Galway just about did enough in testing conditions throughout to see off the challenge of the students. Sligo IT held a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage at the break with Kenneth Sweeney and Galway man Danny Cummins doing all the damage.
Indeed the lead could have been far greater had Cummins’ goalbound shot not been diverted over the bar by his Claregalway clubmate Brian O’Donoghue five minutes before the break.
But with the gale force wind at their back after the resumption, Galway set about their task and last year’s minor star Maughan drew the Tribesmen level with a smart finish after a goalmouth scramble in the 32nd minute.
A free from Mark Leddy gave IT Sligo the lead again soon after before Fiontain O Curraoin and Tom Flynn put Galway on the road to victory in horrible conditions with well taken points. And the win was secured by the returning Niall Coleman, who fired over from range six minutes from time to give his side the win.
Scorers for Galway: S Maughan (1-2), C Halloran, T Flynn, F O Curraoin, N Coleman, P Conroy (0-1) each.
Scorers for IT Sligo: K Sweeney (0-3), D Cummins, S Ryder, P Garvey, M Leddy (0-1) each.
GALWAY: B O’Donoghue; K McGrath, K Kelly, D O’Neill; C Halloran, G Bradshaw, D O’Reilly; F O Curraoin, P Conroy; C Kenny, C Bane, M Boyle; A Murphy, JJ Greaney, S Maughan.
Subs: T Flynn for Boyle, 45; N Coleman for Bane, 45; G O’Donnell for Kenny, 50.
IT SLIGO: A Faherty; D Maye, K Kane, J Kelly; D Drake, D Geraghty, R Donovan; M Leddy, S Ryder; G Gaughan, P Garvey, D Gallagher; D Cummins, K Sweeney, S Henry.
Referee: J Glavey (Mayo).
KEVIN WALSH’S Sligo made a disappointing start to the new campaign as they were turned over by the students from NUI Galway in the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis.
A Jason Doherty goal in the opening half proved decisive as the Galway students made a winning start in dreadful conditions at the new Mayo venue.
Neil Douglas got NUIG off the mark with a point after five minutes, but moments before Sligo midfielder Brendan Egan should have goaled for Walsh’s charges but when one-on-one with Nathan King he blasted wide.
Stephen Coen drew the Yeats County level moments later, but Doherty ensured the students went in ahead when he goaled for John Maughan’s side. Douglas tagged on a free to increase the NUIG advantage before Pat Hughes pulled Sligo back to trail 1-3 to 0-2 at half-time with a point on the cusp of the break.
Points from Sligo’s Stephen Kilcoyne and Stephen Coen put just two points within the sides by the 38th minute.
But three consecutive points from Doherty, Stephen Wynne and Douglas gave NUIG victory.
Scorers for NUI Galway: J Doherty (1-2), C Griffin (0-1), N Douglas (0-2fs), S Wynne (0-1).
Scorers for Sligo: S Coen (0-2, 1f), P Hughes, S Kilcoyne (0-1) each.
NUI GALWAY: N King; L Healy, D Gavin, R Rochford; R Kiely, J Maloney, K Crowe; S Guing, S Moran; C Walsh, C Freeman, C Griffin; N Douglas, J Doherty, C Conroy.
Subs: D Newcombe for Walsh, h-t; D Wynne for Freeman, h-t; K Conlon for Kiely, h-t;
SLIGO: V Cadden; C Harrison, D Rooney, B Kennedy; J Martyn, S McManus, J Davey; E Mullen, B Egan; P Hughes, D Maye, V Frizzel; S Coen, A Marren, S Kilcoyne.
Subs: M Breheny for Davey, 52; K Cawley for Frizzel, 52; P McGovern for Egan, 54.
Referee: L Devenney (Mayo)