Sligo 0-18 Longford 0-16
Dom Corrigan's Sligo side powered back into All-Ireland SFC contention at Markievicz Park as they got the better of goal-shy Longford.
Dumped out of the Connacht championship by Leitrim and relegated from Division 1B, the Yeats men got their season back on track with a late points rally.
While Longford, who led 0-9 to 0-7 at the break, should have converted two glorious goal chances, Sligo steamrolled them in the final quarter as midfielder Eamon O'Hara tallied up five points and, together with his midfield partner Sean Davey, they gradually got the better of Longford duo Liam Keenan and Paul Barden.
The first of Longford’s goal misses came in the opening seconds as Trevor Smullen, back from suspension, barged his way through only for Philip Greene to deny the Longford wing-forward.
Greene repeated the trick at the feet of Paul Barden 20 minutes later and that parry came at a crucial time as the Leinster side led 0-5 to 0-3.
Although O’Hara had opened the scoring for Sligo, Longford soon raced into a 0-4 to 0-2 advantage with Barden (0-2), Padraig Davis and Jamesie Martin on target.
Mark Brehony and Longford’s Kevin Mulligan, who was making his championship debut, exchanged points at the end of the first quarter before a morale-boosting over from Smullen and three points from the tireless Barden handed Luke Dempsey’s charges into a 0-9 to 0-7 half-time buffer.
Those missed chances in front of goal would have preyed on Dempsey’s mind at the break, so too Sligo boss Corrigan, who kept his side ensconced in the dressing room for an extra five minutes at the interval.
That decision and the introduction of three substitutes up front, including Kenneth Sweeney, paid dividends for ex-Fermanagh manager Corrigan.
Davey narrowed the gap for the home side after only 20 seconds. Longford stirred themselves with three points from the boots of Martin, Barden and Brian Kavanagh, and at 0-12 to 0-9 they still looked good.
Spurred on by O’Hara, Sligo pegged it back to 0-14 apiece, and showing the greater will, landed late points from corner forward Dermot McTiernan, Brehony and Davey to pull through.