Walsh was particularly incensed by Fahy’s decision to award the home side a penalty in first-half injury-time. Roscommon were one point ahead when Michael Finneran’s delivery from 45 metres was gathered by Sligo goalkeeper Philip Greene, who was under pressure from full-forward Cathal Shine. As Greene made his way out from goal with possession, Fahy deemed that the custodian barged into Cathal Shine and awarded a penalty.
Donal Smith converted the kick to leave the home side 1-8 to 1-4 clear at the break, to the annoyance of Walsh. “I can’t understand where the man was coming from. For me, it was a big tackle coming in from a big, heavy full-forward. What is the goalkeeper supposed to do? Hold his ground or be prepared to be flattened over the line? The (penalty) decision was the changing of the whole game. Maybe a few other decisions around the middle were testing the patience of our lads. There seemed to be silly stuff going on. These guys have been putting their lives on hold for the past two months. All you want is proper decision-making.”
His Roscommon counterpart, John Evans, felt the referee had made the right call on the stroke of half-time. “I thought the referee was consistent. He pulled one for us for charging. Kevin Higgins was pulled for same thing in the second half. When it’s inside in the small square, the call shouldn’t be any different than it would be further out the field.”
Sligo had made the brighter start and when Stephen Coen picked out Adrian Marren from the left wing, the Sligo full-forward made no mistake from close range.
By the 22nd minute, points from Marren, Mark Breheny and Shane McManus left the visitors 1-4 to 0-4 ahead and in control.
But Michael Finneran gained a foothold for Roscommon around the middle and they dominated the remainder of the half.
An effort from play and a pointed free from Smith, and a fine score from rampaging centre-back Niall Daly levelled the match by the 27th minute before Cathal Cregg nudged the home side in front with a 35th minute free.
Roscommon had wind advantage and when Smith converted the controversial penalty, they had the cushion they needed. Four wides inside the opening ten minutes of the second half suggested that it wasn’t going to be Sligo’s day. Johnny Martyn and Mark Breheny did tag on some eye-catching scores but, despite not scoring for the last 15 minutes, the Rossies held on to claim an important victory.
ROSCOMMON: G Glaffey; S McDermott, N Carty, C Daly; D Ward, N Daly (0-1), N Collins; M Finneran, K Higgins (0-1); D Keenan, F Cregg, D O’Gara; D Smith (1-4, 2f), D Shine (0-1, 1f), C Cregg (0-3, 2f).
Subs: C Shine (0-1) for D Shine (18), J Connaughton for Ward (35), P Brogan for Connaughton (64), S Oates for Cregg (67), C Devaney for O’Gara (70).
SLIGO: P Greene; N Ewing, J Martyn (0-1), B Kennedy; M Quinn, R Donovan, B Curran; S Gilmartin, A McIntyre; B Egan, P Hughes, S McManus (0-1); S Coen (0-1), A Marren (1-2, 1f), M Breheny (0-3, 1f). Subs: K Cawley for Kennedy (30), F Quinn for Egan (46), E Mullen for McManus (61), J Clarke for Coen (69).
Referee: D Fahy (Longford).