Sligo 1-12 Antrim 1-10
Determined 14-man Sligo captured their first senior silverware since their 2007 Connacht triumph thanks to a late rally in this evening's Allianz NFL Division 4 final at Pearse Park in Longford.
Despite the 58th-minute dismissal of Sean Davey, following a challenge on Antrim's Tony Scullion, Sligo gained revenge for the Saffrons'
corresponding round-robin victory to take a hard-earned win.
Substitute Gary Gaughan put Kevin Walsh's charges in front after Antrim had held the eventual winners scoreless for a 26-minute spell, with Adrian Marren securing a two-point victory with his fifth point deep in injury-time.
In an opening quarter dominated by missed opportunities and strong defensive play, a hungry Sligo burst off the block thanks to a brace of early Stephen Coen scores, to hold a 0-2 to 0-1 lead after five minutes.
But despite Sligo's dominance of possession, Antrim were more clinical in front of target as a trio of scores from Michael and Tomas McCann and scorer-in-chief Paddy Cunningham saw them take a 0-4 to 0-2 lead midway through the opening half.
The initiative may have been with Liam Bradley's side at this juncture but Sligo pounced on some poor Antrim defending with Coen banging the ball to the net after 22 minutes following a fumble by Saffons goalkeeper Sean McGreevy.
Coen's effort edged Sligo one point clear but Ciaran Close steadied Antrim thanks to a 26th-minute goal, with further points from defender Loughrey and Cunningham giving the Ulstermen a 1-6 to 1-2 lead with six minutes to go before the interval.
However, Sligo rallied once more as four points either side of the half-time break saw them take command.
A brace of Adrian Marren points, coupled with efforts from Alan Costello and Sean Davey ensured the sides were level at 1-6 apiece at the break.
Although Sligo opened up a four point gap within nine minutes of the restart, the loss of Davey coupled with a strong comeback from Antrim saw Sligo on the rocks.
A series of scores from Cunningham and a Tomás McCann '45' levelled the tie as injury-time approached but Sligo were not to be denied.
A late yellow card for Cunningham coupled with a stern Sligo comeback helped the westerners take victory.
Scorers for Sligo: S Coen 1-3 (0-2f), A Marren 0-5 (0-1f), D Kelly, S Davey, A Costello, G Gaughan 0-1 each Scorers for Antrim: P Cunningham 0-5 (0-5f), C Close 1-0, J Loughrey, T McCann (0-2 '45') 0-2 each, M McCann 0-1
ANTRIM: S McGreevy; C Brady, A McLean, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Loughry; M McCann, A Gallagher; T McCann, K Brady, N McKeever; P Cunningham, D Edwards, C Close.
Subs used: M Dougan for Edwards (37); B Hasson for Gallagher (43-yellow); D O'Hagan for Loughrey (Blood); S Burke for McKeever (51); M Pollock for Scullion (Blood); S McVeigh for Cunningham
SLIGO: P Greene; C Harrison, N McGuire, R Donavan; M MacNamara, N Ewing, J Davey; E Mullen, T Taylor; S Stenson, A Costello, S Davey; D Kelly, S Coen, A Marren.
Subs used: E O'Hara for Stenson (32); G Gaughan for Costello (70)
Referee: Michael McGann (Clare)