Sligo saw off the challenge of Donegal in Tullamore to claim the Michael Feery Cup on Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge finals day.
Sligo made the perfect start to proceedings and had raced into a 1-02 lead in the opening stages, but Donegal soon found their way back into the match and began putting some points on the board. Liam O’Doherty put the sides level with a deserved goal midway through the first half before they took the lead for the first time just moments later.
From there, it started to calm down a bit with enough points to keep the game ticking over as it headed towards half time.
However, just as it looked as though the game was winding down ahead of the break, two quickfire Sligo goals put the cat among the pigeons and put a seriously different complexion on the match going into the second half. Sligo 3-04 to Donegal 1-06 at the break.
Donegal, shellshocked after such a dramatic end to the first half, needed a goal early after the restart, and they got just that to narrow the score and stop Sligo from running away with it with such a large lead established just before the break.
Those early goals proved to make all the difference to this match, as the gap between that had been established between the two teams was insurmountable. Indeed, but the number of wides that added up for Sligo, the margin could have been even wider.
3-12 to 2-08 to Sligo the final score, and attention now turns to the final match of the day, the Jerome O’Leary decider between Antrim and Laois.
2018 is the third year of the successful Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge. The five divisional finals will take place on Saturday, June 30th at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park, Tullamore. The cups have been dedicated to the memory of Michael Hogan (24), John William Scott (14), William Robinson (11), Jerome O’Leary (10) and Michael Feery (40) – five of the victims from the fourteen people shot and killed on Bloody Sunday at Croke Park on November 21st, 1920.
The Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge represents a new departure in Hurling with the inclusion of teams from all 32 Counties as well as unique respect initiatives including a ‘Pre-Match Talk’ by the referee and the ‘Best and Fairest Award’ that will see referees after every match choose one player from each team selected on the basis of their skill level as well as the respect they showed to the playing rules, match officials and their fellow players.