University of Limerick were foiled by the brilliance of IT Sligo goalkeeper Paddy O’Malley in their Sigerson Cup round one loss at Ballinode, Sligo.
Westport native O’Malley, who recently declared for Roscommon, produced a hat-trick of outstanding saves — the most notable being his thwarting of Keelan Sexton’s goalbound effort after 33 minutes.
Clare’s Sexton was unlucky that his 60th-minute goal opportunity from a close-range free came off the crossbar as UL desperately chased an equalising goal in the closing stages.
The losers, who only pointed twice from play in this low-scoring contest, were also made to regret nine wides.
Despite not scoring until the 24th minute — when Andrew McClean opened their account — IT Sligo led 0-3 to 0-2 at the break and were four points clear, 0-7 to 0-3, with 15 minutes of normal time left.
Sligo player Sean Carrabine bagged three points for the winners and Niall McGovern of Leitrim hit an excellent brace from play in the second half.
Scorers for IT Sligo: Sean Carrabine (0-3, 2 frees), Niall McGovern (0-2), Paddy O’Malley (free), Timmy Govorov, Andrew McClean (0-1 each)
Scorers for UL: Fionn McDonagh (1 free), Keelan Sexton (2 frees) (0-2 each), Joseph O’Connor (0-1)
IT SLIGO: P O’Malley, J Haran, D Phillips, T McSkean, J Allen, K McGloin, S Murphy, K McBrearty, L Molloy, L Jones, A McClean, S Carrabine, T Govorov, N McGovern, C Murray
Subs used: R Harkin for D Phillips, 20 (‘blood’ sub); R Harkin for J Allen, 47; J Clarke for T McSkean, 56; S McGrath for T Govorov, 60+2
UL: S Ryan, M Reidy, J Dawson, T Hoare, B Ó Beaglaoich, G White, P Maxwell, J O’Connor, H Bourke, F McDonagha, J Kennedy, E Lawless, K Sexton, F Flanagan, G Sheehan Sub used: P Maher for T Hoare, 51
Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)