Connacht FBD SFL Home Final
Leitrim 0 – 8
Sligo 0 – 5
After putting up another battling performance Leitrim won their first ever FBD League Home final title with a deserved victory over neighbours Sligo in Markievicz Park on Sunday.
For the first time since the FBD League competition started, Leitrim came through this year’s campaign undefeated with one point wins over Roscommon, Mayo and GMIT on the way. Sunday’s three point victory over Sligo proved to be Leitrim’s biggest winning margin in their four FBD games.
Leitrim outplayed Sligo from the outset but never really shook off the challenge of the Yeats county-men who closed the gap on their neighbours in the first half to a point and in the second half to two points.
Perhaps the turning point in the game came when Leitrim ‘keeper Cathal McCrann made a 24th minute point blank save from a goal bound shot hit by Sligo left half forward Francis Quinn. If that shot had gone into the net it would have turned the game around and put Sligo into the lead, which never previously or subsequently happened in the contest.
Leitrim were quickest out of the blocks and took the lead when Ray Cox shot the game’s first score a 5th minute point from play. A free conversion by Emlyn Mulligan three minutes later doubled Leitrim’s advantage while Mulligan found the range with a 20th minute ‘45’ to put his side 0-3 ahead.
Meanwhile, in this period Ray Cox put a Leitrim goal chance narrowly wide while in another incident team mate Brian McDonald received a yellow card. Meanwhile Brian Egan opened Sligo’s account when he tapped over a 21st minute free.
Two minutes later Mark Brehony made it a one point game when fired over a spectacular long range Sligo point from play. Sligo’s Brendan Egan was issued with a 24th minute yellow card.
After a period of Sligo dominance at midfield that put Leitrim somewhat on the back foot, the Markievicz Park visitors upped their game again and stretched their lead further with a Emlyn Mulligan free tap over and a point from play by Daniel Beck.
Prior to the break Leitrim’s Colm Clarke and Sligo’s Mark Brehony were both yellow carded after the both became involved in some untidy play. Meanwhile the score line at the interval read Leitrim 0 – 5 Sligo 0 – 2.
Following the restart Leitrim’s Adrian Croal was the recipient of a 37th minute yellow card. Three minutes later Emlyn Mulligan put Leitrim four points to the good when he put over his second ‘45’ of the game.
Sligo halftime sub Adrian Marren was the game’s 6th yellow recipient shortly afterwards. Points for Sligo from Brian Egan (play) and Adrian Marren (free) cut Leitrim’s lead to make it a two point game by the end of the third quarter.
Neither side managed to get on target for another eleven minutes as Sligo lifted their game in a bid to turn the tables on Leitrim, who however withstood their opponent’s onslaught in this period when denying them any scores.
Leitrim broke the scoring drought when sub Cian Reynolds hit over a 56th minute point after being put through by Brian McDonald. However in the following minute Adrian Marren replied with a Sligo free conversion to leave just two points between the sides again.
A Leitrim surge downfield in the 60th minute ended with Brian McDonald shooting a security point for his side from what was goal chance. After Sunday’s win over Sligo, Leitrim will play New York in Gaelic Park in the Connacht FBD League Away final on Saturday, October 5.
Meanwhile Leitrim play promotion favourites, Limerick in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday in their first round Allianz Division 4 game.
Leitrim: Cathal McCrann; Alan Wynne, Ciaran Egan, Paddy Maguire; Daniel Beck 0 – 1, Paul Brennan, Colm Clarke; Wayne McKeon, Paddy McGowan; Gerry Hickey, Emlyn Mulligan 0 – 4(4fs.), Brian McDonald 0 – 1: Ray Cox 0 – 1, James Glancy, A. Croal. Subs; Kevin Conlan for Croal (43 mins.); Cian Reynolds 0 – 1 for Hickey (50 mins.); Brendan Brennan for McGowan (56 mins.).
Sligo: Aidan Devaney; Charlie Harrison, Johnny Martyn, Brian Kennedy; Neil Ewing, Mark Quinn, Brian Curran; Stephen Gilmartin, Adrian McIntyre; Brendan Egan 0 – 2(1f.) 0 – 2(1f), James Clarke, Francis Quinn; Mark Brehony 0 – 1, Kenneth Sweeney, Pat Hughes. Subs: Adrian Marren 0 – 2(2fs) for Sweeney (HT); Shane McManus for Clarke (HT); Keelan Cawley for Martyn (48 mins.), Niall Murphy for Brehony (55 mins.).
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).