Sligo are yet to get points on the board in their Allianz NHL Div 2b campaign following a defeat to Meath in rd 2 in Markievicz Park on Sunday.
owever, as manager Padraig Mannion pointed out after the game, his side also lost their two opening games last year and were runners up in the league final.
This weekend sees a break before Sligo are at home to Tyrone the weekend after.
Andy Kilcullen was the top scorer for the hosts, the Easkey man finishing with a nine point tally from the afternoon, while Meath’s Padraig O’Hanrahan was Seoirse Bulfin’s side’s top scorer with eleven frees and three from play.
Sligo, who hit 16 wides the previous weekend away to Letterkenny in Donegal, had 12 wides in this game, three behind their opponents, with both notching up their wide tally particularly in the second period.
Sligo started brightly, with All-Star Kilcullen threatening early on goal which was saved by Meath keeper Charlie Ennis in the opening minute and the Easkey man then converted a ’65 and another free as Meath were giving away a lot of fouls.
Kilcullen put Sligo four points in front, before O’Hanrahan won and converted his first free followed by a fine Nicholas Potterton effort before Kilcullen responded with his first from play on 12 minutes.
Two frees from O’Hanrahan was followed by an equalising score from Niall McLarnon as it was five points apiece on 17 minutes.
Down the other end, Conor Hannify was bounding down on goal, again the Meath keeper doing well. A good pass from Joe McHugh to Kilcullen saw him shrug off two defenders, the ball going out for a ’65 which he slotted over.
Sligo were in front again with Kilcullen putting them two ahead, O’Hanrahan adding another from a placed ball.
Sligo responded with a superb score from Thomas Cawley met with huge cheers from the support on 24 minutes.
O’Hanrahan added another free and Meath took the lead for the first time from their free-taker before a monstrous score from midfielder Pa Ryan, his first of three, saw them go into a two point lead.
Two more from O’Hanrahan saw Meath into a four-point lead, before a huge point from the lively Diarmuid Hannify from a free saw Sligo back to within three at the break, Meath leading by 0-12 to 0-9.
O’Hanrahan and Hannify twice traded frees following the resumption, a free on Sligo captain Kevin O’Kennedy converted by Kilcullen as it was back to a two point game.
Then, Sligo blasted into the lead, a wonder pass from Joe McHugh fed his Easkey teammate Thomas Cawley who slotted home on 45 minutes, Sligo in front by a point.
O’Hanrahan levelled matters again and the same player fed Martin Healy whose goal chance came off the crossbar on 56 minutes. The hardworking Ryan sent over another fine point from play on 59 minutes as Meath took the lead once more.
Points from O’Hanrahan and Healy extended the Meath advantage to three. They were reduced to 14 men when Kyle Donnelly was shown a straight red for a challenge on O’Kennedy on 62 minutes.
Kilcullen brought it back to a three point game from a free on 66 minutes which was to be Sligo’s last score, further points from Jack Regan, Ryan, and two from O’Hanrahan saw Meath finish with seven points to spare.
They play Tyrone in Markievicz Park on Sunday week.
SLIGO; Luke Comerford, Darragh Cawley, James Weir, Kevin O’Kennedy (C), Niall Feehily, Rory McHugh, Ronan Molloy, Niall Kilcullen, Fionn Connolly, Conor Hannify, Eddie O’Donoghue, Thomas Cawley, Diarmuid Hannify, Andy Kilcullen, Joe McHugh
Substitutes used; Liam O’Kelly-Lynch for O’Donoghue (71)
MEATH; Charlie Ennis (C), Stephen Morris, Adam O’Connor, Brendan McKeon, Kyle Donnelly, James Toher, James Kelly, Pa Ryan, Martin Healy, Simon Ennis, Nicholas Potterton, Niall McLarnon, Sean Quigley, Mikey Cole, Padraig O’Hanrahan
Substitutes used; Mickey Burke for O’Connor, Jack Regan (C) for Mikey Cole, Patrick Barnwell for Simon Ennis, Tom Shine for McLarnon, Joe Cole for Potterton.
REFEREE; Camon Flynn (Westmeath).