Tourlestrane 2-17 Coolera-Strandhill 0-09
Tourlestrane won a fourth successive Sligo Senior Football Championship with a comprehensive 14-point demolition of Coolera-Strandhill in an ultimately one-sided county final at Markievicz Park.
Gary Gaughan's first-half goal set up the south Sligo club for another fine result against a Coolera-Strandhill side that relied on Niall Murphy for seven of their nine points.
Tourlestrane, guided by former Sligo stars Eamonn O’Hara and Gerry McGowan, were looking for a fourth title in succession, having won the Owen B Hunt Cup in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Underdogs Coolera-Strandhill, in their first final since 2011 (when they also lost to Tourlestrane), had last won Sligo main’s prize in 2005. Their manager, John McPartland Jnr, captained the side that reached the county final eight years ago.
The champions, playing against a firm breeze in the first-half, went 0-03 to 0-00 ahead by the seventh minute, with one of these early points coming from flyer Liam Gaughan after his brother, Gary, robbed Coolera-Strandhill captain Kevin Banks.
Niall Murphy, the leading scorer in this year’s competition, emerged as Coolera-Strandhill’s talisman but his side opted for defensive tactics despite being backed by the elements.
Tourlestrane netted a decisive goal after 14 minutes – Gary Gaughan with a close-range finish from a Cian Surlis assist – to give them a five-point lead, 1-4 to 0-2.
Within a minute Tourlestrane had extended their lead to six points, 1-5 to 0-2, when Cathal Henry found the target from Liam Gaughan’s pass.
Coolera-Strandhill looked down and out but, inspired by Niall Murphy’s prowess, they scored three points without reply – one coming from Barry O’Mahony and two by Murphy.
Tourlestrane, who went 12 minutes without scoring, landed three points in the last five minutes of the first-half to be five up at the break, 1-8 to 0-6. Two of these points came from team captain James Leonard.
Niall Murphy landed his fifth point of the day from play – Coolera-Strandhill’s sixth – after 29 minutes.
Tourlestrane started the second-half impressively with fine scores from Oisin Kennedy, Liam Gaughan and Cathal Henry to lead 1-11 to 0-6 by the 37th minute.
The holders continued to control matters and were nine points ahead, 1-12 to 0-6, with 20 minutes of normal time left. Their 12th point came from first-half goalscorer Gary Gaughan.
John Kelly’s excellent point from play drew a big cheer from the delighted Tourlestrane fans who were then silenced by two good points for Coolera-Strandhill.
Niall Murphy converted a free for Coolera-Strandhill’s first score of the second-half after 45 minutes. Barry O’Mahony, the beaten finalists’ only other scorer, also pointed.
Murphy thought he had the ball in Tourlestrane’s net but the 'goal’ was chalked off due to a foul spotted by referee Conor Conway, who had a good game in what was his first Sligo SFC decider.
John Kelly added his third point of the second-half in the 58th minute to add further icing to Tourlestrane’s victory cake.
The winners wrapped things up with excellent points from substitute Conan Marren and Liam Gaughan, with the latter then shooting a goal in the fourth minute of time added on to confirm Tourlestrane’s excellence.
Coolera-Strandhill: Keelan Harte, Enda Mitchell, Gary Cawley, Mark Comerford, Sean Murphy, Conor McDonagh, Adam Higgins, Barry Doyle, Kevin Banks (c),Colm Parke, Keelan Cawley, Aaron O’Boyle, Barry O’Mahony (0-2), Karol O’Neil, Niall Murphy (0-7, 1f)
Subs used: David McGee for Aaron O’Boyle, 60
Tourlestrane: Adam Broe, Cian Surlis, John Francis Carr, Barry Walsh, Oisin Kennedy (0-1), Adrian McIntyre, Kevin O’Hara, Stephen Henry, Cathal Henry (0-4, 3f), Kenny Gavaghan, Johnny Kelly (0-3), James Leonard (c) (0-2), Gary Gaughan (1-1), Liam Gaughan (1-4), Alan Dunne (0-1)
Subs used: Pat Harte for Stephen Henry, 37; Conan Marren (0-1) for Alan Dunne, 41; Noel Gaughan for Kevin O’Hara, 43; Brian Egan for Cathal Henry, 59; Rian Kennedy for Gary Gaughan, 60+1
Referee: Conor Conway (St Mary’s)