Murphy powers Coolera Strandhill to historic League victory

Back 07/08/2022 @ 12:28 | mainnews | Murphy powers Coolera Strandhill to historic League victory

Coolera/Strandhill produced the performance of the season so far with an eleven-point victory over Tourlestrane to claim the Fureys Coaches Sligo football league Div 1 title in Markievicz Park on Saturday evening,

The victory bridged a 64 year gap to the club’s last victory in the competition and ended a run that has seen Tourlestrane lift the last six league and championship titles in Sligo club football.

The victory was built on Coolera’s strength around the middle of the park where Peter Laffey dominated but the game will be remembered most for captain Niall Murphy’s scoring return of 1-10.

His 42nd minute goal opened out a decisive margin in the game, but he gave the Tourlestrane full back line a torrid time from start to finish with 1-6 of his total coming from play.

Playing with the breeze, the winners showed their intent from the start with five unanswered points in the first 14 minutes – two each from Murphy and Conor Burke and a point from Aaron O’Boyle.

Liam Gaughan had Tourlestrane’s first score after 15 minutes and it was tit for tat for the remainder of the half as Guaghan again and Brian Egan, twice – one a free, pointed for the reigning champions while Ross Doherty and Murphy twice – one a free – did so for Coolera-Strandhill.

Both sides had goal chances with Tourlestrane keeper Adam Broe twice denying Leo Doherty while at the other end it took the crossbar to deny Brian Egan as the sides reached halftime with Coolera-Strandhill four points up, 0-8 to 0-4.

Tourlestrane had to play the opening stages of the second half with 14 men as James Leonard was black carded just before the break, but the play continued in a similar fashion to the latter stages of the first half with Conan Marren and Egan, from a free, keeping tabs with three Murphy points for Coolera-Strandhill, one a free and one after a mark.

Although they had never been behind, Murphy’s goal 12 minutes into the second half gave his side the breathing space their efforts deserved as he finished decisively to the top corner of the net to open out an eight point advantage, 1-11 to 0-6, that they were never likely to lose on the evidence of the day.

Gaughan and Murphy exchanged pointed frees and Kenny Gavigan had a point for Tourlestrane to leave it 1-12 to 0-8 with ten minutes to play.

With the defending champions chasing the goals that were needed to have any chance of recovering the deficit, it was the victors who finished the stronger with two further points from man of the match Murphy and one each for Ross Doherty and substitute Ciaran Flynn to complete a 1-16 to 0-8 victory.

Coolera-Strandhill; Gerard Murphy; Luke Bree, Conor McDonagh, Jonathan Cassidy; Seán Murphy, Ross O’Carroll, Leo Doherty; Kevin Banks, Peter Laffey; Aaron O’Boyle (0-1), Barry O’Mahony, Ross Doherty (0-2); Mark McDaniel, Niall Murphy (1-10, 3f 1m), Conor Burke (0-2).

Subs; Cillian McCahey, Ciaran Flynn (0-1), Donncha Beirne, Jarlath Herbert, Ben Cawley.

Tourlestrane; Adam Broe; JP Lang, Ronan Walsh, Barry Walsh; Oisín Kennedy, Kevin O’Hara, James Leonard; Conan Marren (0-1), Féidhlim O’Donnell; Kenny Gavigan (0-1), Rian Kennedy, Cathal Henry; Liam Gaughan (0-3 1f), Niall Egan, Brian Egan (0-3 2f). 

Substitutes used; Gary Gaughan, Colin Neary. 

REFEREE; Michael Duffy.