Walsh haunts Galway with surprise Sligo win
20:53, 09 Jun 2012
Galway 0-15 Sligo 2-14
Sligo stunned hosts Galway as Adrian Marren shot his side through to the Connacht SFC final at Pearse Stadium tonight.
Marren finished with 2-6, including a 55th minute penalty and a second goal three minutes from the end, with Galway failing to build on a 0-9 to 0-5 half-time lead.
The surprise result saw Sligo boss Kevin Walsh get one over on his native county and set up a final showdown with either Mayo or Leitrim.
The Tribesmen opened well with the wind behind them, Gary Sice and Marren trading points before Mark Hehir converted two frees to have them 0-3 to 0-1 to the good by the 12th minute.
The lively Paul Conroy got the better of his marker Johnny Martyn to win Hehir's second successful free. He did likewise two minutes later with Hehir slotting his third of the evening.
Sligo were boosted by the late inclusion of David Kelly in their starting line-up. he replaced Stephen Coen but saw little of the ball early on as Galway continued to press.
Sean Armstrong found his range to make it 0-5 to 0-1, but Sligo found some much-needed rhythm as Mark Breheny split the posts in the 20th minute after good build-up play involving Pat Hughes.
Two more pinpoint efforts from Marren and Alan Costello got it back to a one-point game, but Galway responded when Armstrong drew a foul and Sice kicked the resulting free.
Galway had the better of play coming up to half-time, the forwards profiting from some clever deliveries and Hehir landed a brace of frees to take his tally for the first half to 0-6.
The gap was down to four again after Marren sent over Sligo's fifth point from play. And the same player sparked a very good spell for the Yeats men at the start of the second half.
Despite the introduction of Michael Meehan, Sligo managed to hit a rich vein of scoring form as midfielder Shane McManus and Kelly strung together points to whittle the hosts' lead down to 0-9 to 0-8.
Galway briefly steadied themselves with a Conroy effort, however Marren ('45') and Costello helped Walsh's men get back on terms with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Worse followed for the home support when captain Finan Hanley gave away a penalty for a foul on Paul McGovern. Marren kept calm and after a considerable delay, he beat Galway goalkeeper Adrian Faherty with a measured finish in the bottom left corner of the net.
Galway manager Alan Mulholland threw on Padraic Joyce, hoping that the veteran forward would conjure up some magic for the men in maroon. But Joyce's introduction was negated by the sight of defender Hanley being substituted with a shoulder injury.
The Tribesmen stayed in the hunt with two more frees from the accurate Hehir and Sice, making it 1-10 to 0-12 with eight minutes to go. Kelly hit back for Sligo with an inspirational score from play.
Garreth Bradshaw broke from the rear in an attempt to inspire Galway and his run led to Conroy firing over their 13th point. But their comeback bid stalled as substitute Tony Taylor and McManus played in Pat Hughes for a timely Sligo point.
Full-forward Marren then made sure of the away victory by bulging the net for a second time, fielding a Costello ball and beating Faherty with a well-placed shot. He followed up with a point and Costello added his third and injury-time efforts from Meehan and Conroy were mere consolation for an off-colour Galway side.
GALWAY: A Faherty; K Kelly, F Hanley, K McGrath; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G O'Donnell; J Bergin, G Higgins; G Sice (0-3, 0-3f), D Burke, T Flynn; S Armstrong (0-1), P Conroy (0-3), M Hehir (0-7, 0-6f).
Subs used: M Meehan (0-1) for Flynn (43 mins), G Sweeney for Kelly (46), P Joyce for Burke (54), C Forde for Hanley (58).
SLIGO: P Greene; N Ewing, J Martyn, R Donovan; C Harrison, M Quinn, P McGovern; S McManus (0-1), E Mullen, A Costello (0-3, 0-1f), P Hughes (0-1), B Egan; M Breheny (0-1), A Marren (2-6, 1-0pen, 0-1 '45', 0-1f), D Kelly (0-2).
Subs used: T Taylor for Mullen (47 mins), D Maye for Hughes, J Davey for McGovern (both 70).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)