Friends of Sligo Football
Congratulations to our gallant Senior footballers, who defeated Galway to qualify for the Connaught
final in Castlebar next Sunday. This scribe was watching the match in Turkey having changed
holidays for the original game and the backdrop could not be much different watching the match as
the summer sun set in the Aegeon sea and in contrast to the rain and wind in Markievicz Park.
A text from a friend before kick off advising Tony Taylor was out injured and 2 more changes were
worrying coupled with our record in replays. My confidence was boosted by the belief in this team
and my recollection that the last time Sligo won a replay I was on my first holiday abroad, Sadly
then there were no mobile phones or internet so I had to wait until Monday morning to get the
good news. No such problem this time watching the match here in Turkey with pint in hand and
Sligo started brightly and we wondered what if Stephen Coen’s shot was an inch or 2 lower. Still
we were in good shape for the second half only 2 points down and we will have the wind behind
us. A few minutes into the half and that man again (David Kelly) intercepts a back pass and coolly
scores a goal but this ignited Galway, who went on to score a number of unanswered points and
we were worried . Once again the Management took remedial action and the substitutes delivered
with excellent points by Kenneth Sweeney and Colm McGee to seal victory in the dying moments.
Sean Davey also contributed showing his strength and ability to carry the ball in the inclement
weather, Mark Brehony was amazing with incredible work rate and some first class points and David
Kelly continued to torment their defence. Ross O’ Donovan continued to mop up everything at the
back. This was a memorable and wonderful achievement – the fruit of hard work, commitment and
preparation. We look forward with confidence to Castlebar next Sunday but not over confident as
Roscommon will see this as an opportunity to win a Connaught title with Mayo and Galway gone but
they are gone because they were beaten by a better team- SLIGO. It is good to see the players and
Management adopt a pragmatic attitude and recognise they have won nothing yet and must go out
and in fact up their game for the final. Mark Brehony put it succinctly last week when he recognised
the pitfalls and recalled that Minor final in 1998 in rain drenched Tuam when we appeared to be
unbeatable but Leitrim spoiled the party. So next Sunday let everyone in Sligo get behind our team
they represent us and all that is good about Sligo and we need a lift now. So best of luck to all on
Sunday. Bearing in mind then extraordinary conclusions to big matches last weekend no doubt the
Sligo players will appreciate the need to keep going to the final whistle.
On the plane going to Turkey the morning after the first Sligo v Galway game and reading the
reports in the papers I was extremely annoyed at the comments of Galway manager, Joe Kernan
about Sligo off the ball tactics, which appeared wide of the mark and it is ironic a former
Crossmaglen and Armagh manager should make such comments. Perhaps it was to use a ploy
similar to managers of another code across the water to use mind games to upset an opposition
manager but Joe should realise this would not wear with Kevin Walsh, who has 2 senior All Ireland
medals unlike Joe, who had a runner up medal until he allegedly discarded it in a half time
rant. Thankfully both Kevin Walsh and Tommy Brehony in the Champion responded admirably to
these allegations and the Sligo players responded in the best way of all by beating Joe’s charges.
Congratulations to David Kelly on winning the Gaelic Football Player of the month for June – a richly
deserved award. Earlier this year when David was selected on the Third Level Colleges All Star team
I predicted that would not be his last award this year and I believe there will be even more this
We in Friends of Sligo Football appreciate that the continued and welcome progress in the
Championship involves additional costs and we appeal to our supporters to contribute whatever you
can to ensure our preparations are nor curtailed for financial reasons. We recommend our members
contribute to CLUB SLIGO.
We extend our sympathy to the family of Owen Henry, Curry, who died recently. Owen was a
wonderful club player, official and Mentor in his club but he was also a very active community man.
On the football field he was delighted to win that County title in 1972 in the company of some
GAA greats. Many a full back stepped out in opposition to Owen only to finish the game with his
reputation tarnished as Owen’s side steps left him bewildered. Anytime Curry or Sligo were involved
in a big match the Henry home and its environs were well bedecked in the relevant colours.
At a time of great excitement in Sligo it is commendable that a number of GAA people are still to
the fore in supporting worthwhile charities in particular the Pauline Whittington cycle from Dublin
to Tubbercurry when among the cyclists were Stephen Gilmartin’s parents Gerry and Margaret and
Stephen’s sister and bearing in mind this was the eve of the Sligo Galway match and 3 days before
their departure on holidays it is testament to their commitment to this worthy cause. Other notable
Sligo supporters participating included John Brennan Cloonacool, who travels to Sligo games all over
including New York.
Also we commend Niamh O’Grady and Kirstie Hannon from Gurteen, who are travelling to Uganda
on charity work and they are noted footballers and supporters but are prepared to make sacrifices
for those in need .