Murphy hits top form as Sligo edge out Louth to seal survival
Sligo 0-17 Louth 1-11
Sligo will play Division 3 football again next year as they did just enough to get over the line against newly-promoted Louth.
In truth, it would have taken an exceptional set of circumstances to see Sligo go down but thanks to the excellent Niall Murphy they surged clear in the second half to make sure of survival.
Louth made 12 changes from their previous game against Tipperary and their new-look side impressed early on as they got the only goal of the match in the 10th minute as Ronan Holcroft flicked the ball to the net after Jim McEneaney broke through the Sligo defence.
Sligo's John Kelly kept his side in touch with a brace of frees before McEneaney sent over a couple of late scores to put the Wee County 1-6 to 0-5 up at the break.
Sligo made four changes at the break as Stephen Gilmartin, Adrian Marren, Mark Breheny and Kevin McDonnell were all introduced and this seemed to help Sligo as they were by far the better team in the second half.
Marren and Hughes were among the scorers at the start of the second half.
It looked like Louth would contain Sligo as every time the Westerners got to within two points Louth would tag on a score but with Murphy, Marren and Breheny providing scores in the final quarter, Sligo managed to edge three points clear to end their league campaign off with a win ahead of the Connacht Championship.
Meanwhile, Louth will play Tipperary in the Division 3 final in Croke Park next Saturday evening.
SCORERS - Sligo: N Murphy 0-6 (3fs), J Kelly 0-3 (2fs), M Breheny 0-2 (1f); A Marron 0-2; C Harrison, E McHugh, A McIntyre, P Hughes 0-1 each.
Louth: R Holcroft 1-1; J McEneaney 0-4 (3fs); J Califf 0-3 (3fs); S Mulroy 0-2; D McMahon 0-1.
SLIGO - F Ruddy 6; C Harrison 7, R Donavan 7, N Gaughan 7; E McHugh 7, B Egan 7, K Cawley 7; C Breheny 6, A McIntyre 7; N Ewing 6, N Murphy 8, J Kelly 7; D Kelly 6, P Hughes 7, C Henry 6. Subs: S Gilmartin 6 for J Kelly (h-t), M Breheny 7 for D Kelly (h-t), A Marren 7 for C Henry (h-t), K McDonnell 7 for N Gaughan (h-t), S Coen 6 for P Hughes (57), J Clarke for C Breheny (66)
LOUTH - B Flanagan 6; K Murphy 5, P Reilly 6, K Carr 5; D Crilly 7, D McMahon 7, D Marks 6; C Martin 6, J Califf 6; A Williams 6, J McEneaney 7, C McKeever 6; R Moore 6, S Mulroy 6, R Holcroft 7. Subs: J Bingham 6 for K Murphy (20), Dean Maguire 6 for K Carr (31), N Gallagher 6 for B Flanagan (37), R Burns 5 for R Holcroft (49), Derek Maguire 5 for D Crilly (60), J Stewart for D Marks (66)
REF- N McKenna (Monaghan)