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Sligo ladies are crowned Connacht champions
It appeared when the proceedings of the first half concluded that Sligo, who had a lead of nine points at that stage, would go on to win easily even though they had the advantage of a strong breeze in the opening 30 minutes.
But the second half was a different story. Following the restart Roscommon upped their game several notches and pegged back Sligo to get on level terms by the 49th minute,
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The fat was now in the fire. But it was Sligo that showed the greatest resolve in the last eleven minutes to drive on for victory following Roscommon’s levelling goal by sub Nicole Tully.
Super sub Emma Hansberry, who scored the winning point against Leitrim in the Connacht semi final in Castlebar on June 24, again came to Sligo’s rescue when she fired over a point four minutes after Tully’s strike that gave her side a lead they never subsequently relinquished.
Meanwhile it was even pegging in the opening seven minutes with ine Gormley edging Sligo in front with the contest first score which was answered with a Laura Blundell Roscommon point from play.
Clare Colleran had the ball in the Roscommon net in the 9th minute but it was overruled for a ‘square’ ball infringement. Following that Sligo claimed a two point lead over the next three minutes when ine Gormley hit over her second point and Karen Maloney split the Roscommon posts with a 40 metre free conversion.
Emer Casey cut Sligo’s lead to the minimum when she blazed over a 13th minute Roscommon goal chance. Over the next six minutes points were whipped over by Karen Maloney and ine Gormley to put Sligo back in command.
However Emer Casey kept Roscommon in the hunt when she shot a 19th minute point. Sligo finished the half with a flourish when hitting an unanswered 1 4 and pulverising Roscommon with some sparkling football.
In this period Risn Colleary shot a spectacular goal in to the top of the Roscommon net for Sligo from 20 metres while Sinead McTiernan fired over a pair of points with Nicole Fowley also adding a minor score.
Meanwhile in this spell Roscommon ‘keeper Carol Manning made a super save, following which she was injured and had to be taken off on a stretcher, as Manning denied a goal bound Karen Maloney well hit effort after which at the break Sligo led by 1 9 to 0 3.
Within a minute and a half of the restart a rejuvenated Roscommon had reduced the deficit with Sligo by two points after full forward Martina Freyne scored from play and a free.
Elise Codd answered with a 32nd minute point for Sligo,
cards against humainty. During the next four minutes Roscommon closed the gap with Sligo to six points thanks to points from Emer Casey (play) and Natalie McHugh (free),
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Karen Maloney hit back with a 40th minute Sligo free conversion while two minutes later a closely marked Emma Hansberry put a goal chance narrowly wide. Roscommon upped their game once more and hit 2 1 without reply to get on level terms by the 49th minute,
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In this period Emer Casey shot a Roscommon point while Jennifer Higgins (somewhat fortuitously from 35 metres) and sub Nicole Tully in turn fired to the Sligo net.
Then Sligo, who had been on the back foot for most of the half, dug deep to pull the game out of the fire with Emma Hansberry putting over a 53rd minute point to ignite her side’s fight back and start the final push for victory.
Following that Hansberry and Player of the Match Bernice Byrne, who was put through by Hansberry, added a point a piece to give Sligo a lead of a goal. Before the end Emer Casey replied with a Roscommon point from what was a goal chance, which had it gone under would have forced a draw.
Sligo held out after that to claim the Gillespie’s Tubbercurry Connacht Intermediate Championship Cup (in association with the Gift of Life Donor card) which was presented to Sligo captain Etna Flanagan by Connacht Ladies Gaelic Football Association President, Kathleen Kane.
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