Eirgrid Connacht U-21 FC semi-final
Sligo 1-13 Roscommon 0-13
A goal from Sligo corner forward Jodie O’Reilly in the 46th minute was decisive as Roscommon’s bid for an 8th successive Connacht final appearance was thwarted by an impressive Sligo side who deserved to win the game in front of a crowd of 1,500 people at dry but bitterly cold Kiltoom last night (Wednesday).
Playing with the breeze at their backs in the opening half Roscommon were the better team. With Brian Stack sweeping in defence and Cian McKeon doing well up front, the home side were on top. The sides shared four points in the opening 11 minutes with John Gannon and Hubert Darcy (free) scoring for the home side and Sligo full-forward Paddy O’Connor scoring two frees for Sligo.
Roscommon did have a let-off in the 13th minute when Shane Mannion made a brilliant save from Jodie O’Reilly. A fine point from Sligo’s Stephen Connolly was followed by a period of Roscommon dominance, during which they scored four unanswered points. Hubert Darcy converted two frees while Jamie Fahy and Cian McKeon kicked superb points from play. On the stroke of half-time Paddy O’Connor converted a 25-metre free to leave the score at the break: Roscommon 0-6 Sligo 0-4.
But Sligo were devastating in the second half, midfielder Darragh Cummins kicked four marvellous points from play and when O’Reilly struck for the only goal of the game following a great ball from Gavin Cawley, the writing was on the wall for Roscommon.
Roscommon staged a late rally and frees from Hubert Darcy and Cian McKeon narrowed the gap to three but Sligo subs Jason Perry and Sean Carabine kicked late points to keep them in front and they held out for a deserved win.
Sligo now play Mayo or Galway in the Connacht final.
Roscommon: Shane Mannion (0-1, free); Jack Connaughton, Keelan Beirne, Mark Richardson; Sean Conroy, Aengus Lyons; Lorcan Daly; Gearoid Keenan, Hubert Darcy (0-5, all frees); Brian Stack, John Gannon, Conor Payne; Brian Kelly (0-1), Cian McKeon (0-1), Jamie Fahy (0-4, all frees). Subs: Cathal Callinan (0-1) for Fahy (37), James Fetherstone for Keenan (37), Aidan Brogan for Gannon (43), Tom Butler for Payne (48), David Connaughton for Daly (52),
Sligo: Daniel Cafferkey; Eddie McGuinness, Luke Nicholson, Michael Gordon; Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch, Paul McNamara, Sean Power; Darragh Cummins (0-4), Paul Kilcoyne; Alan McLoughlin, Liam Gaughan (0-1), Stephen Connolly (0-1); Kyle Cawley, Paddy O’Connor (0-4), Jodie O’Reilly (1-1). Subs: Sean Carabine (0-1) for Connolly (37), Jason Perry (0-1) for McLoughlin (45), Nathan Mullen for McGuinness (55), Kevin Banks for O’Reilly (60), Michael Clarke for Perry (67, black card).
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)