Brave Sligo hurlers fall to Derry in league final

The dream of a third consecutive national hurling league for Sligo wasn’t to materialise in Ederney on Saturday as Derry ran out deserving winners of the Allianz Division 2B title in an entertaining league final, on a final scoreline of Derry 1-23 Sligo 2-15.

In the end, Derry’s greater experience and know-how at this level proved crucial but Sligo can take plenty of heart from their overall showing in this final.

Padraig Mannion’s side trailed by just a point at half-time (1-8 to 1-7) with Niall Feehily getting the Sligo goal five minutes before the interval.

However, Derry stepped on the gas after the restart and move seven points clear at one stage (1-17 to 1-10).

To Sligo’s credit, they rallied again and Rory McHugh’s superb solo goal was one of the game’s highlights, which breathed new life into Sligo’s challenge.

Sligo played most of this final without their injured talisman Gerard O’Kelly Lynch.

He was introduced in the second-half and had a chance to net a penalty in added time.

But his effort blazed over the bar rather than under, and Derry were home by five points – which also brings the prize of Division 2A hurling next season.

Before Saturday’s throw-in, there was a poignant minute’s silence at Ederney in memory of Sligo gaelic footballer Red Óg Murphy, who died on Friday at the age of 21.

Sligo team
Jimmy Gordon; Niall Kilcullen, Mark Hannify; Kevin O’Kennedy; Gavin Connolly, Rory McHugh (0-01) Niall Feehily (1-00); Finnian Cawley (0-01), Fionn Connolly; Joe McHugh (1-02), Rory Hannify (0-03), Kevin Gilmartin; Ruairi Brennan, Andy Kilcullen (0-06, 6f) Tomas Cawley. Subs: Tony O’Kelly Lynch for Kevin Gilmartin (20), Michael Munnely for Ruairi Brennan (ht), Patrick Foley for Fionn Connolly (44), Gerard O’Kelly Lynch (0-01) for Tomas Cawley (51), Eoin Comerford for Tony O’Kelly Lynch (70).

Allianz Hurling League finals
Division 2B
Derry 1-23 Sligo 2-15

Division 3B
Fermanagh 2-18 Longford 1-17