Updated: 06/02/17 : 06:04:51
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Karma comes a-calling 15 years late(r) in Sligo

By Eugene McGloin

THE BOY Willie Yeats did us proud in the world with his words about peace ''dropping slow'' in an isle around Sligo.

But the boy Adrian Marren did us even prouder when he guided home a 'grass-cutter' in the Markievicz Park yesterday afternoon, Sunday.

It was the fifth and final minute of added time at the end of the game.

Marren's daisy-cutter penalty kick, well almost, had earned the most unlikely draw between Sligo and Armagh since....well, since the last one.

Remember 2002. Croke Park and Dara McGarty fisted a late, late point to earn a draw and send Sligo into the last six of the All Ireland Senior Football Champjonship.

That was Sligo's best championship ranking of the 21st century still remains so.

But that draw in Croker isn't the point of this tale; karma came much kinder than that when it finally found the road and sat-navved south.

Karma? Just the poshest of posh phrases for come uppance.

Dying Minutes

You see in the dying minutes of that 2002 replay Sligo should have got a penalty which (probably) wudda sent Armagh packing, permanently.

Instead, the Orchard County went on to win their first -- and only -- senior All Ireland within the month.

Yesterday, at Markievicz Park Sligo were always chasing the game, their first Division Three tie of 2017.

They are far too good to be in Division Four but (often) struggle to stay in Division Three.

Division Two football, for Sligo anyway, remains what the late Seamus Brennan of Fianna Fáil wonderfully labelled ''senior hurling, lads.''

The Armagh man beside me said his side are too good to be in Division Three, they should be in Division Two. 

They certainly brought a large contingent of supporters southward with them to match that ambition. Fair play.


Beautiful Game

Times yesterday both sides looked like they'd hit what writers call 'the wall' when they chase their tail (tale?) like a yawing cat, endless circles.

Gaelic football was the original 'beautiful game' and sitting beside us in the stands in Sligo yesterday was one of its greatest ever exponents.

Mickey Kearns stayed quiet while some of the best exponents and highest rated prospects on both sides steered frees everywhere except between the posts.

He remains one of the Sligo team's greatest supporters, there game after game.

Badly Botched

The 'beautiful game' of Kearns era has been badly botched up; endless hand passes, recycled possession, back passes, time wasting -- all of these to tedium betimes.

Then karma came a-knocking and it didn't even phone ahead, no warning. 

Visitors in the crowd who'd been discussing bingo in Culloville and 'Cross' (Crossmaglen) an hour earlier suddenly found their number was up.

Roscommon referee Paddy Neilan had black carded three Sligo players.

He didn't look much like the sorta guy who'd betoken any boltholes to the team in black, nor did he.

The rest is history.....we got a settling of scores, literally, after a fifteen years wait.

Five Thousand

Karma has a nice sense of humour too -- the Armagh manager yesterday was Kieran McGeeney.

Five thousand days ago (yup), when Armagh scraped home in 2002 after 'the penalty that never was given,' McGeeney was Midas.

Yesterday, Stephen Coen was fouled with seconds left and Sligo got their Justice. 

The boy Yeats had warned us that the good stuff always come slowly, slowly.

Postscript: Was I the only one expecting public tributes yesterday to recently deceased senior and minor county stalwarts, Jimmy Killoran and Paddy Duggan.