| 15.5°C Dublin

Murphy and Breheny crucial for Sligo


Niall Murphy's goal helped Sligo to a 12 points lead at the break. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Niall Murphy's goal helped Sligo to a 12 points lead at the break. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile


Niall Murphy's goal helped Sligo to a 12 points lead at the break. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Sligo were given a fright by neighbours Leitrim on their way to completing their FBD Connacht League schedule with a three-point win at Tourlestrane.

Boosted by first-half goals from Niall Murphy and Mark Breheny, Sligo led by 12 points at the break, 2-12 to 0-6, and appeared on course to go close to their record-breaking defeat of GMIT the previous weekend.

However, the home side struggled in the second-half - only scoring a point - as a stirring Leitrim comeback, that yielded 10 points, narrowed Sligo's winning margin to just three points.

Both managements agreed to use unlimited subs and 14 of the 23 replacements were for Sligo, which certainly disrupted their control of proceedings in the second-half.

Sligo began with a mouthwatering inside-forward line of newcomer Patrick O'Connor, Adrian Marren and Niall Murphy and it was Murphy who deftly goaled in the opening minute.

The winners regularly cut through Leitrim's defence in the first-half and they were 12 points clear, 2-8 to 0-2, when Mark Breheny netted in the 20th minute after side-stepping Leitrim goalkeeper Philip Farrelly.

When Niall Murphy popped his fourth point two minutes after the restart it looked ominous for Leitrim, but Sligo failed to score again.

Leitrim, with Emlyn Mulligan and Donal Wrynn both impressive, set about eating into the deficit and they did that with nine unanswered points, including a brilliant score from Wayne McKeon and a hat-trick of neat points by substitute Keith Beirne.

Scorers - Sligo: N Murphy 1-4; M Breheny 1-3 (3f); A Marren 0-3 (1f); Keelan Cawley, N Ewing, P O'Connor 0-1 each. Leitrim: K Beirne, E Mulligan (1f), G Plunkett 0-3 each; B Gallagher 0-2; W McKeon, D Wrynn, N O'Donnell (1f), C Gallagher, R O'Rourke 0-1 each.

Sligo - A Devaney; N Gaughan, E McHugh, K McDonnell; C Breheny, N Ewing, K Cawley; R Donovan, A McIntyre; K Cawley, M Breheny, C Davey; P O'Connor, A Marren, N Murphy. Subs: S Gilmartin for Davey (20), G O'Kelly-Lynch for McDonnell (33), C Henry for Murphy (42), S Coen for Marren (44), P Laffey for C Breheny (46), L Nicholson for Keelan Cawley (48), D Cummins for Ewing (50), T Taylor for Donovan (56), S Henry for McIntyre (56), P Clarke for M Breheny (57), B Egan for O'Connor (58), C Brennan for Kyle Cawley (62), J Clarke for McHugh (63), E Connolly for Gaughan (65), E McHugh for Nicholson (68, black card).

Leitrim - P Farrelly; F Carney, A Armstrong, M Murphy; J Rooney, W McKeon, R Gallagher; D Wrynn, N O'Donnell; C Gallagher, E Mulligan, C Canning; G Plunkett, D Moran, B Gallagher. Subs: M Plunkett for Moran (20), J Heslin for C Canning (23), O Meehan for Rooney (28, black card), K Beirne for Gallagher (31), R O'Rourke for O'Donnell (h-t), G Reynolds for Murphy (38), C Gaffney for Heslin (46), J Mitchell for Gallagher (54), R Kennedy for Plunkett (65).

Ref - James Molloy (Galway).

Irish Independent