St Mary's Kiltoghert 0-6 Tourlestrane 0-8
A superb second-half comeback from Tourlestrane earned the men from Sligo a first Connacht final since 1982 when they overcame St Mary’s Kiltoghert in a dogged provincial semi-final at Avant Money Pairc Sean MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Despite being four points down at half-time, 0-6 to 0-2, Tourlestrane came good in the second half against a St Mary’s side that failed to score in the second period.
Liam Gaughan kicked three of the winners’ six second-half points.
Tourlestrane, who won a seventh successive Sligo SFC title last month, were aiming to reach a first Connacht decider since 1982.
To date, they had failed to translate their Sligo dominance to the provincial stage – last year's quarter-final defeat of London champions St Kiernan's was the south Sligo side's first win in Connacht since 2011 when they defeated Glencar-Manorhamilton of Leitrim.
St Mary's Kiltoghert, who defeated the aforementioned St Kiernan's in the recent quarter-final, were previously in a Connacht semi-final in 2013 where they conceded 5-15 when losing to St Brigid's of Roscommon.
The Leitrim champions were last provincial finalists in 1995.
Tourlestrane opened the scoring with a wonderful point by Liam Gaughan after 50 seconds, but this would prove their only score until the second minute of time added on.
In the half an hour in between those two Tourlestrane scores, the first-half was dominated by St Mary’s Kiltoghert, who countered smoothly and took an array of excellent points.
Paul Keaney’s converted '45’ brought wind-assisted St Mary’s Kiltoghert level after two minutes and he had kicked two more by the before reaching mid-way in the opening 30 minutes.
Keaney’s point from play in the 11th minute was superb – the score of the opening period – as the Leitrim side took control of the game.
Tourlestrane weren’t helped by a ponderous build-up and when they did carve shooting opportunities, they were off target.
St Mary’s landed two great points in the last five minutes of the first half through Cian Singleton and Diarmuid Kelleher to put some daylight between the sides.
Tourlestrane’s best move yielded them a point just before the break when John Francis Carr blasted over after John Kelly’s enterprising work.
With a four-point lead going into the second-half, 0-6 to 0-2, this game appeared to belong to St Mary’s.
Tourlestrane however were much better in the wind-assisted second half and took the game to their opponents.
Kenny Gavigan’s well-taken point sparked the comeback – this was the first of six points without reply from the winners in the second period.
Tourlestrane continued to eat into the deficit and two points frees from Liam Gaughan and a close-range flick from his brother, Gary, who turned Kenny Gavigan’s underhit point attempt into a score, had matters level by the 55th minute.
The big moment of the second-half, however, from a St Mary’s Kiltoghert perspective, was wing-back Conor Hackett’s goal chance that went narrowly wide after 42 minutes.
Tourlestrane went ahead for only the second time when Liam Gaughan scored with a cool finish with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Substitute Rian Kennedy added an insurance scorer in added time – from Niall Egan’s assist – to make it a two-point game, 0-8 to 0-6.
Tourlestrane, who had key defender Adrian McIntyre black-carded in the 57th minute, were almost caught in time added on but a brave block denied a goal shot from substitute Brian Farrell.
St Mary’s Kiltoghert: Sean Reynolds, Conor Farrell (j-c), Mark Diffley (0-1), Gavin Reynolds, Conor Hackett, Nicholas McWeeney (j-c), Adam Reynolds, Paul Keaney (0-3, 1 ‘45’, 1f), James McGrail, Daire Farrell, Diarmuid Kelleher (0-1), David O’Connell, Jack Casey, Oisin Bohan, Cian Singleton (0-1)
Subs used: Jack Barnes for Conor Hackett, 45; Brian Farrell for Jack Casey, 29
Tourlestrane: Adam Broe, John Paul Lang, Kevin O’Hara, Barry Walsh, Oisin Kennedy, Adrian McIntyre, Aiden Marren, John Francis Carr (0-1), Conan Marren, Kenny Gavigan (0-1), Cathal Henry, James Leonard, Gary Gaughan (c) (0-1), John Kelly, Liam Gaughan (0-4, 2f)
Subs used: Feidhlim O’Donnell for Kevin O’Hara, 13; Rian Kennedy (0-1) for Aiden Marren, 43; Niall Egan for John Kelly, 54; Cian Surlis for John Paul Lang, 29; Stephen Henry for James Leonard, 60+5
Referee: Liam Devenney