Roscommon 4-16 Sligo 2-13
Substitute Enda Smith sealed a famous win for Roscommon as they banished the nightmares of last year’s championship and reached the Connacht final at Sligo’s expense in Dr Hyde Park, writes Daragh Small.
Roscommon have now got three championship victories under their belt as they await the winners of Mayo and Galway in the final on July 10.
With a promising league campaign and wins over New York, Leitrim and now Sligo, Roscommon are primed for a chance to claim their first Connacht SFC since 2010.
They haven’t been in a Connacht final since 2011 and they were eight points in arrears at half-time as they struggled to come to terms with Pat Hughes and the Sligo full-forward line in the first-half.
But it was Adrian Marren and Kyle Cawley who found the net for Sligo, before Roscommon surged ahead in the second-half and Ciarain Murtagh scored two goals, after Senan Kilbride changed the game with his effort just after the break.
But it was still a tall order after Sligo led 2-8 to 0-6 at half-time, Conor Devaney hit the first point for Roscommon before Adrian Marren equalised. And he slotted a penalty in the 22nd minute when Sean Mullooly fouled Hughes in the area.
Ciarain Murtagh and David Keenan provided the reply but even after Marren got a black card in the 34th minute, Kyle Cawley got Sligo’s second goal.
They were in command at half-time but straight away they conceded, when Niall Daly sent in a delivery and Kilbride flicked it to the net.
The game turned completely from here and Mark Breheny’s three frees couldn’t keep a rampant Roscommon at bay.
Roscommon hit four points in a row after Breheny scored his first free, and when Hughes got his fourth point, Murtagh was on hand to score a goal from Fintan Cregg’s pass.
Murtagh scored a point to put Sligo in front and then he slotted a penalty as Roscommon began to move clear. Breheny provided the resistance but it was never enough and Enda Smith scored Roscommon’s fourth and final goal with one minute remaining.
Daniel Maye got a black card late on as Sligo ended the day with two black cards, and a nine-point defeat.
Scorers for Roscommon: C Murtagh 2-2 (1f, 1-0 pen), S Kilbride 1-0, D Keenan 0-3, F Cregg 0-1 (1f), C Devaney 0-3, J McManus 0-1, D Shine 0-2, G Claffey 0-1 (1 ’45), E Smith 0-2, D Smith 1-1
Scorers for Sligo: A Marren 1-3 (1-0 pen), P Hughes 0-5, Kyle Cawley 1-0, N Murphy 0-2, M Breheny 0-3 (0-3f)
Roscommon: G Claffey; S McDermott, S Mullooly, N McInerney; S Purcell (N Collins 40), J McManus, D Murray; N Daly, D Shine (C Compton 59); F Cregg (N Kilroy 69), C Murtagh, C Devaney; S Kilbride (D Smith 59), C Cregg (E Smith 50), D Keenan (J McDermott 70).
Sligo: A Devaney; D Maye (J Kelly 74), K McDonnell, E Flanagan; Keelan Cawley, A McIntyre, B Egan; N Murphy, N Gaughan (C Henry 63); N Ewing, M Breheny, C Harrison (L Henry 23); A Marren (C Breheny 35, black), P Hughes, Kyle Cawley (B Egan 59).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).