Leitrim win first Connacht FBD League title

Leitrim 0-8 Sligo 0-5, Markievicz Park

Leitrim win first Connacht FBD League title

Leitrim 0-8 Sligo 0-5, Markievicz Park

History was made at Markievicz Park this afternoon as four points from the reliable boot of Emlyn Mulligan helped Leitrim win the Connacht FBD League title for the first time - securing their first piece of silverware since 1994 in the process.

While their victory over Sligo may not register as highly in the memory bank as the Connacht Championship 19 years ago, this win certainly shows the great strides being made by the joint management team of Barney Breen and George Dugdale.

With team captain Mulligan (0-2) and Raymond Cox finding their range, Leitrim moved into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead by the 20-minute mark.

Kevin Walsh's Sligo charges were struggling to come to terms with the industry and tenacity of a rejuvenated Leitrim, but they finally got their account up and running courtesy of fine scores from Brian Egan (free) and Mark Breheny, which brought the deficit down to the bare minimum.

At this point, it looked like last year's beaten Connacht finalists were about to spark into the life, but Leitrim rallied in the closing stages of the first half. Further points from Mulligan and half-back Danny Beck gave them a four-point advantage - 0-6 to 0-2 - at the break.

This put Leitrim in an excellent position to become FBD League champions for the first time, but thanks to the introduction of regular full-forward Adrian Marren, Sligo had an extra outlet in their somewhat subdued attack.

Strong defensive performances from Ciaran Egan and Paul Brennan were making life extremely difficult for Sligo, however, and it was the dependable Mulligan who opened the second half's scoring with a second successful '45' after 41 minutes.

This was throwing down the gauntlet to the hosts, who did respond positively with a point from play by lively corner forward Brian Egan and a placed ball effort from Marren in the 44th and 45th minutes respectively.

Try as they might though, Sligo simply could not force their way into the ascendancy. Having already had two periods of 21 minutes without notching a score, they had to wait a further 12 minutes for their fifth point of the contest - a second from substitute Marren.

However, Kildare native Cian Reynolds and Brian McDonald were on target for Leitrim either side of Marren's score. It was enough to give them a thoroughly deserved triumph, which sets things up quite nicely for the potential Connacht Championship meeting between the sides in the summer.

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