Leitrim Minors suffered a five point defeat at the hands of Sligo Minors in their first outing in this year’s Connacht Minor Football League in Connolly Park on Saturday evening.
By David Goulden
A goal and eleven points from the right side of Sligo’s attack did the telling damage as corner forward Ciaran O’Connor kicked a goal and five points. Right half forward Seamus Cawley notched up six points of his own. Left half forward Padraig Gallagher was responsible for six of Leitrim’s 14 points, while ‘keeper Brendan Flynn kept an in-form Sligo attack at bay on several occasions with some top-class goalkeeping.
Sligo looked the more purposeful side throughout the opening half and were the first to draw blood on three minutes as Ciaran O’Connor converted an early free. Left corner forward Seamus Cawley was fouled by Leitrim’s Darragh McKiernan as he attempted to turn the corner back. O’Connor had no problem in kicking over the free from 30 metres. A minute later, Sligo’s Colm Egan looked as if he was about to double the lead but for brave block on the St Mary’s forward by Leitrim full back Enda Fowley just as Egan pulled the trigger. Leitrim moved the ball quickly from the resulting counter attack before Glencar/Manorhamilton’s Niall Brady was impeded by a Sligo defender. Aughawillan’s Stephen Gilheaney converted the resulting free to level the tie. Leitrim net-minder Brendan Flynn was responsible for keeping the teams level on eight minutes after Cian Breheny sprinted clear of the last Leitrim defender. Flynn stayed on his feet for as long as possible and was rewarded for doing so as he palmed away Breheny’s shot as the St Mary’s man looked to rifle the ball in to the top corner. Colm Egan failed to hit the target from the resulting 45. Points from Cian Breheny and a free from Ciaran O’Connor on nine and eleven minutes respectively opened up a two point lead for the home side before Niall Brady raced past Stephen Barrett and chose to punch over for his first point of the game to leave a single score between the teams. Breheny restored the two point lead soon after, Shamrock Gaels’ Ciaran O’Connor setting up his St Farnan’s namesake before a Padraig Gallagher sent over a 14th minute free to leave the scores at four points to three.
St Farnan’s Ciaran O’Connor scored the game’s first goal on 18 minutes. Colm Egan dropped the ball under pressure from a Leitrim defender inside the square and passed the ball along the ground to the waiting O’Connor who finished the ball soccer-style past Flynn. Leitrim stayed in touch through Stephen Gilheaney and Padraig Gallagher who added two more points to the scoreboard shortly before Brendan Flynn pulled off another great save, this time denying Sligo’s Brian Smith. All this good work was undone however six minutes from the break when Leitrim conceded their second goal. Colm Egan won an aerial battle with Mohill’s Eanna Madden at the edge of the Leitrim square and he punched the ball across the face of the goal to the waiting Seamus Cawley. The St Mary’s forward had no trouble in poking the ball home with his right foot. A further score from Sligo’s Cian Breheny and points from the feet of Leitrim’s Conor Gaffney and Padraig Gallagher left a four point gap between the sides at half-time, Tommy Breheny’s side leading 2-5 to 0-7.