A second-half Conor Beirne goal gave Leitrim their first Connacht Championship win since 2008 after a fiery affair that saw three men sent-off in Markievicz Park.

Leitrim led 0-8 to 0-5 at the break and while substitute Mark Breheny triggered a short-lived Sligo comeback, 1-01 from Beirne in two minutes sealed the win for Leitrim as Brian Curran, Eamonn OHara and Emlyn Mulligan were all sent-off.

With seven debutants taking to the field for Leitrim a good start was imperative. And they got it when Paul Brennan pointed after less than a minute to give Mickey Morans side the lead.

Emlyn Mulligan doubled their lead two minutes later with a free from the left after James Glancy was fouled by Neil Ewing.

But Leitrim, who were playing into the teeth of a strong wind,
continued to dominate and they soon stretched their lead.

Wing-back Wayne McKeon drilled over a terrific score from the left wing after 11 minutes, which was quickly followed by en even better one from Tomas Beirne.

Adrian Marren, the most impressive forward for Sligo, stopped the rot with a great score from the right wing, but further points from Glancy and Conor Beirne gave them a four-point advantage after 23 minutes.

Marren hit back for Sligo before he was presented with a great goal chance on the half-hour mark. However, after collecting a break down from OHara he contrived to drill the ball over the bar to make it 0-6 to 0-4.

But an injury-time point from Tony Taylor brought Sligo back to an
undeserved 0-8 to 0-5 deficit at the break.

Leitrims dominance in the first half saw Walsh introduce both Sean Davey and Mark Breheny before the break and both men made a huge impact after their introduction.

And it was Breheny, who has been suffering with a hamstring injury, who kick-started the Sligo comeback with two quick points.

Marren pointed a free to draw Sligo level in the 16th minute, but
Conor Beirne hit back with a driving point from distance.

And just over a minute later he struck the decisive blow when he
claimed James Glancys arrowed pass and fired past Philip Greene to make it 1-9 to 0-8.

Stephen Coen immediately replied for Sligo to leave the deficit at
just a goal, but Leitrim held on for a memorable win.

scorers:
Leitrim: 
C Beirne (1-3, 1f); E Mulligan (0-2fs); W McKeon (0-1); T Beirne (0-1); P Brennan (0-1); A Croal (0-1); J Glancy (0-1).

Sligo: A Marren (0-4, 2fs); M Breheny (0-2, 1f); T Taylor (0-1); F
Quinn (0-1); S Coen (0-1); D Maye (0-1)

Sligo: P Greene; C Harrison, R Donovan, N Ewing; P McGovern, B Curran, D Rooney; S Gilmartin, T Taylor; A Costello, E OHara, F Quinn; S Coen, K Sweeney, A Marren.

Subs: S Davey for Gilmartin, 28; M Breheny for Sweeney, 35; D Maye for Quinn, 62; B Egan for ~Costello, 66; K Cawley for Breheny, 70.

Leitrim: C McCrann; D Reynolds, R Gallagher, P Maguire; B Prior, G
Reynolds, W McKeon; T Beirne, D Lowe; P Brennan, E Mulligan, R Lowe; A Croal, C Beirne, J Glancy.

Subs: B McDonald for Brennan, 55; D Sweeney for Lowe, 56.

 

 

23-May-11 by Colette Fox – PRO