Roscommon produced a strong second-half performance to ensure Anthony Cunningham’s tenure in charge got off to a winning start at Dr Hyde Park.
The home side trailed by four points at the break but 1-4 without reply in the opening 15 minutes of the second half erected a match-winning platform.
Niall Murphy was excellent for the visitors, helping himself to 1-8 over the 70 minutes, but Roscommon’s greater spread of scorers, 11 overall, set up a fifth final in succession against Galway on Sunday next.
“You’d always be happy with a win but it’s a work in progress. There’s a lot of tidying up from our point of view. There were a lot of unforced errors and we’ll be looking at that strenuously during the week,” vowed Cunningham. Shane Killoran’s 16th-minute goal helped the Rossies into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead but Sligo, inspired by Murphy, hit an unanswered 1-7 to turn the match on its head. The Coolera/Strandhill forward grabbed the goal from the penalty spot when Patrick O’Connor was upended after a poor kickout from Darren O’Malley.
But points on the resumption from Ronan Daly, Donie Smith, Niall Kilroy and Caoileann Fitzmaurice settled Roscommon, who had a strong wind at their backs, and when Enda Smith’s fisted effort was turned into the net by a Sligo defender in the 49th minute, the Rossies were soon preparing for another final.
We switched off, and that would be a concern. At any level, you can’t switch off to that extent, no matter where you’re playing. On the positive side, we scored feely and we scored well, and we worked very, very hard,” summed up Cunningham.
E Smith (1-3, 0-1 free), S Killoran (1-1), D Smith (0-3, 0-1 free), C Compton (0-3, 0-1 free), N Kilroy (0-2), C Cregg (0-1 free), C Daly (0-1), C Lennon (0-1 free), R Daly (0-1), C Fitzmaurice (0-1), N Daly (0-1).
N Murphy (1-8, 1-0 penalty, 0-4 frees), L Towey (0-3), S Carrabine (0-2 frees), P Hughes (0-2 frees), P Kilcoyne (0-1).
D O’Malley; G Patterson, S Mullooly, C Daly; C Hussey, N Daly, R Daly; T O’Rourke, C Fitzmaurice; S Killoran, E Smith, N Kilroy; D Smith, C Lennon, C Cregg.
D Pettit for Mullooly (28), H Darcy for Lennon (53), A Lyons for Cregg (55), E McGrath for Patterson (57), C Compton for Kilroy (61).
A Devaney; N Mullen, P Laffey, JF Carr; K Cawley, P McNamara, G O’Kelly-Lynch; P Kilcoyne, D Cummins; S Carrabine, P O’Connor, L Towey; B McGowan, D Quinn, N Murphy.
A McIntyre for Cummins (44), P Hughes for Quinn (46), A Marren for McGowan (58), L Nicholson for Mullen (59), A McLaughlin for Towey (65).
J Henry (Mayo).