's top scorer Robbie Smyth. The visitors, who are probably safe from relegation, finished with 14 players due to Barry Gilleran's second yellow card in added time.
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 6; R Donovan 6, L Nicholson 6, C Harrison 5; K Cawley 5, A McIntyre 7, G O'Kelly-Lynch 6; N Murphy 7, K McDonnell 5; N Ewing 6, P O'Connor 7, J Clarke 4; S Coen 7, P Hughes 7, L Gaughan 6. Subs: C Breheny 5 for Clarke (28), A Marren 6 for Gaughan (57), M Gordon for Harrison (61), S Carrabine for McDonnell (70), K Cawley for Coen (70+2).
Longford - P Collum 6; P McCormack 5, D Masterson 5, B Gilleran 5; M Quinn 7, D McElligott 5, D Mimnagh 5; D Gallagher 7, A Farrell 5; B McKeon 5, D McGivney 4, D Reynolds 5; R Smyth 7, C Berry 5, R Brady 4. Subs: P Gill 7 for Farrell (42); R McEntire 5 for Brady (61); P Fox 4 for Masterson (BC, 65); M Nally for Reynolds (70+3).
Ref - L Devenney (Mayo)
Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.