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Sligo cruise past Clare

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mike Fitzpatrick

It was clear before a ball was even kicked that one or both of these sides would do their darndest to grab the victory here. Div. 2 football in New York has provided the Gaelic Park faithful with a number of great performances from teams such as Longford and last year’s relegated side, Roscommon. Sligo lost to the rampant Longford men a while back when they replayed their postponed game versus Noel Lennon’s men. While Clare were also defeated by Longford a couple of weeks back. Pat Scanlon’s Clare side have been hit by a number of defections from his team this year, and this has clearly had a negative effect upon the Bannermen.

The first half saw Sligo hit early points from Enda Henry, Rory Breen and Eddie McCormack, with Clare replying thanks to efforts from Aidan O’Rourke, Danny Lynch and Gerry Power. As the half wore on, it seemed evident that Clare were in with a chance of at least coming very close to providing their side with a much-needed victory. But whereas Sligo had a number of substitutes to call on, Clare were left with only a starting 15, and as the game continued, it became increasingly obvious that some players were tiring in the hot weather.

Leading by three points going into the halftime break, Sligo had by no means got the tie wrapped up. A spirited first-half display from Clare prevented Sligo from scoring too many, and Martin O’Connor in the Clare goal certainly kept Scanlan’s men in the hunt with some fine goalbound saves, in particular one effort from Rory Breen that looked certain to go over the line. Breen got revenge though minutes later when he fired in a shot past O’Connor to give his side a healthy lead. This came after efforts from McCormack that had given Sligo a lead they did not look like losing.

Sligo continued their onslaught upon the Clare defense, with Paul Bruin, Steven Healy and McCormack again all scoring points, and although Clare did manage to register a few from James Donnolly and Emmet McGauran, the final 15 minutes were all Sligo.

Bosco Walsh’s charges eventually cruised to a 10-point victory, which will do their playoff aspirations no harm at all. Clare look to be in trouble, and desperately need to pick up points if they are to avoid a drop from senior status next season.

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Sligo: Dermot Fleming, Mark Doyle, Ciaran Fleming, John McKenzie, Shane Carney, Paul Bruin (0-1), Donal Cassidy, Paul McCormack, Enda Henry (0-1), Peter Brennan, Steven Healy (0-3), Eddie McCormack (0-7), Conor Healy, Rory Breen (1-3), Mark O’Donnell Subs: Ray Reilly, Austin Welsh.

Clare: Martin O’Connor, Bobby Chambers, John Murtagh, PJ Colgan, Niall Dillane, Cathal O’Neill, Owen O’Loughlin, Danny Lynch (0-2), Gerry Power (0-1), Emmet McGauran (0-1), Noel Kelleher, Aidan O’Rourke (0-1), Danny Leddy, James Donnelly (0-3).

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