Leitrim win, Sligo draw, Donegal lose – reaction to NFL opening round

A dramatic injury-time penalty converted by Adrian Marren saw Sligo come from six points down to draw with Armagh in their National League opener yesterday.

It finished Sligo 1-14 Armagh 2-17 in Markievicz Park.

Here is Sligo boss Niall Carew giving his reaction to Gavin Cawley and Liam Maloney of the Sligo Weekender…

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney was left disappointed…

Elsewhere in Division Three, Sligo’s next opponents Tipperary beat Antrim, Louth shocked Laois, and Longford beat Offaly.

In Division One, Donegal fell to a narrow defeat to Kerry in Letterkenny on a scoreline of 2-17 to 1-17.

Michael Murphy got Donegal’s goal from a first half penalty.

Here’s Donegal’s Ryan McHugh speaking with Pauric Byrne, and Donegal manager Rory Gallagher and Kerry’s David Moran speaking with Pauric Hilferty…

Also in Division One at the weekend, Dublin beat Cavan, Tyrone overcame Roscommon and Monaghan beat Mayo.

In Division Two, Fermanagh were impressive winners away to Down, and in Division Four, Leitrim were 1-17 to 0-10 winners over Wicklow after a commanding performance in Aughrim.

Here’s Leitrim selector John O’Mahony with Ocean FM’s PJ Leddy…


There were also Division Four wins for Wexford and Waterford, while Westmeath were held to a draw at home by Carlow.




Allianz National Football League Division Two


Sligo 1-14

Armagh 2-11


Adrian Marren dramatically netted a controversial penalty with virtually the last kick of the game as Sligo came from six points down to force a draw with Armagh in front of a large crowd in Markievicz Park.

Kieran McGeeney’s side led by 2-10 to 0-10 with ten minutes left, and despite four points in a row from the Yeats men, Ethan Rafferty looked to have finally settled it for Armagh when he put them back into a three-point advantage with time almost up.

But Sligo substitute Brian Egan floated a ball into the Armagh area in the fifth minute of injury-time, and referee Patrick Neilan adjudged that Stephen Coen had been fouled inside, and had no hesitation in awarding the spot-kick.

Marren, who top-scored on the day with a personal tally of 1-6, had the composure and confidence to fire the ball to the net and earn his side an unlikely point.

Armagh claimed well-worked goals in each half – Ethan Rafferty netting the first on 22 minutes and the returning Jamie Clarke helping to tee up Mark Shields for the second with 20 minutes left.

Rafferty and the excellent Stefan Campbell stood out for Armagh in the opening period, as the Ulster side pressed Sligo high up the field and put pressure on Aidan Devaney’s short kickouts.

Points from Rafferty (2) and Ciaran Higgins got Armagh off the mark, but Sligo responded and went ahead for the only time in the game when Mark Breheny, Keelan Cawley, Niall Murphy and Marren all pointed in quick succession.

A quickfire 1-1 from Rafferty had Armagh back in the ascendancy, and they led by 1-5 to 0-7 at the break.

Sligo introduced Stephen Gilmartin to midfield at half-time, with Ross Donovan reverting to a more familiar corner-back position.

But Campbell was causing the home side all sorts of problems, and hit two points before linking up with substitute Clarke to set up the second goal, finished by Shields.

Marren and Adrian McIntyre responded at the other end, but Campbell and Rafferty pointed again before Sligo boss Niall Carew introduced attackers Kyle Cawley, Coen and Egan off the bench to try and find a way back.

All three were effective – with a superb score from Coen the standout contribution – before the late penalty decision gave Marren the opportunity to level it and left Armagh fans venting their frustration with a chorus of boos at the final whistle.


SLIGO: A Devaney; N Gaughan, K McDonnell, E McHugh; Keelan Cawley (0-1), N Ewing, G O’Kelly-Lynch; A McIntyre (0-1), R Donovan; C Davey, M Breheny (0-2, 2f), J Kelly; P O’Connor, A Marren (1-6, 1-0 pen, 3f), N Murphy (0-3).

Subs used: S Gilmartin for McHugh (ht), Kyle Cawley for Kelly (53), S Coen (0-1) for Breheny (55), Brian Egan for Davey (65), L Nicholson for Gaughan (black card 70+2).

ARMAGH: M McNiece; M Shields, C Vernon, A McKay; S Heffron, N Rowland, C Higgins (0-1); S Sheridan, B Crealey; A Duffy, C White, S Campbell (0-4); O O’Neill (0-1), E Rafferty (1-5, 4f), O McKeever.

Sub used: P Hughes for Higgins (12), K O’Hanlon for White (42), J Clarke for McKeever (48), N Grimley for Crealey (50), G McParland for O’Neill (67).

REF: P Neilan (Roscommon).