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23 May 2011: [published 09 May 2011] - Sligo Rovers 11-A-Side Astro League held a blitz over the weekend gone by to raise money for the Friends of Sligo General Hospital. Ten teams took part with the blitz getting underway on Friday evening. Nearly €1,500 was raised as a result of the blitz which was won by the Belfry who defeated Sligo Plumbing & Heating in the final. The teams were separated into three groups and the first group was of four teams – Gannon & McNamara Electrical Ltd., The Belfry, the G.S.S. and Connolly’s Bar. The first game saw Gannon & McNamara beat the G.S.S. 1-0 thanks to a goal from Gary Melly. Connolly’s drew 1-1 with the Belfry with Ciaran Rooney scoring for the former while Aidan McGowan scored for the latter. A Rory Guinan goal gave the G.S.S. a 1-0 win against the Belfry while Karl Hannon scored the games only goal in Connolly’s 1-0 win against Gannon & McNamara. Gannon & McNamara bounced back with a 2-0 win against the Belfry to top the group thanks to goals with Darren Kelly and Gerry O’Brien. Connolly’s finished second after they played out a goal-less draw with the G.S.S.
The second group was a three team group between Jackie’s Cutting Point, Sligo Plumbing & Heating and Fiddler’s Creek. First up saw Jackie’s Cutting Point against Fiddler’s Creek who were making a return to astro league action after a year of inactivity. The youthful legs of Jackie’s proved the difference as they won 2-0 thanks to goals from Brendan Canavan and a Jimmy Colreavy own goal. Jackie’s youth policy paid off in their second game against S.P.H. as they showed little signs of tiredness in their 1-1 draw. Aaron Nicholson gave S.P.H. the lead with Clive Brennan equalising for Jackie’s who qualified for the last eight. S.P.H. topped the group thanks to a 3-0 win against Fiddler’s Creek. Anthony Henneberry scored two with Michael Walsh getting the other.
The third group was also a three team group with Town & County, Zenith and Hargadon’s (Calry). Zenith proved to be the surprise packet as they topped the group with four points. Goals from Alex and Danny Ward gave them a 2-0 win against Town & County while they drew 1-1 with Hargadon’s (Calry). Aaron Murren gave them the lead with Chris Donaghy levelling for Hargadon’s (Calry). Town & County then beat Hargadon’s (Calry) 1-0 to go through to the last eight. Adam Armstrong got the games only goal.
That set up the quarter-finals. The first of these saw Gannon & McNamara beat Hargadon’s (Calry) 2-0 thanks to goals from Eric McMorrow and Graham Kelly. In what was an intriguing clash between the champions of the two astro leagues in Sligo S.P.H. were 1-0 winners against Town & County with Keith Farragher’s penalty separating the two sides. Next Zenith took on the Belfry who were a late call-up for the last eight. After a goal-less draw it was the Belfry who progresses as they won 5-4 on penalties. Jackie’s Cutting Point also won 5-4 in a shoot-out with Connolly’s Bar as their games also finished goal- less.
A late goal from Aidan McGowan continued the fairytale run of the Belfry as they defeated Gannon & McNamara 1-0. S.P.H. ended the run of Jackie’s Cutting Point with a 4-0 win with Shane Filan getting all four goals. That set- up the final between the surprise packet of the Belfry and the favourites S.P.H. Ryan Casey gave S.P.H. the lead and all seemed to be going to script until Conor Nally equalised for the Belfry with the last kick of the game. His goal was also the goal of the tournament. That took the final to penalties and in a story reminiscent to that of Denmark’s European Championship in 1992 the Belfry won 3-2 on penalties with McGowan getting the decisive spot kick.
Group 1 (Friday 6th May) Results: Gannon & McNamara Electrical Ltd. 1 – 0 G.S.S. Connolly’s Bar 1 – 1 The Belfry The Belfry 0 – 1 G.S.S. Gannon & McNamara Electrical Ltd. 0 – 1 Connolly’s Bar Gannon & McNamara Electrical Ltd. 2 – 0 The Belfry G.S.S. 0 – 0 Connolly’s Bar
Group 2 (Saturday 7th May) Results: Jackie’s Cutting Point 2 – 0 Fiddler’s Creek Sligo Plumbing & Heating 1 – 1 Jackie’s Cutting Point Fiddler’s Creek 0 – 3 Sligo Plumbing & Heating
Group 3 (Saturday 8th May) Results: Zenith 2 – 0 Town & County Hargadon’s (Calry) 1 – 1 Zenith Town & County 1 – 0 Hargadon’s (Calry)
Quarter-Final Results: Gannon & McNamara Electrical Ltd. 2 – 0 Hargadon’s (Calry) Town & County 0 – 1 Sligo Plumbing & Heating Zenith 0 – 0 The Belfry The Belfry won 5-4 on penalties Jackie’s Cutting Point 0 – 0 Connolly’s Bar Jackie’s Cutting Point won 5-4 on penalties
Semi-Final Results: Gannon & McNamara Electrical Ltd. 0 – 1 The Belfry Jackie’s Cutting Point 0 – 4 Sligo Plumbing & Heating
Final: Sligo Plumbing & Heating 1, The Belfry 1 The Belfry won 4-3 on penalties.
Top Scorer: Shane Filan (S.P.H.) Anthony Henneberry (S.P.H.), Aidan McGowan (The Belfry) – 2 Alex, Danny Ward, Aaron Murren (Zenith), Chris Donaghy (Hargadon’s), Adam Armstrong (Town & County), Michael Walsh, Keith Farragher, Ryan Casey (S.P.H.), Clive Brennan, Brendan Canavan (Jackie’s Cutting Point), Gary Melly, Darren Kelly, Gerry O’Brien, Graham Kelly, Eric McMorrow (Gannon & McNamara), Conor Nally (The Belfry), Rory Guinan (G.S.S.), Ciaran Rooney, Karl Hannon (Connolly’s) – 1