This Sunday, October 5th, Sligo face Loughrea at Hamilton Park with a 3pm kickoff. Sligo will be looking to build on their 100% record with victory against a Loughrea side searching for their first in of the season. However results donâ€™t always tell the full story as Loughrea have lost both their games by narrow margins with a one point defeat by Westport and a 3 point defeat at home to Corinithians. Sligo hope to be at full strength as they will want to put in a commanding performance. All supporters are urged to attend and get behind the team.
Monthly Archive for September, 2008
Sligo U20s will begin their season this Saturday, October 4th, when they take part in a ten a side tournament in Tuam. The bus for this pre-season tournament leaves the Garda Barracks at 10am on Saturday. This tournament will be important preparation for the upcoming U20s League which will see the side play 12 games, with their opening game on October 25th. Any interested and eligible players are urged to contact coach Roy Cooper on 0879332448.
Sligo U18s are also back in training and training is scheduled to take place on Sunday mornings at 12.45 at the club. Again any interested players are urged to attend.
Sligo 13 â€“ Ballina 6
Sligoâ€™s recorded a gritty win over local rivals Ballina in a dour, hard-fought encounter at Hamilton Park last Saturday, September 27th. Following Sligoâ€™s impressive opening day victory away to Buccaneers, hopes were high amongst the large home crowd for a similar display against a Ballina team who also had an opening day away win to their name. Sligo made three changes from the squad for the Buccaneers game, hit by the late withdrawal of influential vice-captain David Greene, who failed a pre-match fitness test and who was replaced in the back-row by Jamie Bowes. Andrew Feeney and Joe Sweeney were also recalled to the squad with both on substitute duty. Sligo lost last years corresponding fixture by 6-3 and a similar close encounter was expected.
Sligo began brightly and some early attacks asked questions of the Ballina defence. A good break by lightening fast winger, David Gerrity, led to a Ballina infringement for offside and an early Sligo penalty. Fullback Kakaber Machitidze, who was faultless last week with a 100% display from the boot, took the kick but in a stiff breeze his effort dragged wide. Sligo continued to press and with Sligoâ€™s set pieces again looking solid, they took the game to Ballina but despite their efforts were unable to create any scoring opportunities. The away side made their first foray into Sligo territory on ten minutes when they forced a line-out only five metres out, however Sligoâ€™s tight defence drove them back. Ballina retained possession and an excellent break down the right touchline by their backline saw Sligo winger, Nick Reynolds, make an important tackle and force his opposing number into touch. From this line-out Sligo regrouped and an angled kick from centre Gavin Foley pushed Ballina back to their own 5m line. Sligoâ€™s lineout dominance continued when they forced a Ballina infringement and were rewarded with a penalty 5m out. This was ambitiously kicked to the corner as they sought the games opening try. The lineout was won, but the Sligo drive was held up by a committed Ballina defence. A knock on saw Sligoâ€™s frustrations spill over and a brief interchange between Sligo prop Adrian McHale and Ballinaâ€™s Paul Neary saw both men sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
Sligo took the game to Ballina upfront and their dominance in the tight led to a series of attacking scrums deep inside the Ballina 22m. The rain began to engulf Hamilton Park halfway through the half as the Sligo pack turned the screw on their opposing eight. On their third scrum on the Ballina 5m line, Sligo tried to spread it wide but a handling error saw the ball go loose, but luckily it fell to fullback Machitidze whose quick thinking saw him pop over an opportunist drop goal from 15m out to hand Sligo a deserved 3-0 lead. Ballina were handed their first points scoring opportunity straight from the restart when a Sligo mistake led to a Ballina penalty in front of the posts. However out half Cory Brown let Sligo off the hook, pulling his kick wide. He had a chance to atone for his error minutes later when Sligo conceded another penalty but this time his gallant effort from 40m out again fell just short. From the drop out Sligo slowed Ballinaâ€™s ball, and some illegal use of the boot from the frustrated Ballina hooker, Richard Kelly, saw him sent to the bin. Sligoâ€™s lineout which was completely dominant in this half was again called into action from the resulting penalty and Ballina could only stop them illegally and conceded a penalty within kicking range. Machitidze stepped up and struck his kick sweetly between the posts to extend Sligoâ€™s lead to 6-0.
The final ten minutes of the half saw Ballina begin to get a foothold in the game, as they tried to open up the game with out half Brown becoming more influential and a number of his impressive breaks led to the Sligo defence becoming severely tested.Â One of these breaks led to another penalty for the away side but again they couldnâ€™t convert. Ballina tried to penetrate the Sligo tryline but some huge hits and hard work drove them back, with captain Ross Mannion leading by example with some fine defensive work. In injury time Ballina again pressed but a relieving clearance kick moved possession back in to the Ballina half, and a brave chargedown by Gerrity saw Sligo out half Paddy Pearson hack on and turn defence into attack. Retaining the ball, Sligo drove forward in numbers with James Wilson and Jamie Bowes making vital yards. Sligo suddenly added width when Pearson released Gavin Foley, whose sweet flick pass found Fifita loitering with intent out wide on the 22 and the powerful Tongan charged at the line, breaking three tackles as he crashed over for a vital try. Machitidze added the extras and Sligo grabbed a 13-0 halftime lead.
Ballina who would surely have felt aggrieved conceding a score against the run of play, were dealt a further blow when the superb Brown was unable to continue after the break due to a nasty looking hand injury, This led to a backline reshuffle for the away side with substitute James Cawley joining the fray. However Ballina started the second half showing no signs of any discontent when forcing an early penalty but were again disappointed when the kick dragged wide. The first ten minutes of the half were frantic and error strewn with both sides creating little. Ballina finally opened their account on 57 minutes when a Sligo infringement led to a penalty 22m out and fullback Andrew Moynihan slotted over to make it 13-3. Sligo looked distracted and further ill discipline saw them hand Moynihan another kickable opportunity, and he made no mistake this time with another three points to leave only a converted try between the teams. It was all Ballina now, and a penalty kicked to the corner saw them drive at the line, and a number of phases saw Sligoâ€™s organised defence again called into action. This concerted pressure ended when Moynihan attempted an ambitious drop goal which came up short as Sligo began to grimly try to hold on.
As the game entered the last ten minutes, the away side continued to attack and urged on by their travelling support forced Sligoâ€™s Nick Reynolds to take an excellent mark inside his own 22m. His kick however did not relieve the pressure and a six-phase attack saw Ballina again drive forward and an incisive break by their winger Simon Wade was only stopped by a last-gasp tackle by Pearson. Searching desperately for a try, Ballina poured forward, but Sligoâ€™s immense defence was impenetrable. The pressure was relieved with a break by Gerrity, followed by a trademark Fifita drive. With possession on their oppositions 22m line, Foley chipped through but was hit late, presenting Machitidze with a penalty to secure the points. However he uncharacteristically pulled it to the right to give Ballina one last attack with time almost up. A break down the left gave them a chance, but a hard tackle by Reynolds forced a turnover and the referee blew for full time.
Sligo made hard work of this game from a commanding position at half-time and coach Joe Walsh will be worried by Sligoâ€™s lacklustre final quarter to both their opening games. Sligo looked distracted in the second half and combined with the gallant Ballina efforts were lucky to hold on. Ballina were left ruing their missed chances with a lack of success from goal kicks proving vital as well as the injury to the influential Brown. However Sligo can take great heart in their defence which was well organised and superb. The tough pre-season defensive work was evident with each defensive phase tight and every channel looked secure. Mannion was excellent in the tight, with James Wilson also having a huge performance both in attack and defence. Fifita was again prominent making the hard yards and crucially getting the games only try. The much used clichÃ© that a win is a win is deserving of being wheeled out here and Sligo can take great heart in the fact they can not fire on all cylinders and still get a result. It also says a lot about the ambition of Sligoâ€™s coaching staff and players this year when a hard-fought home victory against local rivals is not seen as enough.
Man of the match awarded to Mataele Fifita
Scoring Sequence â€“Â 22 mins: Machitidze DG 3-0, 28 mins: Machitidze pen 6-0, 40 mins: Fifita try, Machitize con 13-0, 57 mins: Moynihan pen 13-3, 65 mins: Moynihan pen 13-6.
Sligo â€“Â A McHale, R Mannion (C), M Feeney, P Mullan, J Wilson, C Culhane, J Bowes, M Fifita, B Leahy, P Pearson, N Reynolds, G Foley, A Taureareawa, D Gerrity, K Machitize.
Replacements â€“ A Feeney, G Conneely, J Sweeney (All used)
Ballina â€“ A Moynihan, S Wade, D Newman, I Thornton, D Howley, C Brown, M Murphy, A McNulty, P Timoney, P Neary, C Forde, D Carribine, A Brown, R Kelly, T Tolan.
Replacements â€“ C Melvin, M Kneafsey, J Cawley (All used)
Sligo 2nds began their season with an impressive friendly victory over Ballina on Saturday last, September 27th. New coach Stephen Allay was delighted with the massive turnout of players, with old familiar faces mixing with some new ones. Sligo used over 25 players in the game and will be hoping this kind of turnout continues for the season. Sligo started brightly and some strong attacking saw them lead 12-3 at the interval. The second half saw Ballina press strongly but some awesome Sligo defensive work saw the away side unable to breach the Sligo line. In fact it was Sligo who claimed the only score of the 2nd half as flanker Simon Coulter put the finishing touches to a great move to score in the corner with only seconds remaining. This meant a final score of 17-3 to Sligo, and the result combined with the excellent showing by the players should ensure that Sligo can look forward to the upcoming 2nds league with an excellent chance of a successful season.
A number of club members, past and present, were in representative action over the weekend. Aaron Spring, Tadgh Power, and Niall Keneally were all in the Connacht Youth squad who faced Leinster on Saturday at Barnhall RFC. Connacht emerged victorious by a score of 14-8.
Sunday saw another Sligo star, Rory Kerins, playing for the Connacht U19s in their interpro decider with Leinster at the Sportsground. Also included in the squad were Thomas Gormley and Keith Farry. Connacht were undefeated prior to this match and hoped to land a famous Interpro title. Unfortunately an early barrage by a strong Leinster side ended any title hopes, and Leinster ran out convincing winners by 35-10.
Also involved in high class action over the weekend was former Sligo player Niall OHara, who is captain of AIL Division One side, Buccaneers this season. Niall, who is from Drumcliff, is a product of Sligo Grammar School and the Sligo RFC underage section.Â Fullback Niall will have the task of guiding Buccaneers to the top half of Division One which is where they will wish to be as under a new format next years Division one will be divided into two sections. The A section will be an elite league of this yearâ€™s top eight teams and Niall will be hoping that Buccaneers will be there. All at Sligo RFC wish Niall the best for the season and who knows maybe we can get him back to Sligo when Sligo progress to the AIL.
This weekend’s match against Ballina has been moved from Sunday to Saturday, September 27th. Kick-off at 3PM with Seconds at 4PM. Show your support for the club this weekend with a strong turn out at Hamilton Park.
Buccaneers 15 – Sligo 22
The opening day of any season is one often filled with anticipation, excitement, and even fear. No matter what the sport a season curtain-raiser allows players, coaches and fans alike to dream about what might be. Dublin GAA fans, Spurs soccer fans, and Leinster rugby fans know only too well how quickly this sense of eternal optimism can be dashed as their team stutters to kick their season into gear. With these mixed feelings of anticipation and trepidation, Sligo travelled to Dubarry Park in Athlone to kick off their season against the formidable firepower of Buccaneers. Sligo had failed to win away from home last season, and faced a tough task against a Buccaneers side that boasted an impressive mix of youth and experience.
Sligo started with a near full strength line-up that included a number of new faces, with Mataele Fafita, Andre Taurerewa and Paddy Pearson all making their debut in the red jerseys. In ideal conditions for rugby Sligo began brightly and within two minutes some excellent offensive defence work forced Buccaneers to cough up a penalty on their 22m line in front of the posts. Full back Kaka Machitidze confidently struck his kick over to hand Sligo an early 3-0 lead. Straight from the restart Buccaneers forced their way into Sligo territory and won a penalty deep in Sligo territory, surprisingly they kicked to the corner and won a line-out on the Sligo 5m line. However, setting the tone for the first half, Sligo defended superbly and some big hits forced a turnover. Sligo moved forward and began to test the Buccaneers defence. This pressure was finally turned into points when a well placed tactical kick by out-half Paddy Pearson led to Sligo turning over a Buccaneers lineout 10m out and the forwards drove their way powerfully over the line to force the gameâ€™s opening score. Flanker Cathal Culhane was the man who emerged from the maul with the credit for the score. Kaka Machitidze made no mistake with the difficult conversion and Sligo moved into a commanding 10-0 lead with ten minutes on the clock.
The early encounters had been played a fearsome pace and this did not relent as Buccaneers retaliated quickly to Sligoâ€™s unexpected start with another penalty kicked to touch and rewarded with a line out 5m from the Sligo line. A pre-planned line out routine looked to contain a forward pass but it was missed by the referee and Buccaneers drove over to register their first score of the season. The conversion was missed cutting Sligoâ€™s lead to 10-5. Unfazed by the controversial score, Sligo pressurised straight from the restart and a huge hit by Tongan No.8 Mataele Fafita won Sligo a penalty 30m out. This was again expertly put away by the unflappable Kaka Machitidze to push Sligo 13-5 ahead. The game was now end to end with both teams taking advantage of the new ELVs to produce some free flowing rugby with both teams looking dangerous in attack. Scrum-half Billy Leahy produced a turnover from a Buccaneers scrum and Sligo attacked down the right flank with winger David Gerrity and James Wilson combining to nearly force another try which was only narrowly denied by an excellent try-saving tackle.
Sligoâ€™s aggressive defence was proving the key to the first half with big hits and hard work in the loose laying the foundations for the team to build on. On the half hour mark again this aggression turned defence into attack, winning a penalty 30m out when a Buccaneers player was penalised for not releasing. Machitidze was making kicking look easy in the benign conditions and this one was no different as he bisected the posts once more to push Sligo 16-5 in front. Machitidze added another penalty shortly after from an infringement in a ruck as Sligoâ€™s industrious first half work continued as Buccaneers began to get frustrated. This frustation boiled over in first half injury time as a Buccaneers player was extremely fortunate to get away with a disgraceful two-footed stamp on a prone Sligo player. On video evidence this looked a certain red card if spotted by the referee. Following a slight melee between both sets of players following this ugly incident the referee blew for half time with Sligo leading impressively by 19-5.
Sligo started the 2nd half just as they had finished the first, the pack working hard to steal a Buccaneers line out and a sharp break by Fafita gave Sligo a promising attacking lineout on the Buccaneers 22m line. This lineout was pulled down and Sligo were again rewarded with an early penalty. Machitidze made it six out of six for the day with another accurate kick to increase Sligoâ€™s lead to 22-5. Sligo piled on the pressure and another break, this time from new centre, Andre Taurerewa, gave winger Nick Reynolds a chance to show his pace down the left wing. Reynolds kicked through and only some desperate last-gasp defending from Buccaneers stopped Sligo from scoring their second try of the afternoon. Sligo continued to pressurise the line with Fafita and Wilson making some great headway as Sligo dominated the early exchanges of the half. Buccaneers looked rocked and the rest of the game appeared to be a formality for a Sligo side in complete control.
However the momentum of the entire game was changed by a sensational Buccaneers try on the hour mark. Their backline which up until this point had been very quiet suddenly exploded with a break from their outhalf, Andrew Hayman, he linked up well with a number of support runners and two quality offloads led to Buccaneers No.8 Mark Madden going over in the corner for a vital score. This score inspired the home side and with Hayman becoming increasingly influential they started to get on top and take the game to a Sligo side that were starting to look a little jaded. Sligoâ€™s cause was not helped by a harsh yellow card to flanker Cathal Culhane on 75 minutes for a late tackle, and Buccaneers continued to attack in an effort to secure a bonus point. This point was attained with three minutes remaining as the pressure finally told on the defiant Sligo defence when a quick penalty led to a Buccaneers try in the corner to close Sligoâ€™s lead to 22-15. Suddenly a game that seemed dead on the hour now looked wide open, and with a vocal home support behind them Buccaneers went in search of a match saving score. Thankfully for Sligo a knock-on when in good position by Buccaneers signalled the end of the game and a relieved Sligo registered their first away win in over a year by a final score of 22-15.
As season openers go this was an excellent victory on a ground where results have not been favourable to Sligo in the past. For an hour they looked like a side going places with forwards Fafita and Wilson to the fore, and captain Ross Mannion influential in the loose. Pearson looked assured at outhalf with his distribution and tactical kicking good, while in fullback Machitidze Sligo have a reliable and deadly place kicker. They dominated the set pieces with their scrum in particular looking strong; the forwards looked well drilled and punished the home side with their aggressive rucking and defence. The final quarter of the game was error-strewn by Sligo and mixed with some ill discipline this allowed Buccaneers back into a game that looked over at half-time. This can be put down to Sligoâ€™s lack of match practice and with this opening game under their belt, Sligo coach Joe Walsh will be looking to continue this form in the upcoming league games. As Sligo RFC president Conor Frazer commented after the game it â€œwas a great start and provides a platform to build on for rest of the seasonâ€?. And for the many Sligo supporters in attendance it allowed them to continue to look forward with anticipation to the rest of the season, with any trepidation quickly blown away by the exciting, flowing rugby shown in that promising first hour.
Sligo RFC president Conor Frazer launched two new club publications on Thursday last in The Glasshouse Hotel. The launch was well attended by over forty club members including players, coaches, and volunteers.
The first publication launched was a 60 page Yearbook for the 2008/9 season, which is edited by immediate past President, and last seasonâ€™s P.R.O., Tom Gilligan, and is full of interesting articles, and photographs of club events, both on and off the playing fields. At the meeting, Gilligan paid a special tribute this week to the President, Conor Frazer, and to the Grounds Chairman, Declan Lynch, who were responsible for sourcing all the advertisements in the Yearbook. â€œBoth Conor and Declan did a tremendous job in securing the advertisements, which ensured that the Yearbook is a commercial success, and I would urge all our members to repay the generosity of our sponsors and advertisers by supporting them at every opportunity throughout the season.”
Also launched on Thursday evening was the eagerly awaited Sligo RFC Football Plan (2008/2013). This Plan, which charts the pathway of rugby in the club for the next 5 years, has been in gestation since January last. A very successful seminar on Rugby in Sligo, which elicited information as to how the club should progress, was held then in the Glasshouse Hotel, and was attended by 60 club members. Subsequently a Sub-Committee, chaired by the then Club President, Tom Gilligan was set up to draft the Plan. The 32 page Plan booklet contains a Foreword from the Chairman, the Sligo RFC Mission Statement, the Aims and Objectives of the Club, Senior Football Development Strategies (for all adult teams), Strategies for the Promotion and Development of U-20 Rugby, Strategies for Maximising the Development, and for the Retention of Youth and Juvenile Players, Strategies for the Development of Tag Rugby and of Womenâ€™s Rugby, Strategies for the Recruitment of Indigenous Coaches, Strategies for the Recruitment of Referees, Strategies for the Recruitment of Volunteers in the Club, and Strategies for the Promotion of Social Events for Members. There is also a chapter detailing the state of the art facilities which will be available when the club re-locates to Cloverhill.
Both Gilligan and Frazer thanked all members involved in the publication of both books and would also like to thank the Glasshouse for their hospitality.
Fresh from a confidence boosting away win against Buccaneers, Sligo will be looking to build on that performance this Sunday, September 28th with a home win against local arch-rivals, Ballina. Sligo had no injury worries to report after their opening round victory and coach Joe Walsh will hope to build on their pleasing display. However Ballina also boasted an impressive away victory in their first league game with a 21-18 win away to Galwegians at Crowley Park and the meeting between the old rivals may give a clear indication of Sligoâ€™s hopes this season. Kick off is 3pm at Hamilton Park and all club members are asked to come out and show their support in what is sure to be a tough and unforgiving encounter.
Former Sligo player Cathal Sheridan came on at scrum half for the Munster A team in their game against Ulster on Wednesday. Munsterâ€™s side was very strong containing many of the heroic Heineken Cup winning senior professional squad. Stars on display included former GB rugby league star Brian Carney, Darragh Hurley, and Mike Prendergast. This is a great honour for Cathal and a testament to his ability and his dedication to the game. Cathal is currently a student of UL in Limerick where he is a member of their high-class rugby academy. Cathal is a product of the Sligo RFC underage development setup and was a member of the All Ireland U18 winning Sligo team at a time when he was still eligible for U16 rugby. Everyone at the club wishes Cathal every success in his future endeavours, and perhaps in the not too distant future we could see him lining out for the senior Munster side.
Jason East is another former youth star who is making headlines. Carrying on from last seasonâ€™s good form, he is currently lining out for the Connacht U20 squad. Jason is a member of the Connacht youth academy and weighs in at 114 Kg and is a hugely promising prop forward. Jason is a former Sligo Grammar school student and a former member of Sligo RFC underage teams.
There was also some provincial recognition for some present club players recently as Aaron Spring, Tadgh Power and Niall Kennealy were all included in the Connacht U18 squad for the upcoming U18 inter-pros. All four are present members of the Sligo youth section and again the club wishes them every success as they proudly represent Sligo RFC in their upcoming matches.
Sligo 2nds will begin their season this weekend with a friendly match against opposition still to be determined. Sligo RFC are delighted to announce a new addition to the coaching ranks at Hamilton Park this season with New Zealand native, Stephen Allay taking over as 2nd team head coach. Stephen brings a vast wealth of experience to the post and will look to lead the team to a successful season. Training continues at the club at 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and anyone who wants to play the 2nds this year is asked to attend the session this Friday 26th September.
The alcohol-free teenage disco held on Friday, 12th September was another huge success, and for this great credit is due to the Event Organiser, Justin Harte, and the other club members who made themselves available and served as stewards. The Committee have decided to hold the next alcohol-free teenage disco in the Clubhouse on Friday October 24th at 9 pm. Tickets will be available for purchase from the usual outlets, and again early purchase is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment. All intending patrons are reminded that admission is strictly by ticket only, and under no circumstances will cash be accepted at the door.
Here are some photos of the recent ‘friendly’ Tag Rugby match between Cregg House and The Slow Coaches – you will note that both sides comprise of the wider O’Hehir family – young and old! The Slow Coaches are made up of the Club’s Juvenile and Youth coaches and others.
The game was held in high spirits on a beautiful Sat eveningÂ (20/09/08) at the Club with festivities late into the night at Kelly’s in Strandhill. While the pacier Slow Coaches side saw victory on the playing field, Cregg House lasted the pace a little better in Kelly’s.
Let’s hope the tradition continues as the game saw a great mix of generations and range of skills!
It is a sure sign that Rugby season is truly underway when the U-13s make their pilgrimage to Limerick for the 20 team annual Pat Lawler tournament. This season’s tournament was slightly different in that the Munster branch have changed their qualifying date of birth from July 1st to January 1st which meant that Sligo had to assemble a Squad consisting of a mixture of U-13s and U-14s. And though this group of players had not played together before it is a credit to them that they gelled so well and produced some top drawer rugby.
The opening cermony commenced at 10.30 with welcome greetings from the Mayor of Limerick and newly appointed Munster coach Tony McGahan. The traditional parade followed and then it was down to the real rugby business.
Sligo were drawn in a tough group with hosts UL Bohemians, Tralee RFC, Young Munster and Limerick club Richmond so it was clear that they would have to be at their best to make an impact on the competition. First game up was against the Hosts UL Bohemians. As with all encounters with Munster teams the game was played with a huge level of physicality and commitment with both sides generating scoring chances before UL Bohs went ahead with 3 minutes left on the clock. Sligo were determined not to start the day on a losing note and following some great driving play by Eddie Burke were awarded a penalty 10 metres from the Bohs line. Quick thinking scrum half Stephen Kerins fed the hard driving Leigh Dunne who burst through the Bohs defence for the equalising score. Sligo put their opponents under huge pressure for the final moments of the game but the Bohs defence held out for a draw.
Next up came Tralee RFC. This time it was Sligo who took the initative with an early try from Eddie Burke. Tralee equalised through their pacy backline but Sligo worked their way back into the lead with a well worked score from Eddie Weaver. Sligo tried hard to capitalise on their dominance but the fast Tralee backs had the last word when right at the death they broke out of defence for an equalising score.
Young Munster were next for a Sligo side hungry for their first win and this time they were not going to be denied. Scores from the influential Peter Murray, the strong running Mark Gerrity, a brace from Leigh Dunne and one from the speedy Jack Selby saw Sligo run out 5-1 winners.
With their place in the Shield quarter final assured, Sligo faced Richmond in their last group game. The previous three tough games began to take their toll and Richmond’s physicality saw them defeat Sligo by 3 tries to 1 in a bruising encounter. Team captain Leigh Dunne again delivered the Sligo score.
The final points calculations saw Sligo pitted against Old Cresent in the Shield Quarter-final. Sligo began in determined fashion and went ahead with a superbly taken score by Stephen Kerins. Old Cresent responded with a try but Sligo were not to be denied and a Peter Murray try saw the march to the semi-finals.
Richmond awaited Sligo in the semi-final. Sligo were hungry for revenge and in what some neutrals described as the best perfomance by any team in the tournament, Sligo avenged the earlier defeat with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over the Limerick outfit. The prolific Dunne again graced the score sheet along with Murray, Weaver and Selby. A notable feature of this match were the performances of Dylan Feeney and Sean Hurley.
Cork Constitution awaited Sligo in the final. Unfortunately for Sligo they had to line up without the pacey Jack Selby who picked up a knock at the end of the semi-final. Con used this to their advantage and moved the ball to their fast men at every opportunity and soon were three tries ahead. However the brave Sligo outfit again proved their mettle and quickly got themselves on the scoresheet through a well worked Murray try. Tommy Jackson almost added a second moments later but was adjudged to have been bundled into touch before grounding the ball. Sligo camped on the Con line but earned no more reward for their efforts before the final whistle of a long day was blown.
A beaten but proud Sligo outfit were presented their runner up medals by Munster player Mossie Lawler at the end of a great day of rugby.
Along with those already mentioned Sligo were well served all day in the forwards by Killian Filan, Matthew Cosgrove, Rory Molloy and Conan O’Donnell and in the backline by Conor Greene and Ferdia Browne.
In preparation for the upcoming Connacht League the Sligo U-16 squad traveled north to play a friendly against Enniskillen RFC last Saturday.Â The squad has recently combined with the U-15 players which should prove beneficial to both age groups in terms of training and competition.
Enniskillen have always proved to be formidable opponents in the past, and with some of Sligo U-16â€™s unable to travel the odds were stacked against Sligo, especially as the squad had many newcomers and players trying out new positions.
Five minutes into the match the odds looked worse when Enniskillen ran in an early try. However, in what the coaches hope is an encouraging sign for the future, the team refused to be demoralised, grew more determined and battled on.
After a few early mistakes, the forwards came together, pushing Enniskillen back into their own half; dominating at the breakdown and scrummaging well. Sligo backs quickly found their form and forced many tactical errors from Enniskillen, while Sligoâ€™s own ball handling and decision-making looked superb at this early stage of the season.
The final score of 12-19 was a fair reflection of a hard game, well played by both sides.
TRIES: R.Keegan, W.Weaver, K.Cox
CONS: E.Dougherty, K.Cox
Training continues every Friday at Hamilton Park and new players are more than welcome at any time.