Murray's long-range effort the key as Leitrim prevail
Leitrim 1-9 Sligo 0-8
A fortuitous first-half goal from Cork native Ben Murray proved crucial as last year's Lory Meagher finalists Leitrim defeated Sligo in their league opener in Tourlestrane yesterday.
Murray's long-range free dipped under the crossbar shortly before the break, and helped Martin Cunniffe's side into a crucial three-point lead, 1-4 to 0-4, having played with the wind in the first-half.
A total of 13 first-half wides from the visitors looked costly, but with the wind dying down after the restart Sligo's hopes took a double-blow after they lost both midfielders - Kevin Banks to injury and Eoin McDonagh to a second yellow card.
Leitrim started with former county football goalkeeper Cathal McCrann at full-back, while veteran Clement Cunniffe was centre-back and opened the scoring from a free.
He added another soon after and Karl McDermott and Murray also pointed in the opening period.
Sligo stayed in touch with fine scores from Joe McHugh, Gary Cadden and Kieran Prior.
McHugh took his tally to four in the second period, while David Collery and Eoin Comerford also pointed, but Leitrim kept their noses in front thanks to scores from Cunniffe, Cathal O'Donovan and Zak Moradi, who hit a brace.
Scorers - Leitrim: B Murray 1-2 (1-0 f), C Cunniffe 0-3 (3f), Z Moradi 0-2, C O'Donovan, K McDermott 0-1 each
Sligo: J McHugh 0-4 (2f), G Cadden, K Prior, D Collery and E Comerford (1f) 0-1 each.
Leitrim: D Molloy 8; D Ryan 7, C McCrann 7, P Earley 7; E Moreton 7, C Cunniffe 7, D McGovern 7; J Glancy 8, C Bierne 7; C O'Donovan 7, B Murray 8, K McDermott 8; G O'Hagan 7, L Moreton 7, Z Moradi 7 Subs: K McGrath for Ryan (60), K Clerkin for O'Hagan (69).
Sligo: L Comerford 7; M Comerford 7, E Comerford 7, T Brennan 7; J Weir 7, R Cox 7, A Morrison 7; K Banks 6, E McDonagh 6; T O'Kelly-Lynch 6, G Cadden 7, J McHugh 7; K Prior 7, C O'Mahony 6, L Cadden 6 Subs: D Collery 7 for Banks (ht), D Keown 7 for O'Kelly-Lynch (50), F O'Flynn 7 for O'Mahony (58), M Burke for L Cadden (63), R Brennan for Prior (65).
REF - J Connors (Donegal).