Underdogs Leitrim pull off Connacht upset

Sligo 0-10 Leitrim 1-10

Sligo 0-10 Leitrim 1-10

Last year’s beaten finalists Sligo were knocked out of the 2011 Connacht Championship by a fired-up Leitrim side.

In what was the result of the Championship to date, a second half goal from newcomer Conor Beirne (1-03) proved the difference.

Mickey Moran’s men made the early running at Markievicz Park, boosting their confidence with some well-taken scores from Paul Brennan, Wayne McKeon and the fit-again Emlyn Mulligan.

In what was a fast-paced, hard-hitting contest, Championship debutant Francis Quinn opened Sligo's account and free-taker Adrian Marren chipped in with some good scores.

But midfielders Tomas Beirne and Daniel Lowe, who won plenty of breaking balls, helped Leitrim maintain their lead which stood at 0-08 to 0-05 by half-time.

Tony Taylor landed the final point of the half for Sligo, but successive efforts from Conor Beirne and Adrian Croal before that gave the visitors a three-point buffer for the break.

Marren accounted for most of Sligo’s scores and the introductions of Mark Breheny and Sean Davey saw the hosts find some form early in the second half.

Two points from Breheny cut the gap to 0-08 to 0-07 and the sides were level when Marren pointed a 52nd minute free.

However, Leitrim full-forward Conor Beirne responded with an inspirational point and then came his goal. A quick ball in from captain James Glancy was gathered by Beirne, one of seven SFC debutants in the Leitrim starting line-up, and he tucked a neat finish past goalkeeper Philip Greene for the only goal of the contest.

It was a hugely important score for the underdogs, who were gunning for their first Championship win over Sligo since 2008. Leading by 1-09 to 0-08, the finish line was in their sights.

Sligo replied through Stephen Coen but Kevin Walsh’s charges just did not seem to have it in them to overhaul the visitors.

They had their centre-back Brian Curran dismissed and then in injury-time, Mulligan and Sligo veteran Eamonn O’Hara saw red as the game ended in an ill-disciplined manner.

SLIGO: P Greene; C Harrison, R Donovan, N Ewing; P McGovern, B Curran, D Rooney; S Gilmartin, T Taylor (0-01); A Costello, E O'Hara, F Quinn (0-01); S Coen (0-01), K Sweeney, A Marren (0-04, 0-02f).

Subs used: S Davey for Gilmartin (28 mins), M Breheny (0-02, 0-01f) for Sweeney (35), D Maye (0-01) for Quinn (62), B Egan for Costello (66), K Cawley for Breheny (70).

LEITRIM: C McCrann; D Reynolds, R Gallagher, P Maguire; B Prior, G Reynolds, W McKeon (0-01); T Beirne (0-01), D Lowe; P Brennan (0-01), E Mulligan (0-02, 0-02f), R Lowe; A Croal (0-01), C Beirne (1-03, 0-01f), J Glancy (0-01).

Subs used: B McDonald for Brennan (56 mins), D Sweeney for Lowe (57).

Referee: Joe Curley (Meath).

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