Sligo wrapped up their Division 4 campaign with a deserved six-point home win over Leitrim.
Patrick O'Connor scored two goals for the winners in a game at a sun-kissed Markievicz Park that saw a red card for each team – Leitrim’s Keith Beirne was dismissed after 26 minutes and Sligo player Sean Carrabine was sent off in the 50th minute.
Because of results the previous day, with Tipperary and Cavan getting expected wins to secure promotion, this battle of the Connacht neighbours was a dead rubber.
The only thing at stake was third place in the standings and local bragging rights.
Sligo defeated Leitrim when the sides met in last year’s Allianz Football League and Tony McEntee’s men also had the edge over Leitrim in the counties’ historic clash indoors in January at the NUI Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome in Bekan.
The home side were again without forwards Niall Murphy and Pat Hughes, with a first AFL start for Conan Marren and Peter Laffey back in the team after injury.
Leitrim boss Andy Moran, who has overseen four wins from six Division Four games in his first year at the helm, reshuffled his attack – Riordan O’Rourke and Conor Cullen started in an attack where Beirne has been the talisman.
In a contest that was open and free-flowing, Leitrim got the game's opening score when Ryan O’Rourke pointed.
Sligo replied with a goal almost immediately when Patrick O’Connor netted from Keelan Cawley’s pass.
Patrick O’Connor goaled again seven minutes later – with Brian Egan providing the assist this time – to put Sligo five points ahead, 2-01 to 0-02.
Leitrim remained lively and Jack Heslin found the net in the 10th minute after impressive build-up play from Ryan O’Rourke.
The fourth three-pointer of the opening 15 minutes came when Beirne goaled from a fine solo effort.
Leitrim then went two points clear, 2-03 to 2-01, when Ryan O’Rourke, who was excellent, found the range.
It was level at 2-04 apiece when the game’s turning point came along – a straight red card for Leitrim centre-forward Beirne after an off-the-ball incident was brought to the attention of referee Seamus Mulhare.
There was only a point between the sides at half-time, with Sligo marginally ahead, 2-06 to 2-05.
Carrabine extended Sligo’s lead within two minutes of the restart but then a red card for Sligo’s influential midfielder left both sides at 14 players.
Leitrim were unable to claw back the deficit and, indeed, went down to 13 players because of a 49th-minute black card for Ciaran Cullen.
During a second period that the breeze-assisted Sligo dominated, Leitrim twice brought the deficit down to two points, with a point from substitute Shane Moran the best of Leitrim’s five second-half scores.
Veteran Emlyn Mulligan also came on and chipped in with two points for Leitrim.
Sligo pushed on in the closing stages and added four unanswered points, with substitute Nathan Rooney and David Quinn both finding the target with class finishes.
Sligo: Eamonn Kilgannon, David Phillips, Evan Lyons (0-01), Paul McNamara, Nathan Mullen, Darragh Cummins, Paul Kilcoyne, Sean Carrabine (0-04, 3f), Peter Laffey, Keelan Cawley (0-01), Conan Marren (0-01), David Quinn (0-02), Brian Egan (0-01, '45), Patrick O'Connor (2-01, 0-01m), Alan Reilly (0-02, 1f).
Subs: Nathan Rooney (0-02) for Brian Egan (ht), Conor Griffin (0-01) for Conan Marren (47), Luke Towey for Nathan Mullen (63), Ray Connolly for Peter Laffey (63), Gavin Gorman for Patrick O’Connor (68).
Leitrim: Darren Maxwell, Mark Diffley, Donal Casey (0-01), Conor Reynolds, Paddy Maguire, David Bruen, Jack Heslin (1-01), Pearce Dolan, Donal Wrynn, Riordan O’Rourke, Keith Beirne (1-02, 1f), Mark Plunkett, Ryan O’Rourke (0-02), Conor Cullen, Domhnaill Flynn.
Subs: Brendan Flynn for Darren Maxwell (ht), Ciaran Cullen (0-01) for Jack Heslin (44), Evan Sweeney for Riordan O’Rourke (46), Emlyn Mulligan (0-02, 1f) for Conor Cullen (46), Shane Moran (0-01) for Mark Diffley (63).
Referee: Seamus Mulhare (Laois).