Leitrim overcame neighbours Sligo to progress to the Connacht football championship semi-final with a five-point win at slippery Sean Mac Diarmada Park in Carrick-on-Shannon.

The home team were completely outplayed for the vast majority of the first-half but a well-taken goal from Johnny Goldrick on the stroke of half-time kept them involved and a devastating final quarter, that yielded seven unanswered points, set Leitrim up for a semi-final clash with Galway.

Sligo dominated the opening exchanges but hit three points before Jonathon Davey opened the scoring with a ‘45’. Two more wides followed before Sligo’s accurate full-forward Mark Breheny pointed two frees.

Sean Davey watched his free come off the post and John McPartland hit Sligo’s sixth wide before Leitrim finally awoke and James Glancy and Michael Foley narrowed the gap to one.

Sligo increased their wide count by two before Breheny claimed his side’s fourth point at the second time of asking, after a driving run from Sean Davey. Jonathon Davey hit his second of the day when he pointed from play on 26 minutes and when Adrian Marren claimed his first two minutes later, it was looking good for the Yeats County.

Leitrim added their crucial goal and a point from Declan Maxwell before the break however, Goldrick beating Sligo ‘keeper Philip Green with a rasping shot from the edge of the area, to leave the sides level at the interval.

Sligo manager Dom Corrigan introduced Dermot McTernan for Gerry McGowan at the break in an effort to turn more of the ball going into the forward line into scores, but his side found the Leitrim defenders in determined mood in the second period, in particular full-back John McKeon who was getting to grips with Breheny.

The opening exchanges were evenly-matched, John McPartland firing Sligo back in front after just two minutes. Maxwell responded almost immediately before a huge long-range free from Sean Davey edged Sligo back on top.

Davey landed a very similar free soon after and in between Corrigan brought Dara McGarty and Karol O’Neill on for Brian Curran and David Durkin as Sligo took a two-point lead.

Amazingly this was to prove Sligo’s last score however, as Leitrim, cheered on by the majority of the 9,000-plus crowd, went from two down to five up in the space of fifteen minutes.

The introduction of Darren Duignan proved a particularly shrewd move by Leitrim manager Dessie Dolan and after Foley had reduced the gap to the minimum, Duignan pounced for the first of his two points to level affairs.

Substitute Padraig Doohan, Johnny Martyn and O’Neill of Sligo and Leitrim’s Shane Foley and Gary McGloskey all picked-up yellow cards as the tension started to rise while a third Foley free gave the home side the lead for the first time on 56 minutes.

It was a lead they were never to relinquish and Duignan added his second before Maxwell and a brace from James Glancy completed the scoring and send Sligo heading for the back-door once again.

Leitrim could even afford to lose a man with Shane Foley sent to the line with just minutes remaining, for a second bookable offence.

Scorers
Sligo: M  Breheny (0-3, 2f), J Davey (0-2, 1 ‘45’), S Davey (0-2), A Marren (0-1), J McPartland (0-1).
Leitrim: J Glancy (0-3), J Goldrick (1-0), Michael Foley (0-3, 3f), D Duignan (0-2), D Maxwell (0-3).