NHL ROINN 3A :  Sligo 1-18 v Tyrone 0-14

Back 12/06/2021 @ 20:44 | mainnews | NHL ROINN 3A : Sligo 1-18 v Tyrone 0-14

The Sligo hurlers have been promoted for the second time in less than 12 months after a very hard earned victory over Tyrone in Healy Park, Omagh on Saturday. This was a game that had everything, from excellent saves by the keepers, great free taking, some amazing blocks and hooks, huge intensity and of course great skill and excitement.

At half time in a tense, tight affair where Sligo had appeared to be in a bit of a hole and were making more mistakes than normal in particular in getting hold of the sliotar, it was hard to envisage either team winning by 7 points. The maturity of the team and the excellent coaching  and calmness shown to the lads by Padraig Mannion, Donal Tully, Declan Molloy and Darragh Cox shone through throughout the second half.

The first half despite being played in almost perfect conditions was not one for the purists though. A scoreline of 0-6 a piece at the end of the half told one story,  with 8 of the first 12 scores coming from placed balls and the Sligo lads only registering one point from play. The full forward line was very tightly marked and saw very little ball in hand and on two occasions when they did get it in the hand they were fouled unceremoniously. In both halves the lads got off to a good start with Finnian Cawley scoring the only Sligo point from play in the first half in the first minute. Gerard O’Kelly Lynch scored a free five minutes later. The tackling and the hits were getting more intense and Tyrone turned things around when scoring the next 5 points in the game with Damian Casey scoring one 65 and two frees with Tiarnan Morgan and Conor Grogan scoring fine points from play. Tomás Cawley was flattened in the 24th minute and Gerard added another free, and another after he was fouled in the 29th minute. In one case it appeared a penalty would be awarded  as the keeper was out further than the attacker. In the last 5 minutes of the half the teams traded frees, with two for Gerard O and one for Casey.

Within the first minute of the half Sligo were two up with two points from play from Joe McHugh and Kevin Banks. Gerard O added another free from distance. Like the first half Tyrone pulled themselves back into the game with firstly with a 65 from Casey, the result of an excellent save by Stephen Fleming, one of three made in the game by the Sligo custodian and two within minutes of each other at this very important time in the game. Cain Ferguson and Tiernan Morgan scored two points each from play but had also been the men who had their shots saved by Fleming. A three point deficit was turned around by Tyrone to a 2 point lead in 5 minutes. Kevin Banks broke the Tyrone scoring streak with his second from play in 9 minutes, however Casey replied with a free.

It was now Sligo who started to move more freely as the intense Tyrone pressure began to ease and points from Joe McHugh (2), Banks and Gerard O(2 frees)  had us back in front by 3. Casey replied with another 65 this time as Sligo scrambled one out that had come back off the post with Niall Feehily and Niall Kilcullen throwing their bodies in front of the effort by Ferguson that diverted the ball out. Gerard O restored our lead. The fitness of the Sligo team began to show with two of the Tyrone half back line going down with cramp.

The pivotal moment of the half, of the game, of the league probably took place in the 67th minute. A goal bound effort by Ferguson was blocked by Rory McHugh (who was very influential especially in the first half) diving face first and it came off the face guard. The clearance out the field came towards Conor Hanniffy who was catching high ball all day. With two defenders jumping with him, he managed to find the break first and quickly transferred to Gerard O who was through on goal in a 2 on 1 play. He drew the full back and passed to young Fionn Moylan (who had just replaced Tomás Cawley), his effort was blocked by the Tyrone keeper who was also having a great game but Moylan managed to push the rebound to Gerard O who lifted and struck on the turn with force into the roof of the net, I suspect not realising there was no one in the goal at the time. The cheers from the permitted Sligo attendance could be heard all the way down the A5. He followed up with a point from play after emerging from a ruck of players. At this stage it started to get tetchy and Morgan for Tyrone received his marching orders.

Sligo had achieved what they set out to do (like 2020) and had got themselves promoted and with one game to spare. Great credit is due to the complete squad, the back room team and all associated with the team in any way

The team are away to Monaghan on June 19.


Sligo – Gerard O’Kelly Lynch 1-11 (10f), Joe McHugh, Kevin Banks 0-3 each, Finnian Cawley 0-1

Tyrone – Damian Casey 0-7 (4f, 2x65), Tiernan Morgan 0-3, Cain Ferguson 0-2, Conor Grogan 0-1


Sligo – Stephen Fleming, James Weir, Niall Feehily, Niall Kilcullen, Kevin Banks, Rory McHugh, Gavin Connolly, Kevin O’Kennedy, Tony O’Kelly Lynch, Conor Hanniffy, Joe McHugh, Finnian Cawley, Tomás Cawley, Gerard O’Kelly Lynch, Andy Kilcullen

Subs: Mark Hanniffy for O’Kennedy, Michael Munnelly for Andy Killcullen, Kieran Prior for Tony O’Kelly Lynch, Fionn Moylan for Tomás Cawley

League table as it stands June 12, 2021