Sligo in promotion frame after Tipp's surprise slip
Sligo 2-14 Tipperary1-16
Perhaps last year's All-Ireland semi-finalists Tipperary will look back on this one as a timely reminder that such an elevated status doesn't count for a whole lot in the wild Division 3 environs.
Manager Liam Kearns had targeted a second successive home win and indicated that failing to collect maximum points would render the previous Sunday's victory over Antrim as effectively meaningless.
Sligo, now on three points out of four, came to Semple Stadium and made off with the spoils, even if their boss Niall Carew felt they were a tad fortunate.
Tipp lost Jimmy Feehan to a second yellow card in the 45th minute, for a challenge on Niall Murphy that Kearns insisted was 'mistimed' more than malicious.
To the naked eye, that certainly appeared to be the case and referee Niall Ward thought long and hard about it, consulting with his linesman before opting for a second yellow card for Feehan, followed by red.
At the time, Tipp were seven points down and they fell ten behind before launching a revival in the final 15 minutes, plus eight added on for stoppages, to make a real game of it.
Tipp had Philip Austin stretchered off after he collided with Sligo goalkeeper Aidan Devaney, while stretching to score a point that could just as easily have been a goal. By then, the Tipp challenge was well and truly revived after All-Star Michael Quinlivan slotted home a classy goal with seven minutes remaining.
Tipp had the gap back to two when Quinlivan uncharacteristically shot wide in the 76th minute from a close-range free and as the home side continued to push, Robbie Kiely's fierce long-range shot was turned away for a '45 by Neil Ewing, the Sligo captain.
Kevin O'Halloran converted and Tipp were within one but Devaney's next kick-out was followed by Ward's final whistle.
Sligo were home and in a group that has already had its fair share of twists and turns in two rounds, these could turn out to be a precious pair of points.
Sligo, kicking with the breeze in the first half, did well in freezing conditions, Kyle Cawley and Murphy scoring goals en route to a 2-9 to 0-8 interval lead.
Cawley's goal was well-worked and expertly-taken but Tipp goalkeeper Evan Comerford won't be happy with the second, his kick-out picked off by Keelan Cawley, who fed Murphy for the goal.
Keelan Cawley's afternoon ended not too long after that, as he went off with what Carew suspects could be a shoulder injury that ends his league campaign.
There were shades of Antrim about this one for Tipp, as a sub-standard first-half display was followed by a better one in the second half. The crowd was up by 27 to 749 but home supporters left deflated, and lamenting a serious body-blow to their side's promotion hopes.
Kearns admitted: "We're disappointed, it didn't go for us today - we got caught with sucker goals and getting the man sent off was a real body blow. I think he (Feehan) tried to hit him a belt of a shoulder and mistimed it a bit. He had taken a couple of right clatters prior to that - was he reacting to that?"
And Carew reflected: "We rode our luck a bit - the extra man helped us but disappointed we didn't go 12 or 13 points up. Bigger teams would do that, put you to the sword.
"We were coasting there and had two or three chances to nail it and put Tipp out of sight. I've known Tipp for years - they're notorious for coming back and have it in their armoury to do so."
SCORERS - Sligo: Kyle Cawley 1-2, N Murphy 1-1, A Marren 0-4 (2f), M Breheny 0-3 (2f), G O'Kelly-Lynch 0-2, A Devaney (45) & C Davey 0-1. Tipperary: M Quinlivan 1-2 (2f), C Sweeney 0-5 (3f), K O'Halloran 0-4 (3f, 1 45), A Moloney 0-2, B Fox, P Austin & L Boland 0-1 each.
Sligo - A Devaney 7; R Donavan 7, K McDonnell 6, N Gaughan 6; Keelan Cawley 7, N Ewing 7, G O'Kelly-Lynch 8; P O'Connor 7, A McIntyre 6; C Davey 7, M Breheny 7, J Kelly 6; Kyle Cawley 8, A Marren 8, N Murphy 8. Subs: E McHugh 7 for Keelan Cawley (inj, 32), S Gilmartin 6 for O'Connor (60), S Coen 6 for Murphy (62), J Hynes for Davey (70+4), E Connolly for Donavan (inj., 70+8).
Tipperary - E Comerford 5; A Campbell 7, P Codd 7, W Connors 6; K Fahey 5, R Kiely 7, J Feehan 6; A Moloney 7, M Dunne 5; J Keane 6, L McGrath 5, B Fox 7; C Sweeney 7, M Quinlivan 7, P Austin 6. Subs: K O'Halloran 7 for McGrath (h-t), E Moloney 6 for Fahey (50), J Kennedy 6 for Keane (58), L Casey 6 for Dunne (58), L Boland for Austin (inj, 69)
REF - N Ward (Westmeath)
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