Despite being reduced to 14 men for the final 24 minutes, Garda College, Templemore proved too strong for IT Sligo in a lively Sigerson Cup tie at Templemore.
While neither side would be short-listed as potential winners of the competition, the Garda combination showed itself to be a talented outfit and could trouble some of the bigger guns in the latter stages. IT Sligo now seek to keep their interest alive via the losers section.
The sides traded scores in a lively and competitive first half at the end of which the Gardaí led by a point (0-7 to 0-6), Clare’s Dale Masterson having been their chief marksman with four points from play.
They still enjoyed a one-point advantage six minutes into the second half when forward Paul Mannion of Galway was sidelined for a second yellow card.
Despite their numerical disadvantage the Gardaí went three points clear by the end of the quarter thanks to scores from Jonathan Ryan (2) and Declan Meehan. But after Sligo goalkeeper Paddy O'Malley converted a 45, the westerners then hit the front nine minutes from the end when Donegal’s Jamie Brennan converted a penalty for a foul on Kyle Cawley. That score gave them a narrow 1-9 to 0-11 lead.
However, it was the host side who proved the stronger in the closing stages as Ryan pointed to level, followed by a brace of frees from Meehan and then, with three minutes to play, a poor kick-out presented Mayo’s Ronan Carolan with the opportunity to shoot a clinching foal for the garda training college.
It was a big win for with Dale Masterson was hugely impressive in the first half. They had strong performances also from Galway duo Jonathan Ryan and Paul Mannion as well as Tom Clarke (Mayo), Ciaran Russell (Clare) and captain, Cork’s Kieran Histon.
Sean Carrabine (Sligo) and Jamie Brennan (Donegal) were lively in the Sligo IT attack with Dean McGovern (Leitrim), Cormac Reape (Mayo) and Nathan Boyle (Donegal) also doing well.
Scorers for Gardaí: D Masterson (0-5), D Meehan (0-4,3fs), J Ryan (0-3), R Carolan (1-0), P Varley, K Cawley, (0-1 each) P Mannion (0-1f).
Scorers for IT Sligo: J Brennan (1-4,pen, 2fs), S Carrabine (0-2), P O Malley (0-1f), K McBrearty, N Boyle, T Govorov (0-1 each).
GARDA COLLEGE: P Shaw; R O Connor, S Nerney, K Histon; K Cawley, P Varley, C Russell; T Mullins, T Clarke; D Masterson, C Duggan, G Rodgers; P Mannion, J Ryan, D Meehan;
Subs: A Masterson for Mullins (37), R Carolan for Rodgers (41), G Casey for D Masterson (55); K Doherty for Clarke (58).
IT SLIGO: P O Malley; E McGrath, C Reape, J Haran; S McGrath, C McDonagh, N Boyle; D McGovern, J Bermingham; J O Reilly, J Brennan, A McLean; S Carrabine, K McBrearty, K Cawley.
Subs: T Gomorov for McDonagh (41), C Hennelly for S McGrath (48).
Referee: J Hickey (Carlow)