Lory Meagher Cup Final:
Fermanagh 3-16 Sligo 1-17
Brave Fermanagh held on in testing Croke Park circumstances to claim an emotional Lory Meagher Cup title.
Declan McGarry’s 2-3 proved crucial though Fermanagh achieved victory the hard way with just 12 men on the pitch at full-time.
Midfielder John Duffy and defenders David Teague and Karl Kehoe were all dismissed in the second-half of a tense affair.
But the Ernesiders still had five-points to spare having remarkably fallen seven points behind early on.
The incredible turnaround was the perfect tribute to their late colleague Shane Mulholland who passed away following a traffic accident in April.
He was remembered yesterday in emotional scenes after the win which made up for the final defeats of 2012 and 2014. Captain John McGarry dedicated the win to Mulholland and his family.
Declan McGarry’s early goals were crucial as Sligo soared into a 0-9 to 0-2 lead after 20 minutes.
The Connacht men were rampant and threatened to rout Fermanagh who were heavily punished by Sligo free-takers Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch and Keith Raymond.
Corrigan netted in the 22nd minute to give Fermanagh some hope and McGarry strikes in the 29th and 35th minutes hauled them into pole position at half-time with a 3-5 to 0-12 advantage.
Fermanagh capitalised on their momentum with six points in-a-row after the restart to take a commanding 3-11 to 0-12 lead.
Sligo did find a pulse midway through the second-half and Ryamond chipped in four more points, three from frees.
But the closest Sligo got to Fermanagh was two points. Brian McLaughlin’s five points were crucial to the Ulster men who pulled away and embossed their lead late on.
By then they were down to just a dozen players though it didn’t appear to affect them as they played like men inspired by their former colleague.
Scorers for Fermanagh: Declan McGarry 2-3 (0-1f, 0-1 65), Sean Corrigan 1-3, Brian McLaughlin 0-5, John Duffy 0-3 (0-1f), Ciaran Corrigan 0-1, John Paul McGarry 0-1
Scorers for Sligo: Keith Raymond 0-8 (6f), Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch 0-6 (0-3f), Ciaran Brennan 1-0, Gary Cadden 0-1, Gary Waldron 0-1, Neil Hyland 0-1
Fermanagh: Mark Curry; David Teague, Mathew Teague, Eoin Mahon; Karl Kehoe, Mark Slevin, Barrie Duffy; John Duffy, Daniel Teague; John Paul McGarry, Declan McGarry, Andrew Breslin; Sean Corrigan, Brian MacLaughlin, Ciaran Corrigan.
Subs: Fergus Bannon for Mahon (25), Dermot Curran for Danial Teague (71).
Sligo: Sean Hayes; Tom Brennan, Matthew Davey, Ronan Redmond; Ethan McGowan, Jamie Kenny, Aidan Morrison; Neil Hyland, Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch; Brian McMahon, Damien Fahy, Keith Raymond; Gary Cadden, Ciaran Brennan, Gary Waldron.
Subs: Peadar Leonard for Fahy (31), Fintan Keown for Redmond (39), Niall Cadden for G Cadden (57).
Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim).
Report: Paul Keane