The 2017 All-Ireland football championship starts tonight with New York v Sligo, we have preview, team news and live score updates. Throw in at 8:15 pm Irish time.
It’s the most anticipated ‘opener’ in Championship history as Sligo head Stateside against a confident home side. Neither side are contenders for Sam Maguire! But this ‘ceremonial’ contest has taken on more meaning after New York were just one point short against Roscommon in 2016.
Roscommon were Division One opposition who reached the league semi-final and forced the Connacht Final to a replay. Sligo are a Division Three unit and their last championship trip abroad was a shock loss to London in 2013.
Justin O’Halloran’s New York feature prominent names. Danny Sutcliffe was an All-Star hurler with Dublin; Tom Cunniffe won five Connacht medals with Mayo; captain Gerard McCartan played for Down; Ross Wherity for Donegal; and vice-captain Vinny Cadden is a former Sligo keeper. New York have lost Brian Connor and Luke Loughlin through cruciate injuries while Johnny Glynn has returned to the Galway hurlers.
Niall Carew has criticised the timing of the game, a week after its traditional Mayo Bank Holiday fixture, with Kevin McDonnell, Luke Nicholson and Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch exam-tied and a hamstring injury has robbed the Yeats men of attacker Niall Murphy.
Aidan Devaney in goal; Keelan Cawley, Ross Donovan and Neil Ewing in defence; Adrian McIntyre in midfield; and attackers Adrian Marren, John Kelly and Kyle Cawley will be key to Sligo team who have trained on astro-turf facilities ahead of Gaelic Park.
Sligo are 2/5 favourites, New York 5/2 with the draw 9/1. The shock is a real probability and New York could celebrate a historic first Connacht championship win. Regardless, Sligo can rebound and have a good qualifier run. But they get a nervous nod to keep a fourth provincial title dream alive.
Verdict: Sligo in extra time
New York – Vinny Cadden; Tom Cunniffe, David Cunnane, Peter Witherow; Gerard McCartan, David Culhane, Keith Quinn; Brian Gallagher, Shane Hogan; Danny Sutcliffe, Conor McGraynor, Ross Wherity; Daniel McKenna, Shane O’Connor, Eugene McVerry.
Sligo – Aidan Devaney; Ross Donovan, Charlie Harrison, Eoin McHugh; Keelan Cawley, Brendan Egan, John Kelly; Cian Breheny, Adrian McIntyre; Neil Ewing, Mark Breheny, Kyle Cawley; Stephen Coen, Pat Hughes, Adrian Marren.