In a game where both sides were guilty of wides galore, Astoria stole a win in a game that Sligo had plenty of opportunities of putting away.
Over the hour Sligo had at least 14 wides, a bunch of which were in scoring position. Astoria kept battling and they used a 1-2 flurry in the last four minutes to get the valuable win in the intense intermediate football division.
The first half was a real low scoring affair. In fact with 20 minutes gone the sides had just two points each.
There was intensity in the middle of the park, but as the sides got close to goal the shooting was a little suspect. Sligo had four scoring chances from frees that went for naught as three different talkers had misses. It was showing that they could build chances, and if they got their act together they would flourish.
After Paraic Clark and John Keaveney swapped scores -- both were excellent, Clark’s from wide on the right while Astoria had a three player move to create Keaveney’s -- Sligo put a scoring burst together.
They had the final three points of the half, with Aiden Elliott’s a class score from a very tight angle. It gave them a double score lead.
The low scoring element continued in the second half. By the 20th minute just two points had been added to the totals, and they were both on the Astoria side as Alan McDonagh and Robbie Moran contributed.
Sligo had six wides in this period from near and far. Astoria took advantage and was on level terms when a Moran free went over after Sean Kelly was fouled.
The boys from Queens went in front moments later when McDonagh set up Mark Dobbins for a score. It was a short-lived lead as Sligo came right back at them.
Immediately on the kickout, a five player move had the ball headed for the Astoria half. James Walsh was in possession on the left side of Pa Ryan’s goal and as the keeper advanced he flicked the ball across, Paraic Clark the easy task of punching to the net.
With time winding down all looked lost for Astoria, but they had other ideas. Brian Geraghty had a towering point before possession was again won by the side on the resulting kickout.
They worked the ball to McDonagh, who launched the laithroid to the square. Dobbins beat the keeper to the touch for a flicked goal, and Astoria was in front for the first time in 44 minutes.
Nester Allen fouled with a brilliant point of the left for insurance and despite a testing last minute, the Gaels had the win.
While Astoria had the victory they certainly lost the jersey war. The numbers they wore were completely out of sequence -- 29 at corner back, 4 at full forward, and 3 as a sub. Didn’t make much sense.
That being said, Pa Ryan did all that was asked of him. He was powerless on the goal. Matthew Galvin and Sean Kelly were excellent as advancing defenders and also shut down their opponents in the other direction. To keep Sligo to one score in the second half was tremendous even given the fact that Sligo hurt themselves with wides.
Brian Geraghty won a lot of ball in the middle and got stronger as the game went on. Robbie Moran complemented him. John Keaveney, Mark Dobbins for his scores and Alan McDonagh were prominent up front.
Sligo had good performances from Denis Kilkenny, Andy Kirwin, James Walsh and Aiden Elliott.
Astoria Gaels: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Alan Foley, 3 Dessie White, 4 Fergal Murphy, 5 Matthew Galvin, 6 Sean Kelly, 7 Mark Dobbins (1-1), 8 Robbie Moran (0-3), 9 Brian Geraghty (0-2), 10 Donal Sullivan, 11 Shane Sweeney, 12 John Keaveney (0-1), 13 Liam Farrell, 14 Alan McDonagh (0-1), 15 Nester Allen (0-1). Subs: James Dolan, Sam Yore, Derek McKenna.
Sligo: 1 Dermot Fleming, 2 Fergal Bannon, 3 Denis Kilkenny, 4 Paddy Brennan, 5 Paul Flynn, 6 Andy Kirwin, 7 Brendan Boyle, 8 Mark Reynolds, 9 James Clark, 10 Gearoid Flynn, 11 Trevor Boland (0-2), 12 Cormac Bannon, 13 James Walsh (0-1), 14 Paraic Clarke (1-2), 15 Aiden Elliott (0-1).
Man of the match: Brian Geraghty (Astoria Gaels).
Referee: Tommy Fahey.
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