Kevin Gilmartin's hat-trick critical as Sligo sneak past Lancashire to land Lory Meagher Cup title
Sligo 4-15 Lancashire 2-20
Nail-biting is the only way to describe Sligo’s escape to victory in the Lory Meagher Cup final over Lancashire.
The eventual winners started at a far higher pace than Lancashire, who had the wind at their backs, and by the tenth minute had already forged a five-point lead.
That lead was further solidified when captain Keith Raymond’s long delivery landed in the tangle of Ross Mullins and Kevin Gilmartin and ricocheting into the net giving Gilmartin his second major.
Lancashire’s Ronan Crowley was on a one man scoring mission to keep his side in the game with unerring accuracy from placed balls.
And, of course, it was he who pounced for their first goal to spark them into real life.
What followed for the North West England team was a period of inspired hurling where they smothered Sligo while finding their own range.
Placed balls from Crowley along with 1-2 from full-forward line partner Edmond Kenny got them back from a six-point deficit to lead by one.
A late first half penalty for Sligo halted that momentum and the lead swapped hands once again when Eoin Comerford fired it home.
There was no sluggish start to the second period for Lancashire and again Crowley, was clinical in front of the posts picking up.
This time, he was helped by Edmond Kenny who turned in a very impressive individual tally over the 70 minutes.
As the heat in the capital sapped some of the intensity from the game, it certainly didn’t take from the entertainment as both sides scrambled for glory.
Sligo needed some inspiration and it was Gilmartin clinching his hat trick that provided it. He pounced for his third of the day in the final minute of normal time to edge ahead by the minimum.
Scorers: Sligo: K Gilmartin 3-0, E Comerford 1-5 (1-0pen, 0-4f), J McHugh 0-3, K Raymond (2f), K Banks 0-2 each, G Cadden, G O’Kelly-Lynch, R Cox 0-1 each
Lancashire: R Crowley 1-10 (0-6f), E Kenny 1-7, J Fitzmaurice, JJ Dunphy, D O’Brien 0-1 each
Sligo: D Reidy; J Weir, C O’Mahony, T Brennan; D Collery, K Raymond, N Feehily; R Cox, G Cadden; J McHugh, E Comerford, K Banks; G O’Kelly-Lynch, K Gilmartin, L Cadden. Subs: T O’Kelly-Lynch for L Cadden (43), N McDermott for G Cadden (54), K Prior for D Collery (57) M Davey for C O’Mahony (61), M Burke for Feehily (69)
Lancashire: V Morrissey; L Knocker, R Mullins, J Cleere; D O’Brien, G Jacob, N Unwin; S Duncan, J Fitzmaurice; D Crowley, T Duane, JJ Dunphy; D Maskey, E Kenny, R Crowley. Subs: S Hannon for Duane (57), S Dunne for Duncan (61), S Power for Dunphy (69), C Larkin for Maskey (71)
Referee: Kevin McGeeney (Roscommon)