Connacht SFC: Sligo reach decider
Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Sligo 2-16 New York 0-6
By Liam Maloney at Markievicz Park
Sligo are through to their first Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship final since 2015 following a 16-point dismissal of an outclassed New York at a wet Markievicz Park.
Patrick O’Connor was Sligo’s hero in the rain as he scored 2-1 and Niall Murphy contributed 0-5 as Tony McEntee’s men made easy work of what could have been a tricky tie.
This was a unique fixture for New York, who had recorded their first-ever Connacht championship win earlier this month when they overcame Leitrim on penalties at Gaelic Park.
Sligo, on an eight game winning streak, a run that included promotion, an Allianz Football League Division Four title at Croke Park, and a defeat of London in a Connacht quarter-final at Ruislip were looking to reach a first provincial senior decider since 2015.
The home side got a perfect start when Patrick O’Connor found the net – from a Pat Spillane pass – with five minutes on the clock. The move began with Brian Cox winning a kick-out as Sligo looked to take control from the outset.
Sean Carrabine’s pointed free extended Sligo’s lead to four points, 1-1 to 0-0, with New York getting off the mark with a point after 12 minutes from Adrian Varley, who would later add the visitors’ second point from a converted mark.
Sligo, who had to be patient with possession as New York brought extra players back behind the ball, were five points up by the 20th minute, 1-3 to 0-1, as Niall Murphy contributed a brace.
Patrick O’Connor, Cian Lally and Paul McNamara each scored impressively from play and their was another free from Sean Carrabine as the home side’s seven-point interval advantage, 1-7 to 0-3, reflected their dominance.
But New York had chances as well – they kicked four wides in the first-half as did Sligo – and Gavin O’Brien’s point in the 26th minute was a gem of a score.
Sligo made certain of victory by shooting 1-3 within 10 minutes of the restart. The goal came from Patrick O’Connor, who was in the right place to palm home after a rebound came to him when Niall Murphy’s goalbound shot was well-saved by New York net-minder Michael Cunningham.
Pat Spillane’s brace of points, one of which was a brilliant effort, and a point by Niall Murphy left Sligo with a comfortable advantage.
New York score twice in those 10 minutes after the interval – substitute Connell Ahearne with a converted ‘mark’ and Bill Maher found the target with a fine score – but the game going beyond the visitors at this stage.
Sligo increased their lead through points from Sean Carrabine, who pointed after a deft chip-lift, and Cian Lally, who had a goal option but decided to take a fisted point.
New York’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Niall Madine was red-carded in the 60th minute following an incident with Eddie McGuinness, with the Sligo defender forced off with an injury.
There was little for New York to enthuse about, although Gavin O’Brien hit another massive point, as Sligo wrapped up their win with good points from Paul Kilcoyne, Niall Murphy and Luke Towey.
Scorers for Sligo: Patrick O’Connor 2-1, Niall Murphy 0-5 (2fs), Sean Carrabine 0-3 (2f), Pat Spillane 0-2, Cian Lally 0-2, Paul McNamara 0-1, Luke Towey 0-1, Paul Kilcoyne 0-1
Scorers for New York: Gavin O’Brien 0-2, Adrian Varley 0-2 (1 ‘mark’), Bill Maher 0-1, Connell Ahearne 0-1 (1 ‘mark’)
Sligo: Daniel Lyons; Evan Lyons, Eddie McGuinness, Nathan Mullen; Brian Cox, Paul McNamara, Luke Towey; Cian Lally, Paul Kilcoyne; Keelan Cawley, Sean Carrabine, Finnian Cawley; Pat Spillane, Patrick O’Connor, Niall Murphy.
Subs : Mikey Gordon for Keelan Cawley 47, Alan Reilly for Patrick O’Connor 49, Mark Walsh for Pat Spillane 53, Jack Lavin for Eddie McGuinness 60 (temporary sub), Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch for Finnian Cawley 63, Joseph Keaney for Cian Lally 67
New York: Michael Cunningham; Jamie Boyle, Alan Campbell, Eoghan Kerin; Bill Maher, Robert Wharton, Shane Brosnan; Johnny Glynn, Gavin O’Brien; Mark Ellis, Adrian Varley, Shane Carthy; Mikey Brosnan, Peter Fox, Daniel O’Sullivan
Subs : Connell Ahearne (0-1, 1 ‘mark’) for Mikey Brosnan 31, Killian Butler for Daniel O’Sullivan 44, Matthew Queenan for Peter Fox 48, Niall Madine for Shane Carthy 54, Jack Reilly for Adrian Varley 63, Colin Keane for Robert Wharton 67 (temporary sub).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).