Minor footballers finish season on a high with Connacht Shield success

Back 30/05/2023 @ 02:09 | mainnews | Minor footballers finish season on a high with Connacht Shield success

After a season of ups and downs Sligo’s minor footballers kept the best until last and eclipsed the Leitrim challenge with a devastating second half to win the Connacht U17 Shield at Markiewicz Park on Friday evening last.

The final outcome wasn’t in sight at half time when the home side went in four points down after a hesitant half hour where Leitrim had been the more effective in every area of the field and would have been disappointed not to be further ahead.

Sligo had started on the front foot with a the first score from Tubbercurry’s Conor McDonagh but Jack Kelly quickly equalised and then set up Paul Honeyman to put his side ahead.

Aaron Lang converted a free  to bring Sligo level again on six minutes but then Leitrim started to convert their greater possession into a gap on the scoreboard with a fisted and a palmed point by wing back Kyle Russell and Honeyman.

Honeyman continued to be Leitrim’s tormentor in chief with three more points exchanged with Josh McHugh, Lang (free) and Michael Carroll

Coming into the last ten minutes of the half, the visitors started to pull away with Kelly, James Gilheaney – both from play and goalkeeper Sean Carolan Morris from a long range free extending their advantage to five points just before the break.

Sligo did however keep their tally moving with a well worked point from to reduce the margin for his side, 0-10 to 0-6, at the break.

it was a different Sligo however that emerged for their final half of the season. Jim Molloy got the first score of the half, with a point while Lang hit the post with a great goal attempt.

Full back Eamon Keane and half time substitute Eamon O'Mahony cut the gap to a point and then Sligo got the turning point score of the game as O’Mahony met a long looping ball across the Leitrim goal to palm the ball to the net off the goalkeeper to put the home side two points,

Paul Honeyman sought to get back straight away and drew a fine save  from Sligo keeper James Cronin made a point blank save to keep his side in touch,.

Conor McDonagh and Honeyman (free) swapped points as did Lang and sub Bailey McBride but Sligo were managing to stay at arms' length with McDonagh, adding his third point to open out a three point lead with ten minutes, 1-12 to 0-12 with ten minutes to go.

From there it was all Sligo as they extended the lead with an Aaron Lang point before first Conor Walsh in the 56th minute, and then his Eastern Harps clubmate Cillian Duggan in added time each found the net, with another Lang free in between for good measure.

Leitrim did have the chance of a consolation at the end when they were awarded a penalty but Honeyman’ s shot hit a post and rebounded to safety for Sligo.

In the end, Sligo had an 11 point outsourcing them 3-7 to 0-2 to run out comprehensive winners.

SLIGO;  James Cronin; Clyde Regan, Eamon Keane (0-1), Josh McHugh (0-1); Liam Higgins (0-1), Oran Harte, James Lavin; Conor Walsh (1-0), Eoin Tuffy (C); Dara Mostyn, Jim Molloy (0-1), Conor McDonagh (0-3); Aaron Lang (0-5, 2f, 1M), Michael Carroll (0-1), Cian Gallagher. Subs: Eamonn O'Mahony (1-1, 1f) for Mostyn (HT); Marty Murray for McDonagh (50); Cillian Duggan (1-0) for Carroll (56); Shane Murphy for Lavin (58); Kern O'Doherty for Tuffy (59)

LEITRIM; Seán Carolan Morris (0-1, f); Frankie Cullen, Eanna McNamara, Oran Foley; Dessie Wisley, Darragh Gardiner, Kyle Russell (0-1); Dara Greenan, Colm McLoughlin; Aaron Gardiner, James Gilheaney (0-1), Adam Gethins; Jack Kelly (0-2), Paul Honeyman (0-6, 2f), Senan Bohan. Subs: Brian Keaney for Bohan (25); Bailey McBride (0-1) for Wisely (38); Gavin Gallagher for Gethins (53); Ruairi O'Rourke for Kelly (54); Cormac Moran for McLoughlin (56)

Referee: Aaron Clogher (Roscommon).