By Mike Fitzpatrick
Both these Div. 2 football sides simply had to win this game to stand a serious chance of reaching the playoffs. It seems that Kerry and Longford have two of those places sewn up, so the remaining two berths are really up for grabs among Offaly, Roscommon and the two sides on display here. Neither side has really scaled
the heights expected of them this season. Sligo opened their campaign with back to back defeats against Roscommon and Longford, and Celtics have suffered similar results in their games played to date.
Donie O’Sullivan’s Celtics side went under in this game Sunday at Gaelic Park despite possessing leads at important stages of the game. The tie opened with Kevin Madden hitting a couple of efforts over the bar for Celtics, and Eddie McCormack replying for Sligo. Celtics were the better side in the first half, and Madden and his teammate Kenny Cox continued their charge toward goal and hit another six points between them to go into the break leading their rivals by a scoreline of 8 points to 6.
The second half was all to play for as both sides seemed capable of pulling off the victory. Sligo had the right idea, however. They gambled in that they went for goal rather that attempt to shoot points over the bar. Eddie McCormack and Paul McCormack both hit three pointers to not only bring Sligo back into the game, but to deal them with a healthy lead at an important point in the game. Celtics hit back, registering efforts from Cox, Madden and Aidan Traynor, but the damage seemed to have been done. Sligo’s two-goal salvo proved to be the death knell for Celtic’s participation in this game, and perhaps also, this season. Sligo continued to hit efforts over the bar, with the two McCormacks playing some great football up front for Bosco Walsh’s men. Final points from Rory Boylan and Eddie McCormack gave Sligo the five point win, but most important, the boost up the table they so urgently required.
Celtics: Pat Donoghue, John Walsh, Noel Cronin, Liam Murray, Enda Lally, Mick Collins, Mark Kelly, Aidan Traynor (0-1), Derek McKenna, Kenny Cox (0-5), Daniel O’Sullivan, Sean McGuckian, Paul McElroy, Mick Crowley, Kevin Madden (0-7). Sub: Anthony Mernagh.
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Sligo: Dermot Fleming, John Cribben, Kieran Fleming, Shane Carney, Donal Cassidy, Mark Shanahan, Mark Doyle, Rory Boylan (0-1), Paul McCormack (1-0), Eddie McCormack (1-7), Stephen Healy (0-1), Noel Fitzgerald (0-2), Peter Brennnan, Enda Henry (0-1), Conor Healy. Subs: Ray Reynolds, Paul Bruin.