Super Sligo march on to U20 final

Photo: Kevin Barrins

This is a big weekend for Sligo’s footballers but, after this evening’s enthralling U20 All-Ireland semi-final win for the county over Kerry, it’s already guaranteed to be a great one.

Tomorrow’s Nestor Cup decider is, of course, important for the Yeats County but a first-ever Championship win over Kerry, guaranteeing Sligo only their second ever appearance in an All-Ireland final, surely has greater currency.

Those of us in Connacht who were felled by the Magpies’ progress thus far this year know full well what battling qualities this team possess. They needed all that and more at Pearse Stadium this evening, as they lost their inspirational captain Canice Mulligan to injury with fewer than ten minutes played.

Sligo struck the first significant blow in this tense, low-scoring encounter, when Ronan Niland found the net for the game’s only goal in the 12th minute. That score helped Sligo reach the break on level terms, having played against the wind in the first half.

The tension ratcheted up a few more notches on the resumption. Kerry briefly edged in front but the Westerners were back level when Dylan Walsh drove over a long-range free. Further points from Luke Marren (a free) and substitute Brian Byrne then saw Sligo take a two-point lead.

Kerry still had time to rescue the situation but although they saw plenty of ball in attack, their shooting was on the wayward side. William Shine, from a free, pared the lead back to the minimum but Sligo’s Daire O’Boyle responded with what proved to be the game’s final score, as Paul Henry’s team claimed a famous win over the Kingdom by 1-8 to 0-9.

The only other time that Sligo have ever contested an All-Ireland decider (aside from Junior where the county has two titles from two appearances) was the Minor final of 1968. They lost that one to Cork.

Next Saturday, however, Sligo’s U20s – who have already beaten Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and now Kerry in this campaign – will contest this year’s U20 All-Ireland final. That’s against Kildare – who came from behind to beat Down in this evening’s other penultimate round tie – and the final has been confirmed for Breffni Park, Cavan, with a 2.45pm throw-in.

There was a big, boisterous Sligo following in Salthill this evening and you’d imagine their ranks will be swelled further for next Saturday’s decider. As they should be too: this is the kind of team that every supporter would want to follow.

Congrats to Sligo’s U20s on their great win today and here’s hoping they now go on to finish the job next Saturday.

96 thoughts on “Super Sligo march on to U20 final

  1. They are such a great young team fair play to them showed kerry who’s boss!

    Hope they go on to win the whole thing now..

    It’s great for connaught is well that we have counties on the up makes it exciting unlike leinster & munster which is always boring and a walk through for kerry & Dubs .

    Ots good for the game I general!

  2. Final to be played in Breffni Park next Saturday at 2:45pm. Sligo fully deserved their win, very composed and controlling performance, Plenty of drama in the 2nd semi final and for their 2nd half display i think Kildare just about deserved the win.

    Elsewhere the Clifford brothers unlikely to be playing in the Munster senior final tomorrow after the sad passing of their mother Ellen Clifford.

  3. Fair play to Sligo keeping the Connacht flag flying.
    Great opportunity for Sligo to build a serious senior squad too Regardless of the Galway game they will get at least three more championship games, where in the old system they would have the summer off.

  4. @mayomagic heard some stuff but didn’t want to post on a forum but it’s sad news for sure thoughts with the family.

  5. Delighted for Sligo. I really hope they can win it out. I hope they have all their players fit and well for the final.

  6. @mayo88 mayo seniors have been doing just grand!

    Let’s not forget most wrote off us altogether ( inside &outside the county ) before the start of the league said we would not be competitive at all then we went out and won it give the guys a break sure..

    One bad game against the rossies and we are written off unreal !

    wait until we are back again in 2 weeks or so time…

  7. Please God Sligo can go on and win it now. That is an utterly amazing stat that they have only ever played in one final at any age group. Massive pressure on those young lads, especially after beating Ross, Mayo, Galway, and Kerry. But from what I’ve seen of them they have all the talent and composer to see it out. Would any of these lads be starting for the seniors tomorrow? Surely one or two.

  8. Terrific win for Sligo. I thought they showed great composure. No 24 a great sub.

  9. Well done Sligo. Fantastic achievement to beat the kingdom. Go and win it now.

  10. Delighted for Sligo, great performance and hope they beat Kildare now, a great bunch of young lads.

  11. I’m delighted for Sligo and Sligo people who are big GAA people living in Mayo.
    Bernie Kilcoyne, Aidan’s Dad never misses a Mayo match and would only get a very rare ‘big day’ with his native Sligo.
    There will be a massive Sligo crowd.
    Condolences to the Clifford family.

  12. Mayo U20s were lambasted after losing to this Sligo outfit but they’ve shown they’re as good as any team in the country, so well done lads and now go on and finish the job against Kildare. Good luck to your seniors as well today. Exciting times for the Sligo fans!

  13. What a win. Well done sligo but now go and win it out. Condolences to the Clifford family. RIP.

  14. .I totally agree with you Clare condolences to the Clifford family at this sad time well done Sligo and hopefully the Sligo seniors do the business today in Castlebar

  15. Significant number of this Sligo team are u20 again next year. In my opinion they have a strong team rather than too many individuals who are ready for senior just now which makes their progress all the more impressive.

    I think that it would be a mistake to rush them through to the senior ranks, but hopefully many of them will make the step up over the next few years. There is still a huge step required for most players to bridge this gap but most definitely Sligo are making great progress.

  16. Great to hear & hope Sligo go on and win it, they’re been starved of success and great chance to win a big one.
    Looking like they won’t be too long in Div 3 either the way things are going with the young guys.

  17. Clare, don’t recall anyone writing off Mayo before start of year? Even with all the injuries last year we were one the top teams.
    Same again this year, only very few teams have the big money and players to compete. We are lucky to be one of that handful.

  18. @Gizmobobs I heard loads of people saying we would not be competitive this year.

    yes definetly still one of the best teams I couldn’t understand why so many people wrote us off but I saw articles and people in general saying it .

    Yes we are very lucky that mayo come back nearly every year and perform.

  19. @Gizmobobs and one of those was paddy Andrews writing us off before the start of the league then he had to apologise after he saw that we were haha.

  20. I think Clare a big part of it is that for a decade now our farewell from the top flight keeps being written by those without much knowledge of:
    1) Age profile of the the 15/21 in that year.
    2) The strength of players on the fringes or coming through from underage.
    I believe we bring through strong underage players each year and these players are better in terms of quantity and quality than our underage track record would immediately indicate.
    I would have the view in terms of shooters, the underage players from Ryan O’Donoghue age down to current u17s is a better tranche than from Ryan’s age to the older players on the panel.
    But if one simply looks at underage results one could immediately jump to saying that we’re going to fall away.

  21. @JP your spot on there totally agree with you !

    Looking forward to when we’re back in 2 weeks feels like a whenow haha.

  22. @yew _tree just goes to show supporters and teams don’t see it as that important anymore the connaught leinster munster and ulster championships might be abandoned in a year or two.

  23. I agree but Galway don’t have a great support. They will turn up for an all Ireland final but generally don’t follow in big numbers.

  24. @yew_tree maybe they think they have it won already haha and that’s if Galway get to the all Ireland final :p ha

  25. Very poor Connacht Final Galway have no challenge from Sligo at all in the first half . Hopefully Sligo will up their game in the second half

  26. I would think the poor attendance is due to people picking the games they will attend this year due to the amount of games and the cost .Sligo with the wind didn’t want to kick long to midfield because of Galway’s size in this just can’t keep running the ball the length of the field

  27. Massive result for Sligo and they have earned the respect of all. They have a calm and relaxed manner, even when under pressure and they have oodles of talent and confidence. Believe in yourselves, Sligo. You are every bit as good as the results show and there is no reason why you can’t go and win the thing out.
    Well done Sligo and best of luck V. Kildare.

  28. There is not much of a contest and unfortunately the Munster final will probably be the same. That pass from John Daly for the first goal about the highlight so far.

    Neither team will take much positive from this game and seeing the difference in level between these 2 team`s it is hard to see Sligo or Westmeath pick up any result out of their 3 round robin games.

  29. For the league final I thought Galway had as much support as us, if not more. Attendance today is more a reflection of the gulf between the two teams. Not the most appealing fixture.

  30. Congratulations sligo
    Watching seniors now…small crowd
    Who will Lee give ‘man of the match’to
    He should just give it to Comer at half time
    Keep galway crowd happy

  31. Masterclass by Galway in putting the ball where its supposed to go. Over the bar

  32. @David – Relax, it is hardly a masterclass and more a gulf in class.

    We scored 3-23 against Sligo in 2021 and Roscommon score 0-23 against Sligo in 2022. It is just a one sided provincial championship game. Sligo showed plenty of fight but Galway had ran the bench by then.

  33. Don’t really know what Galway will get from that.never put under any sort of pressure.physically miles ahead of Sligo.Shane Walsh contributed very little and comer taking up strange positions at times .was Paul conroy dropped or rested.probably not showing their hand and unfortunately we could well see a few of these type of games in new format

  34. Fair play to the Sligo u20’s. Every now and again a group will come along in one of the so-called ‘weaker counties’, and that’s definitely the case with this team. 10 of the team that started the Connacht Final against Galway will be u20 next year. They have had to deal with the loss of important players through injury and illness in recent weeks but were strong enough as a team to pull through yesterday.
    But as someone living in Sligo, let me tell you that any idea this is the start of Sligo challenging the so-called ‘bigger teams’ in Connacht is premature. The minors coming up behind this squad unfortunately are nowhere along the same lines, and were well beaten by Roscommon on Friday last. The ease with which Galway won today shows that there is a large gulf at senior level. I fear for how Sligo will fare in the group stage of the Sam Maguire competition, I take no pleasure in predicting that they will suffer more heavy defeats starting with a home game against Kildare which may put them back a good deal after getting promoted in the league.

  35. @David not sure what game you were watching not a masterclass at all can’t judge Galway on that sligo never put up a fight and are a division 4 team v a division 1 team don’t get carried away haha

  36. Strong case for a seeded draw based on league for the championship.
    Surely the two best teams in Connacht should be in provincial final.
    Galway were never going to reveal too much but the potential is there

  37. The two provincial finals today could probably have been played in the same ground with the poor attendance’s.Munster final over as a contest after 18 minutes

  38. Ontheditch with the poor attendances at all 3 provincial finals so far, they are as good as cooked goose.
    The county board delegates from around the country may save them a while longer, as they generally older traditionalists.

    But the provincials will I’d imagine become the new FBD, with league becoming a combined league/championship styled structure.

    Only the top teams with the big money can realistically compete in modern era. The number of shock results in games that actually matter will become fewer and fewer.

  39. Sorry, 2 finals and the Leinster semis. About 33k in Croker for double header last week.

    Hard justify opening Croker for the Dubs with that sort of crowd when 4 teams involved.

  40. Makes a lot more sense to get on with the meaningful side of the championship.
    Yes Gizmobobs. Give the league more status,, it’s a great competition. All your seeding could be done on finishing places league …

  41. Sligo v Galway and Clare v Kerry was never going to have large attendances. Cork as poor as they are would bring a bigger crowd v Kerry and Kerry would have more supporters at the game to see them beating Cork.

    Galway v Mayo/Roscommon would have 20k plus at the final.

    No real surprise easy wins for Galway,Kerry either two All Ireland contenders against teams that will be lucky to finish 3rd in their groups. Cork lost to Clare hard to see them causing Mayo much of issue in the group stages likewise Louth, Round 1 v Kerry the winner will finish 1st and straight into the last 8.

  42. Feels like a huge waste of all our time between end of the league and start of the group stages.

  43. Looks like its kerry in 2 weeks but they won’t get that scoreline against us ha!

    Fair play though to the Clifford’s to togging out today considering everything.

  44. @1985 they are playing a weak clare team who have been really poor what league are they even in? We all knew this would be a hammering.

    I’m still pretty confident we can edge them in killarney mayo are in a whole different league to clare different ball game altogether!

  45. Sligo and. Clare now go forward as 2 seeds. Are they in rankings 4 to 8 in the country presently?
    I’ve no issues that they are still in the championship but the mind boggles at the seeding. Takes away from the competition if the seedings are not right

  46. Galway were clinical today and Kerry are ruthless in this game.

    We will have our work cut out for us in 2 week`s time if they are in this kind of form, i know the opposition is poor but they look to be clicking at the right time.

  47. @JKEL88 wouldn’t say Galway clinical they played a division 4 team who showed no fight at all still think mayo will be a big test for kerry in 2 weeks time and we can see where they are really at clare were terrible and limped over the line in their last 2 games to 2 very weak teams before today .

  48. Ontheditch – realistically, three out of the four second seeds are really fourth seeds and still not hectic at that. It all comes back to the broken provincial system.

  49. @Clare – Galway had 10 different scorers, kicked 1 wide in the first half and had a 88% shot conversion rate, no matter the opposition that is a clinical performance.

  50. Yes we are a better side than clare but we have to be realistic.I would generally be optimistic but there a lot of unanswered questions on where we are like who will play full back if mcbrien and brickenden are unavailable.Kerry were ruthless today on their goal chances and we do have a bad habit of giving away sloppy goals.our midfield malfunctioned majorly in our last game and that would be catastrophic against this Kerry attack.look at the forwards they brought on today.winning in Killarney is a big ask at the best of times

  51. @JKEL88 it does matter who the opposition is division 1 team playing a division 4 team always going to be a hammering so I wouldn’t call it cynical I’d call it to different clases of teams playing against each other all the way no way cynical mayo /dublin or kerry would have also hammered clare or sligo today .

  52. Kerry , champions elect imo . Anyone like me who was wondering about them getting into their championship flow , has had that answered today , doesnt matter a jot who they were playing if ya know what to look for . I sincerely hope im so wrong but unless our defensive structure ie giving away goal chances down the centre has improved during this period, kerry will absolutely crucify us .

  53. 1 Mayo
    2 Galway
    3 Roscommon
    4 Tyrone
    5 Kerry
    6 Monaghan
    7 Armagh
    8 Donegal

    @wj. On basis of league, teams 4 to 8 as second seeds or substitute Dublin Derry for 7 and 8

  54. Don’t get all the doom &gloom for us now everyone on here said kerry would hammer clare before today so much so that no one went for clare and wrote them off altogether before the game even started.

    2 weeks we will see how good kerry really are yes itll be tough but it won’t be walk over for them against us keep the faith as they say haha!

  55. Kerry were moving the ball really well close to goal in tight coverage by Clare defenders.

  56. Sorry 5 to 8. But much better reflection of the strength of teams than what we are going to get from provincials.
    The competition could have started shortly after league with reasonable breaks between games

  57. We’re not getting doomy or gloomy Clare. We will be traveling to Killarney with the intention of winning and topping our group.

    Clare scored 15 points from limited possession.
    Our defence has not the same porosity as that of Clare, though it does need fixing……..

    Might need to hitch the caravan up though, summer prices in Killarney

  58. I’ve a view that Aidan and Cillian cannot both start versus Kerry. They’ve wah too much pace and their full backline like to attack.
    I’d bring Cillian on.
    We must tog loads of pace and power.
    In my view we need a proper physical presence at six. N

  59. @JP yes that’s tough one to pick from maybe cillian tostart as he can get scores in when on top form.

    @OnTheDitch good to hear it probably do need your camper van alright ha.

  60. The reason I would start Aidan is that he can provide a ball winning presence at 14 and bring our other forwards into the game.
    Early on I don’t see Cillian being anywhere near as effective. He’ll struggle to get open.
    We need to bring something to the table that disrupts Kerry, all we really have is Aidan at 14.

  61. Interestingly i glimpsed a bit of the kerry forum where one of the posters posted about how they struggle with James Carr .

  62. @JP yes true aido might be the better option .

    @sean Burke did James carr get injured lately?

  63. No nobody expected Clare to win today but it’s the manner of Kerry’s goals that would concern me .who will pick up David Clifford.who will stop Sean o Shea pinging ballls into the full forward line.we don’t have lee keegan and Oisin Mullin to plug the gaps now.Kerry are favourites to win the all Ireland again and mayo will have to pull a big performance out to get a result in their back yard.we are probably good enough to make the last 4 but a bad result in next game could have a knock on effect

  64. Carr and aido if fit to start for me ,Ryan a little further out maybe even at 11 , cillian and Tommy to come in half way through the game .

    All a waste of time if we allow Kerry to ping too much ball into their ff line , I thought brosnan was as good as any of them today too , he enforced a lot of stuff out further in the second half .

  65. Sean O Shea is the instigator of Kerry’s incisive moves. We have to get the match up there.
    Killarney is tight enough pitch, which favours defenders. But we have a fair set of forwards ourselves. I expect two teams will give it a lash. Kerry will not entertain the thought of losing at home.
    Mayo will arrive in Killarney fresh as daisies and hopefully free of nigley injuries.
    It’s a big game, were back in the spotlight…

  66. Nice afternoon in Castlebar.. Great to see our All Ireland winners from 98 honoured, and then to win another Connacht title..
    PJ has said it was a mistake to start Shane Walsh who was sick this week.
    Impressed with our movement up top, good scoring all round and good championship game time for a lot of younger players plus a first Connacht medal for a few..
    Roll on Tyrone

  67. @Tuamstar thought Shane walsh looked very disinterested in the game don’t know what it was maybe it’s the thing of connaught /ulster/leinster and munster championships being irrelevant now no one seems to care about them anymore. Also Lee keegan and other commentators said it about Shane to maybe it was just him getting over being sick who knows really.

    Also very poor crowd as others have pointed out.

    Can’t really see where Galway are at as sligo were very very poor today. Tyrone will be a tough test for you guys.

  68. Solid and comfortable wins for Galway and Kerry today. Both were expected to win comfortably and did just that. While Clare were relegated from Div 2 I did expect a better fight from them. Kerry were clinical. Well done to the Clifford brothers and condolences to their family. A concern for Kerry was the injury to their full back. Connacht final was woefully disappointing but Galway were very efficient when they needed to be. Sligo were coming off the back of 8 straight wins and promotion from Div 4 but found it difficult to make any inroads into a well oiled Galway team. Reckon Kerry and Galway are 2 best teams in country at the moment and that is not based on todays game. Looking ahead I would say Galway have a tough round robin group and we have the second most difficult group. Poor and all as Sligo and Clare were today, they will still target possible wins in group stages, Sligo at home v Kildare and Clare v Donegal. Don’t really expect Mayo to get anything in Killarney, but hopefully can do what’s needed in the other games.

  69. JP I’ve been banging about not starting Aido and Cillian together. Pace is a real asset for us and we’ve got to make it count.

    I imagine (pure speculation), Mayo were playing one of Donegal, Monaghan, or Tyrone this weekend. It’s a no brainier for third and fourth seeds with time on their hands.

  70. Couldnt be arsed watching anything today.Alot depends on our injuries but i cant see us coming close to Kerry in Killarney.We can get to semis still though.Thats all that really matters.Its only 10 weeks until the whole thing is hurried off the stage and then away we go until January.GAA have killed the heartbeat if the Summer.I can hear the fucking back to school adds already!!!!

  71. Joyce says it was a mistake to start Shane Walsh because he was sick and did he not know he was sick.was Paul conroy sick as hardly start a sick player in a game you know you are going to win easily.anyway Galway aren’t our problem at the minute.onwards to Killarney.hopefully the injury situation will become clearer in the coming week

  72. Team and Match ups I would have against Kerry in Killarney

    Shane Ryan Colm Reape
    Graham O’Sullivan/ Dylan Casey Tommy Conroy
    Jason Foley Cillian O’Connor
    Tom O’Sullivan Ryan O’Donoghue
    Paul Murphy Matty Ruane
    Tadhg Morley Aidan O’Shea
    Gavin White Diarmuid O’Connor
    Jack Barry Jordan Flynn
    Diarmuid O’Connor Jack Carney
    Dara Moynihan Paddy Durcan
    Seán O’Shea Michael Plunkett/Conor Loftus
    Paudie Clifford Enda Hession
    Tony Brosnan Sam Callinan/Jack Coyne
    David Clifford David McBrien
    Paul Geaney Padraig O’Hora

  73. @Achill75 I’d agree with most of those choices but would have James Carr instead of cillian if fit

  74. @Achill75, I think you’ve a few mismatches that hurt us there. Jason Foley is a former sprinter, he’s all wrong for Cillian. I’d go Aidan at 14 and he has a height and power advantage over Foley.
    Gavin White will put Diarmuid on the back foot all day. Personally I’d task Fionn McDonagh with spoiling Gavin White for 50 mins and then get a sub in to do the same.
    Sean OShea is 6’2″ and well built, he cannot be marked these days by someone who is not physical and of the size needed.
    I’d be happy with whomever as long as they have the power to stop him up.

  75. I don’t think Flynn can start mid field in big championship games, there’s not enough pace to get up and down the pitch and he’s shown in the league how he can operate really well from wing forward. We have a problem with height at mid field which I think can only be solved with crowding the middle for long kick outs and Touhy will be on option late in games. Other than that we have to hope Ruane rediscovers his form which I think he will.

  76. I feel Aido is well suited of getting the better of Tadgh Morley at 6 and will be good at winning Reapes long kickouts.Cillian is a better scoring threat at 14.So who you putting on Sean O’Shea?
    Fionn is just not a good enough scoring threat to beat Kerry ,Diarmuid is well able to track Gavin White and still chip in with scores.Dont see Rochy or Mulligan dropping Loftus at 6 tho, so I think we are going to be under big pressure at the back.

  77. We will be total underdogs going into killarney but this is great for us we always play well when no one is expecting us to and we will be fresh off our feet after the break hopefully hession and other players are back from injury!

    Would Bob touhy start though wonder is he still a bit to young and still learning for this kind of test in killarney? He’s some exciting young player though!

    I think our midfield is stronger then kerrys tbh that was the only thing from their display today that looked a bit off .

    Yes kerry will want revenge for us beating them in castlebar but mayo will want a win and go for everything after the disappointing loss to the rossies still going mayo to edge it haha bring it on as they say !

  78. I hope Im not being too pessimistic but the truth is we don’t really know how good we are yet. Im not sure we have anything near a settled team and a lot of our lads are fairly young and inexperienced. And that’s nobody’s fault.
    Our success in the league was largely built on the back of a lot of work pre-season. I reckon we were much fitter than most other teams.
    This is championship stuff and Killarney will be a very big test. I hope we are able for it.

  79. Diehard – you can say that about every team. We don’t really know how well any of them are going yet. I think we have a settled team, it’s only injuries that have forced changes throughout the year.

  80. @Diehard I agree with @wide ball to.

    you can’t tell cause we have had a break we were fully deserved of our league win does not matter if we were fitter then other teams in league we can only play whats put in front of us!

    We do have a settled team and we are well capable of beating kerry in killarney just need the confidence and right mind set and I’ve no doubt we can beat any team on our day as Lee keegan himself said it not so long ago!

  81. The two provincial finals had exactly the outcome I expected-comfortable wins for Galway and Kerry, and I expect Dublin to win just a comfortably. This all clearly shows how farcical the seeding for the group stages is and it simply must be changed for next year. Condolences to David and Paudie and all the Clifford family on the sad passing of Eileen. It will be interesting to see what Mayo will turn up in Killarney-I hope it is not the one that lost to Roscommon. I know the opposition was poor, but Kerry were impressive and we will have to produce top form to get a positive result. Our defending so far really worries me and we will have to show a big improvement in that area or we will be in big trouble.

  82. Re the 20s big congrats to Sligo and very well done. They went about it the right way …no u20s involved or played senior …..they gave it 100% focus and it’s paid off. However in our case we appear to use the u20 as a development grade …..we played 5 or 6 of the squad in the the FBD and senior training games ….before they had proven themselves at the u20 level …I think this didn’t work as it only served to distract them from the u20 grade and not perform to their maximum as a result…I felt sorry for the u20 mgt they didn’t know from week to week if they would have the lads with the senior squad a available or not …they were already in a straight jacket before they started …they could never select their strongest side. If we are to take u20 serious and win a title then let lads concentrate on their own grade and prove themselves first at that grade …if we do I believe we have the talent to compete with Sligo next year , if we don’t and continue as this year I fear the worst again for these young lads

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