Sligo Dethrone Leitrim in Connacht

Sligo were on a mission on Sunday when they made the trip to Castlebar to take on Leitrim in the Connacht Intermediate Championship Final. Leitrim had come out on top the last two years but Sligo Captain Noelle Gormley and Stephanie O’Reilly were on a mission to make sure it was not going to be three in a row for Leitrim.

AO6U0452 Int POM Stephanie O'Reilly

Stephanie O’Reilly played a key role in Sligo’s win as did ‘keeper Noelle Gormley who denied Leitrim goal after goal chance.

Besides hitting 2 – 5 of Sligo’s total, O’Reilly was involved in virtually all of Sligo’s attacking moves in the game, as well as proving a handful for the Leitrim defence.


Leitrim cause was not helped when fullback Mary Farrell was sent to the sin bin midway through the second half. Michelle Guckian was Leitrim’s leading scorer on the day and ended up as goalkeeper by the end of play.

Leitrim started brightly in the opening five minutes with Áine Tighe putting over two points, while Michelle Guckian getting one to put Leitrim three points up before Stephanie O’Reilly opened Sligo’s account with a 6th minute point, Denise McGrath was on the end off a good Sligo move to finish to the Leitrim net two minutes later, to put her side in front for the first time in the game.

Leitrim regained the lead after Áine Tighe, Michelle Heslin and Michelle Guckian hit a point each. Sligo levelled it again with points from Stephanie O’Reilly and a Ciara Gorman free.

Áine Tighe free conversion gave Leitrim the lead but Sligo hit 3 points on the bounce to lead over the next three minutes after Stephanie O’Reilly hit home a goal and kicked a point soon afterwards.

Both team exchanges continued over the next nine minutes with Leitrim regaining a 0 – 2 lead after Michelle Guckian put over a ‘45’ and a free while Roísín Fowley shot a goal.

Two goals for Sligo in two minutes by Sinead McTiernan and Ciara Gorman proved to be a turning point in this game as Sligo took the lead of Leitrim and never really looked back

Guckian hit back with a goal before half time but Sligo still led by 4 – 4 to 2 – 9 at halftime. After the restart Laura Ann Laffey increased Sligo advantage with a point in the 31st minute.

But Leitrim cut the gap to a point within the space of a minute after Guckian hit the back of the net and Michelle Heslin shot over. Sligo stretched their lead to 6 points by the 50th minute when Elaine O’Reilly put away a spot kick and Mary Ann O’Kennedy flicked home a goal with Stephanie O’Reilly adding a point

Leitrim had a chance to close the gap but Áine Tighe put a penalty over the bar and drove a second penalty wide. Ciara Gorman hit three frees and a point from play and O’Reilly also pointed.


Sligo: Noelle Gormley; Anne M. Coleman, Ruth Goodwin, Tara Doddy; Lauren Boles, Elise Codd, Jacqui Mulligan; Sinead McTiernan 1 – 0; Bernice Byrne; Laura Ann Laffey 0 – 1, Stephanie O’Reilly 2 – 5, Elaine O’Reilly 1 – 1(pen.); Denise McGrath 1 – 0, Ciara Gorman 0 – 5 (3fs), Emma Kevany. Subs: Mary Anne O’Kennedy 1 – 0 for Kevany (35); Lisa Casey for Doddy (41); Sarah Reynolds for Laffey (62).

Leitrim: Michelle Monaghan; Claire Beirne, Mary Farrell, Claire Owens; Áine Heslin 0 – 2, Lorraine Brennan, Melissa Hewitt; Ailish O’Dowd, Deirdre Ward 0 – 1; Michelle Heslin 0 – 3, Anna Conlan, Roísín McHugh; Roísín Fowley 1 – 0, Áine Tighe 0 – 4 (f &pen), Michelle Guckian 2 – 4. Subs: Dearbhaile Beirne for O’Dowd (HT); Sharon Kerrigan for C. Beirne (45); Bronagh Rooney for Farrell (54); Carla La Guen for Monaghan (58).

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