Sligo play full Hand to secure Meagher success
Lory Meagher Cup final: Sligo 4-15 Lancashire 2-20
In the first round of the Lory Meagher Cup this year, Lancashire put up an impressive tally of 2-19, more than enough to win most games of hurling. On that day, Sligo managed to put away 4-14 to clinch victory.
In Saturday's final, the North West England side went one better with a tally of 2-20, but the same opponents also tagged on an extra point to their first round total, as they rallied late to score the goal which stole victory at the death.
Kevin Gilmartin's goal to complete his hat-trick in the final minute of normal time put Sligo into the lead for the first time since the eighth minute of the second half.
After the game, Sligo joint-manager Daithí Hand highlighted how they had drawn from that first clash with Lancashire to plan for the day in Croke Park.
"We thought if we were nip and tuck with them for the 57th or 58th minute that we'd be able to empty the bench. We've been using that all year and we examined the last game and thought they looked tired towards the end.
"We knew we'd have to use our subs which we did and in fairness, we've said all year about the end 15 on the field being the most important 15 when the game ends."
With Ronan Crowley and Edmond Kenny in inspired form in front of goal for Lancashire, it seemed for a while as though the result was slipping away from Sligo.
Despite leading by seven mid-way through the first half, they found themselves trailing by two at the same stage of the second.
It took a long time coming but Sligo's fitness and strength in depth eventually told when Gilmartin was able to find the net for the third time, which Hand attributed to the players' dedication.
"It was five nights a week for some of them, then Sunday morning sessions to get the fitness back up. Myself and Darragh (Small) taking our first job in senior management, we wanted to blood in young fellas in the league which we did thankfully the whole thing worked out in the end."
SCORERS - Sligo: K Gilmartin 3-0, E Comerford 1-5 (1-0 pen, 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 7; J Weir 6, C O'Mahony 6, T Brennan 6; D Collery 6, K Raymond 8, N Feehily 7; R Cox 7, G Cadden 7; J McHugh 7, E Comerford 8, K Banks 7; G O'Kelly-Lynch 6, K Gilmartin 8, L Cadden 6. Subs: T O'Kelly-Lynch 6 for L Cadden (43), N McDermott 6 for G Cadden (54), K Prior 6 for D Collery (57), M Davey 6 for C O'Mahony (61), M Burke for Feehily (69)
Lancashire - V Morrissey 7; L Knocker 6, R Mullins 6, J Cleere 6; D O'Brien 7, G Jacob 7, N Unwin 6; S Duncan 7, J Fitzmaurice 7; D Crowley 6, T Duane 6, JJ Dunphy 7; D Maskey 6, E Kenny 8, R Crowley 8. Subs: S Hannon 6 for Duane (57), S Dunne 6 for Duncan (61), S Power for Dunphy (69), C Larkin for Maskey (71)
Ref - Kevin McGeeney (Roscommon)