Sligo SHC Final - Easkey 1-17 v Naomh Eoin 2-13

Back 27/09/2020 @ 20:12 | mainnews | Sligo SHC Final - Easkey 1-17 v Naomh Eoin 2-13


Easkey are Sligo hurling champions for 2020 ending a 57 year wait. More importantly their team which were favourites last year came good this year and used that hurt to drive them to victory. Naomh Eoin defence were heroic throughout though they were helped at times by some careless shooting by Easkey but the same can be said of the Easkey defence who completely snuffed out the Naoomh Eoin attack in the second half. 

This was an excellent game throughout and the closeness of the game added even more to the event. √Čanna Moylan got the first score of the game emerging from a crowd of players to calmly put over the bar. Ryan Feehily who would have been close to man of the match if Naomh Eoin emerged victorious scored from long range in the 6th minute. 

It was obvious early on that both full back lines were in trouble when long ball was sent in. Rory McHugh who won the player of the match award put over a 65 which was cancelled out by Gerard O'Kelly Lynch free. Andy Kilcullen in the 13th minute who was in front at all times scored a point from play. From the subsequent puck out the sliotar was sent in and from the full back and full forward line Kilcullen came barrelling out and had the smarts to realise that Darragh Cawley and Feehily were ready to hook so he let fly with his right foot across the keeper into the side netting of the dressing room goals. In fairness to the town side they responded instantly with a O'Kelly Lynch free before the water break. 

Naomh Eoin had their best quarter after the water break and Ryan Feehily again put over another long range point. This was followed by O'Kelly Lynch and Kilcullen trading points. There was another free for Naomh Eoin scored and then a point from play by Gerard O'Kelly Lynch. Then a 90 second spell saw Naomh Eoin take the lead for the first time in the game going into added time in the half. First Arthur Wall last years goal scoring hero was hooked after a mix up in the full back line, he prodded the sliotar forward and swung on the ground which went in under Gordons hurl in the Easkey goal. Their second goal was as good a goal seen in a Sligo county final. Great hooking and blocking by the Naomh Eoin half back line (Feehily without a hurl for most of it) saw the ball being delivered in and two flicks later it was in young Liam O'Kelly Lynchs hand and he drove across the keeper from the 13 metre line to the top left corner of the town goal. The sides traded frees before the half time break where Naomh Eoin lead 2-8 v 1-7.

Easkey came out determined and for the first quarter cut down on the wides and had drawn level with points from McHugh (2 frees), James Weir, captain Finnian Cawley . The pain from last years defeat was definitely driving the Easkey lads on as they were emerging from most of the rucks with the sliotar. No ball into the Naomh Eoin forwards was sticking. The depth of the Easkey panel was also in evidence. With the sides level at the water break it was looking like a draw was a huge possibility. 

Easkeys shooting was poor again at the start of the last 15 hitting 4 quick wides. Naomh Eoin were too dependent on Gerard O'Kelly Lynch frees with none of them inside the Easkey 65. However despite that Naomh Eoin were leading by one going into the additional times as O'Kelly Lynch struck over a 65 in response to a good Mikey Gordon point from play. James Weir drew the sides level with the 3 minutes of additional starting. It seemed that a draw was going to be the result but Thomas Cawley who had only come on, having not been able to start due to an injury let fly from right on the sideline under the stands between the 45 and 65 and drove it straight through the posts. It was an excellent strike to win a game and was only right that such a good score would settle this gripping contest. Shortly after Ciaran O'Donnell blew the final whistle to the joy of the lads from west Sligo to the delirium of their supporters.

After the game the cup was presented to Finnian Cawley by county board chairman Brendan Leonard.

Scorers

Easkey - Rory McHugh 0-8 (5f 1x65), Andrew Kilcullen 1-2, James Weir, Mikey Gordon 0-2 each, √Čanna Moylan, Finnian Cawley, Thomas Cawley 0-1 each.

Naomh Eoin - Gerard O'Kelly Lynch 0-11 (9f 1x65), Arthur Wall, Liam O'Kelly Lynch 1-0 each, Ryan Feehily 0-2