Connacht Minor Football Championship Report

Sligo 3-12 Leitrim 3-7

Sligo booked their place in the Connacht Minor Football Championship final for the second time in three years thanks to a hard-earned five-point defeat of Leitrim at Markievicz Park on Wednesday evening.

In an error-strewn contest, the home side did just enough to get the better of a Leitrim side that will rue the accumulation of 13 wides over the course of the hour.

Sligo, too, made numerous handling errors but much of the broken play from both sides could be attributed to the difficult playing conditions after heavy rainfall throughout the afternoon made conditions incredibly greasy. 

Nerves certainly played a part on both sides too as they entered championship battle for the first time this year, but Sligo started well and led 0-3 to 0-2 after 12 minutes with Luke Towey, Red Og Murphy and Conall Ryan all finding range.

Leitrim were enjoying plenty of possession, however, and they almost added a goal to Caleb Duffy’s early points but Alan Davey pulled off a fine save in the 13th minute.

They did raise a green flag later in the half when Jordan Reynolds long range shot was carried over the line by Davey in the 28th minute, and the visitors therefore led 1-4 to 0-5 at the break.

Sligo looked to be struggling after this setback but crucially they struck for a goal of their own two minutes into the second half when Red Óg Murphy finished off a fine team move, with Oisin Conlon and Luke Towey creating the opportunity.

This would set off a goal-scoring spree for both sides with Oisin McLoughlin hitting the Sligo net in the 35th minute after the home side coughed up possession inside their own 21 metre line.

To their credit, Sligo responded instantly with Evan Lavin finishing to the net mere seconds later at the other end after a terrific run from deep.

The sides exchanged two points apiece soon after to leave matters at 2-7 to 2-6 in Sligo’s favour with 15 minutes to play, but they were dealt a major blow in this period when Red Óg Murphy received a black card.

Evan Harkin’s 45th minute point brought Leitrim back on level terms, and then the sides exchanged goals once again – substitute Ryan Walsh netted for Sligo before Leitrim goaled two minutes later through Oisin McLoughlin.

Impressively, the home side controlled matters in the closing stages and reeled off five points in a row – the last two from man of the match Conall Ryan – to end as five-point winners and seal their place in the Connacht final against Galway on Sunday week.

Sligo: A Davey; E Lyons, J Ellis, J Weir; B Cox, E Lavin (1-1), O Conlon; N Colsh, B Gorman (0-1); R Anderson (0-1), L Towey (0-2), C O’Dowd; C Ryan (0-4), R Óg Murphy (1-2, 2fs), Karl McKenna. Subs used: M Cahill, R Walsh (1-1), J Stephenson, J McMunn

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