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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019
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Roscommon fight back to win thriller against impressive Sligo

It was tough work but Roscommon are through to the Connacht final.

Roscommon's Sean Mulooly with Pat Hughes of Sligo.
Roscommon's Sean Mulooly with Pat Hughes of Sligo.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Roscommon 4-16

Sligo 2-13

FAVOURITES ROSCOMMON WERE forced to dig deep before seeing off a shock loss for the second year in a row to Sligo in the Connacht semi-final.

It was a gripping contest at Hyde Park with Roscommon coming from eight points down to advance to the final.

Sligo used the breeze well in the opening half, letting the ball do the work from deep and it paid a big dividend as they raced into a 2-8 to 0-6 interval lead.

Roscommon, in contrast, tried to work the ball from deep and often found themselves crowded out by the time they had worked the ball in front of goal.

They were also guilty of missing a couple of good goal chances with Cathal Cregg blazing wide after a good movement, while Sligo goalkeeper Aidan Devaney produced a stunning save to deny Donie Shine just before the break.

Both sides made two late changes with Leaving Cert student Kyle Cawley drafted in for Sligo.

There was little to separate the sides in the opening quarter and they were tied at 0-4 each when Sligo struck the first telling blow after 21 minutes when Adrian Marren slotted home a penalty after Pat Hughes was fouled by Sean Mullooly.

Midfielder Niall Murphy added his second point from distance and suddenly Sligo were ahead by double scores.

Ciarain Murtagh and David Keenan responded with points for Roscommon but Sligo finished the half in a blaze of glory.

Marren and Hughes kicked points but then Marren, who scored 1-7 in the semi-final win over Roscommon last year, picked up a black card for pulling David Murray back.

But they pulled further in front when Hughes kicked a third superb point and then just before the break Leaving Cert student Cawley finished the ball to the net after his initial effort was taken off the line by Murray to lead by 2-8 to 0-6 at the interval.

It took Roscommon just 30 seconds to strike back after the restart when Senan Kilbride fisted a long delivery from Niall Daly to the net.

Adrian Marren scores a penalty Sligo's Adrian Marren scores a penalty. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Mark Breheny hit back with a free for Sligo but Donie Shine was coming more into it for Roscommon and he landed two points either side of a 45 from his goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey and Conor Devaney to cut the margin to 2-9 to 1-10 after 46 minutes.

Hughes lifted the siege with his fourth point for Sligo as they refused to wilt.

But then Cathal Cregg and Fintan Cregg combined for their skipper Ciarain Murtagh to blast home an equaliser and tie the game at 2-10 apiece after 50 minutes.

Ciarain Murtagh then edged the Rossies in front before converting a penalty after 57 minutes.

Sligo never gave up but Roscommon were able to respond to any of their scores before Enda Smith blasted to the net to seal a place in the Connacht final against either champions Mayo or Galway.

Scorers – Roscommon: C Murtagh 2-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), E Smith 1-1, S Kilbride 1-0, D Keenan 0-3, C Devaney 0-3, D Shine 0-2, D Smith 0-2, J McManus 0-1, F Cregg 0-1f, G Claffey 0-1 ‘45

Sligo: A Marren 1-3 (1-0 pen),

ROSCOMMON

1. Geoffrey Claffey (Castlerea St Kevin’s)

2. Sean McDermott (Western Gaels)
25. Sean Mullooly (Strokestown)
4. Niall McInerney (St Brigid’s)

6. Sean Purcell (Boyle)
5. John McManus (Roscommon Gaels)
7. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)

8. Niall Daly (Padraig Pearses)
15. Donie Shine (Clann na nGael)

10. Fintan Cregg (Elphin)
11. Ciarain Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
12. Conor Devaney (Kilbride)

13. Senan Kilbride (St Brigid’s)
14. Cathal Cregg (Western Gaels)
19. David Keenan (St Barry’s)

Subs:

3. Neil Collins (St Brigid’s) for Purcell (39)
21. Enda Smith (Boyle) for C Cregg (49)
20. Donal Smith (Boyle) for Kilbride (58)
17. Cathal Compton (Strokestown) for Shine (58)
24. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty) for F Cregg (69)
9. James McDermott (Roscommon Gaels) for Keenan (69)

SLIGO

1. Aidan Devaney (Calry St Joseph’s)

2. Daniel Maye (Tubbercurry)
3. Kevin McDonnell (Castleconnor)
4. Eoin Flanagan (St John’s)

5. Keelan Cawley (Coolera Strandhill)
6. Adrian McIntyre (Tourlestrane)
7. Brendan Egan (St Vincent’s)

8. Niall Murphy (Coolera Strandhill)
17. Noel Gaughan (Tourlestrane)

10. Neil Ewing (Drumcliffe Rosses Point)
11. Mark Breheny (St Mary’s)
12. Charlie Harrison (St John’s)

13. Adrian Marren (Curry)
14. Pat Hughes (Geevagh)
18. Kyle Cawley (St Mary’s)

Subs:

19. Liam Henry (St Mary’s) for Harrison (22)
9. Cian Breheny (St Mary’s) for Marren (BC 34)
15. Brian Egan (Tourlestrane) for K Cawley (60)
24. Cathal Henry (Tourlestrane) for Gaughan (64)
21. Johnny Kelly (St Molaise Gaels) for Maye (BC 71)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

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About the author:

John Fallon

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