Sligo earn final spot after nail-biting affair against Leitrim, denying them promotion

Allianz NFL Division 4 Sligo 1-15 Leitrim 2-11

Sligo's Seán Carrabine.

A Seán Carrabine fisted point in the fifth minute of added time secured Sligo a one-point win, as well as a Division 4 league final spot in what was a nail-biting encounter in Carrick-on-Shannon, while Leitrim, after a brave bid, were denied promotion.

After Leitrim went 0-3 ahead, thanks to points from Donal Wrynn, Evan Sweeney and Darragh Rooney in the opening four minutes, Sligo rallied to gain a deserved 0-9 to 0-4 lead at the interval.

Patrick O’Connor shot 0-4 for Sligo in the first half, while Niall Murphy converted two frees with Cian Lally, Pat Spillane and Pat Kilcoyne chipped in with a point each. Sligo extended their advantage in the second half’s first 16 minutes with a Finnian Cawley goal plus points from Pat Spillane and Patrick O’Connor.

In this spell, Leitrim stayed in touch with two Keith Beirne free tap overs. After that, Leitrim rallied to reduce the gap to 0-3 by the 59th minute, with Barry McNulty hitting a goal while Keith Beirne and Darragh Rooney added a point apiece.

Then Leitrim regained a minimum margin lead by the 66th minute after Aidan Flynn hammered home a goal, with Donal Wrynn and Tom Prior getting a point each. Following that, it was do or die until the end, with Finnian Cawley hitting an equalising point for Sligo and then Carrabine stepped up at the death to land the all-important winner for Tony McEntee’s side.

SCORERS – Sligo: P O’Connor 0-5f; F Cawley 1-1; N Murphy 0-3f; P Spillane, S Carrabine (45) 0-2 each; C Lally, P Kilcoyne 0-1 each. Leitrim: B Mcnulty, A Flynn 1-0 each; D Rooney, K Beirne (3f) 0-3 each; E Sweeney, D Wrynn 0-2 each; T Prior 0-1.

Sligo: D Lyons 6; N. Mullen 6, E McGuinness 6, E Lyons 5; L Towey 6, B Cox 5, P McNamara 5; P Kilcoyne 6 0-1, P. Spillane 6; C Lally 5, S Carrabine 8, K Cawley 7; F Cawley 8, P O' Connor 7, N Murphy 7. Subs: D Quinn 5 for K Cawley (48); M Walsh 4 for Cox (57); M Gordon 5 for Spillane (58); A Reilly 4 for O' Connor (62); L Nicholson 4 for Lyons (71).

Leitrim: N O' Donnell 6; P Maguire 6, M Diffley 5, C Reynolds 7; S Quinn 6, D Flynn 5, A Reynolds 4; P Dolan 7, D Wrynn 7; D Rooney 8, E Sweeney 8, P Keaney6; A Flynn 7, K Beirne 6, M Plunkett 5. Subs: C Farrell 5 for A Reynolds (21); J Heslin 5 for D Flynn (HT); T. Prior 5 for Keaney (51) B McNulty 5 for Maguire (55); J Rooney 4 for Plunkett (57).

Ref – M McNally (Monaghan).