Allianz Football League Division Three
Longford 0-16, Sligo 2-7
SLIGO’S Division Three promotion hopes were ended in Longford’s Glennon Brothers Pearse Park last Sunday when they lost by three points to the hosts, 0-16 to 2-7, in round five of the Allianz Football League.
Despite two predatory first-half goals from St Mary’s forward Stephen Coen, tidy scores that left Sligo within a point of the winners at half-time, 0-10 to 2-3, Sligo never got to grips with proceedings – only Adrian McIntyre was consistent throughout – and produced an underwhelming display that echoed their stumble away to Antrim.
A red card for Sligo’s veteran corner-back Charlie Harrison, who was shown two yellow cards in time added on at the end of the first-half, left Sligo with 14 players for the second period.
Missed chances and turnovers also proved so costly against a Longford side who, although they were wasteful too, had a match-winner in Sean McCormack, who bagged 0-7 (five from frees).
Even a win against Offaly this Sunday at Markievicz Park, followed by an away defeat of Louth, will probably not be enough for Sligo to get into Division Two.
Currently fourth in the standings, three points off leaders Tipperary, Sligo will need others results to favour them in the remaining two rounds.
Indeed, Sligo will need to win at least one of their final two games in order to secure their Division Three status.
Goalkeeper Aidan Devaney scored two first-half points and the first of these, a fourth minute ’45’, got Sligo off the mark after Longford scored the game’s opening two points – and had a goal chance cleared off the line by Adrian McIntyre.
Stephen Coen’s first goal after eight minutes, when he shredded Longford’s defence, put Sligo in front, 1-1 to 0-3, and when he goaled again four minutes later – this time with a flick from an Adrian Marren cross – it was to put Sligo ahead again, 2-1 to 0-5.
But Sligo only scored two more first-half points against a Longford side who showed more efficiency with possession.
Charlie Harrison’s red card meant Sligo had to reshuffle their defence for the second-half. Longford missed five chances before extending their lead with a 45th minute point.
Sligo were just a point behind, 0-11 to 2-4, when Adrian Marren scored with a 51st minute point but Longford remained in front and almost goaled, too, but Robbie Smyth blazed a shot over from a goal opportunity.
In added time Sligo were only a goal away from drawing level but, even with Pat Hughes thrown into the mix, the visitors failed to conjure up a big score to rescue their campaign.
Best for Sligo: Adrian McIntyre
Sligo: Aidan Devaney (0-2, 1f, 1 ’45’), Noel Gaughan, Ross Donovan, Charlie Harrison, Keelan Cawley, Neil Ewing (c) (0-1), Kevin McDonnell, Patrick O’Connor, Adrian McIntyre (0-1), John Kelly, Cian Breheny, Eoin McHugh, Stephen Coen (2-0), Adrian Marren (0-2), Niall Murphy (0-1)
Subs used: Daniel Maye for Noel Gaughan, 32; Stephen Gilmartin for Patrick O’Connor, h-t; Kyle Cawley for John Kelly, 54; Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch for Cian Breheny, 54; Pat Hughes for Stephen Coen, 57; Brendan Egan for Keelan Cawley, 59 (black card)
Longford: Paddy Collum, Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Barry O’Farrell, Donal McElligott, Padraig McCormack, Michael Quinn (c), Darren Gallagher (0-1), Paul McGee, Andrew Farrell, James McGivney (0-2), Barry McKeon (0-2), Robbie Smyth (0-4, 2f), Liam Connerton, Sean McCormack (0-7, 5f)
Subs used: Diarmuid Masterson for Paul McGee, 47; Larry Moran for Robbie Smyth, 68; Brian Farrell for Darren Gallagher, 68; Ronan McEntire for James McGivney, 68; Daniel Mimnagh for Barry McKeon, 70
Referee: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary)