Sligo Prevail in Concluding Connacht FBD League 2015 Encounter.
Sligo 2-9 Leitrim 1-10
The Connacht FBD League 2015 concluded for Leitrim and Sligo in Markievicz Park, Sligo, this afternoon and after an entertaining and exciting match it was the home side which took the spoils as both sides look forward to the Allianz Leagues which commence in two weeks time. With Galway having secured their place in the FBD final last week it was an ideal opportunity for both managements to have a look at the depth of their squads and following this, at all times, competitive joust both managements will no doubt have taken many positives forward to reflect on.
The match opened with Leitrim on the attack from the throw in and Kevin Conlan pointed to give the visitors an early advantage. Adrian Marren equalised almost immediately with a close range point and the same player put Sligo into the lead shortly afterwards with another point. Two minutes later Conlan with a 45 restored parity and following a foul on himself and the same player restored Leitrim’s advantage with free as we approached the end of the first quarter and Alan McLoughlin entered the action for Ciaran Gilheaney. Another Conlan point from 40m from play was immediately responded to with a Marren point from play and by the 20th minute corner forward Niall Murphy sent over for the Yeats men to equalise. Yet another Conlan point(free) gave Leitrim the slenderest of advantages before a huge Marren point from play sent the teams in level at half time, five points apiece.
Kenneth Sweeney replaced Padraic Clarke on the Sligo team for the start of the second half and team captain Mark Breheny restored Sligo’s lead with a point from play. Two minutes midfielder Pat Hughes found the net to open a significant lead for the home side and James McGrail joined the action in place of Cathal McCrann for the visitors. A brilliant goal line clearance by Dylan Keane proved was significant for the Leitrim men as they looked to stay in the match. Alan McLoughlin reduced the deficit with a point and Robbie Lowe replaced Danny Beck with 7 second half minutes played. Leitrim restored parity as Ronan Kennedy found the net with a tidy finish and Conlan with a point put Leitrim ahead as this game ebbed and flowed.
As the game entered its final quarter, Brehony levelled for the home side. Donal Wrynne replaced Christy McGowan on Leitrim side and Keelan Cawley entered the fray for Conor Kerins, Sligo. Breheny, this time with a free opened the slenderest of leads for Sligo and with 8 minutes remaining the green flag was raised once again, this time Breheny was the finisher and shortly afterwards Kenneth Sweeney opened a five point advantage. Shane Moran came on for Fergal Clancy and a double substitution by the home side saw Barry O Mahoney and Luke Bree enter for Neil Ewing and Shane Stenson. Conlan reduced the deficit to four points with a free as Sligo continued to empty their bench Niall O Donaghue and Damien O Boyle in for Charlie Harrison and StephenÓgilmartin.
Conlan, from a free, and Barry Prior from play reduced the margin to two points with time running out and Leitrim searching for match saving scores. However it wasn’t to be for the visitors and Sligo held on to record a two point win.
Thus ends the FBD campaign for 2015 and it has seen Leitrim emerge from the winter with a very committed and energetic group of players, a healthy mix of youth sprinkled with experience. Shane Ward and his management team will have learned a lot about the talent available to them from the competitive experience it has been as they look to shape their team for the forthcoming Allianz Leagues which commence on February 1st with a home tie against neighbours Longford in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.
Leitrim: Brendan Flynn, Matthew Murphy, RonanÓgallagher, Dylan Keane, Barry Prior (0-1), Gary Reynolds, Sean McWeeney, Paddy McGowan, Cathal McCrann, Christy McGowan, Fergal Clancy, Danny Beck, Ciaran Gilheaney, Ronan Kennedy (1-0), Kevin Conlan (0-8). Subs used: Alan McLoughlin (0-1), James McGrail, Robbie Lowe, Donal Wrynne and Shane Moran.
Sligo: Aidan Devanney, Eoin Flanagan, Ross Donovan, Daniel Maye, Conor Kerins, Noel Gaughan, Shane Stenson, StephenÓgilmartin, Pat Hughes (1-0), Neil Ewing, Mark Brehony (0-3), Charlie Harrison, Padraic Clarke, Adrian Marren (1-4), Niall Murphy (0-1). Subs used: Kenneth Sweeney (0-1), Keelan Cawley, Barry O Mahony, Luke Bree, Niall McDonagh, Damien O Boyle.
18-Jan-15 by Declan Bohan – PRO