Outstanding commitment and endeavour saw Sligo battle to a tense 20-16 victory in atrocious conditions away to Castlebar on Sunday in Cloondeash. Sligo came into the game unbeaten but with plenty to prove following last weeks abysmal performance in Creggs, and major improvement was required against a rugged Castlebar side, who had claimed a number of prized scalps this season and who boast one of JL1â€™s most impressive players in South African prop Eugene Butterworth. Sligoâ€™s task was made tougher by the absence of their outstanding forward so far this season, James Wilson, who was replaced by Jamie Bowes, following his eye-catching performance for the seconds last week. Bowes was joined in the second row by the seasoned Peter Mullan while Martin Feeney returned at tight-head prop to add his considerable bulk to the Sligo pack in the only changes from the side that struggled in Creggs. With a fierce wind gusting across the ground, mixed with heavy showers, conditions were not ideal for Sligoâ€™s high-tempo running game and with a large home support present, this game was expected to prove Sligoâ€™s toughest task of the season so far.
After the disappointment of having last weekendâ€™s first league match of the season against Creggs cancelled, the Sligo U14â€™s and their coaches were eager to get some match action under their belts. From the kick off Sligo displayed strength in their forwards and speed from their backs. Ballina were forced to defend vigorously from the outset, but it soon became obvious that both sides were still feeling their way into a match situation.
Published on October 20, 2008 in News and Youth. Closed
Sligo youths player, Tadgh Power, a student at Sligo Grammar School, has been called into the Irish U18 training squad for the upcoming international matches. This is a great honour for Tadgh and a tribute to his talent and his commitment to the sport. Everyone involved with Sligo RFC wishes Tadgh all the best and look forward to seeing him in the green jersey.
More Sligo youthâ€™s gained representative recognition this week with Summerhill Collegeâ€™s Rory Kerins being picked for the Connacht U19 team, with his schoolmate Thomas Gormley making the subs bench. Niall Kennealy and Aaron Spring have been named in the Connacht U18 squad, with Gary McConnell named as a replacement. Again the club wishes these lads all the best as they continue to represent Sligo on the provincial front.
Published on October 20, 2008 in Disco and Events. Closed
All tickets for the special Halloween alcohol-free teenage disco, which will be held in the Clubhouse, Hamilton Park on Friday next, October 24th at 9 pm, are completely sold out. This is a strictly all ticket event, so anybody not in possession of a ticket for the disco should not come near the precincts of the club on Friday evening, as they will not gain admittance. There will be absolutely no possibility of cash being accepted at the door, and there will be no exceptions to this, so parents/guardians are advised to ensure that their son/daughter does not come to Sligo RFC on Friday evening without a ticket.
Sligo RFC club member, James Coulter, is holding a tag-rugby fundraiser for the Niall Mellon Township trust this Saturday, October 25th, at 7pm at the Skreen/Dromard Community Centre. It is a mixed tag event, with St Pats taking on Sligo RFC in what promises to be a hugely entertaining evening. Drinks after the event will take place in The Fiddlers and all club members are urged to support this event for a worthy cause.
Hamilton Park was the venue for the first U16 Connacht league match of the
season, played against a highly rated Corinthians team. Â Despite the wet and
windy day, the Sligo side opened the match aggressively, and refused to be
intimidated by their opponents.
A well-earned try early on in the match gave Sligo the upper hand and the
home side copper-fastened their advantage with another try before half-time.
Going into the second half, the visitors were awarded a penalty, but it was
not enough to diminish the menace of the mighty Sligo side.
Training alongside the U16 Squad has proved to be immensely beneficial for
the Sligo RFC U15s as they kicked off the start of the Connacht U15 league
with a crushing 29-6 victory against local rivals, Creggs RFC. Â The away
fixture saw team captain Duncan McDonagh (a former Creggs player himself)
lead the team through the opposing side’s defence with ease and the Sligo
side dominated the match from start to finish.
With a couple of early season non-league victories under their belts, the
Sligo side came out fighting and played a supremely confident first half,
with three tries scored ahead of the whistle. Â The second half followed with
more of the same, with all members of the U15 squad playing an integral part
in the match, utilising the skills and drills practised so rigorously in
The 2008/09 ticket application form is now available for download. The autumn series sees Ireland play Canada, New Zealand and Argentina in November, while the six nationâ€™s kicks off in Feb 2009 with home games against France and England and away games against Italy, Scotland and Wales.
JL1 table-toppers Sligo stumbled to a desperately unconvincing victory at The Green in Creggs on Sunday, escaping with a narrow six point victory against a Creggs side, which remains rooted to the bottom of the table. Sligo came into the game hoping to maintain their unbeaten record and continue the trend of expansive, attacking rugby that they had showed in last weekâ€™s glorious home victory over Loughrea. Sligo made a number of changes from that game, with Sligo head coach Joe Walsh again rotating his squad and resting a number of key players. Adrian McHale and Ross Mannion were recalled to the front row with Joe Sweeney also taking his place in the Sligo pack. Sligo also reshuffled their back three, with the exciting Nick Reynolds moving to full-back where he was joined by Andrew Feeney and Ted Mulvaney on the wings. On paper the game appeared nothing more than a formality for a high-flying Sligo side, but just as Munster showed in their desperate last-gasp victory over Montauban on Friday, rugby isnâ€™t played on paper.
In a game that immediately followed the seniorâ€™s abject performance, Sligo 2nds restored smiles to the large travelling support with a fantastic performance of free-flowing, glorious rugby.
Sligo made an incredible start with 4 tries inside the opening twenty minutes. Straight from kick-off, Sligo roared into action spreading the ball wide for fleet-footed centre Owen McDermott to open the scoring with a magnificent score. Creggs replied with a quick penalty, but this only galvanized Sligo into further attacks. A fine break from the influential Kim Williams, ably supported by the solid Matt Drury, gave Sligo an attacking platform 10m out. Some uncharacteristically good handling by prop Ross Oâ€™Boyle, led to the burly Ralph Lucey thundering over to make it 10-3. Creggs tried to respond but a breakdown in their attack, led to a break by McDermott who released Simon Connolly who showed searing pace to race away from the Creggs cover to touch down for a breath-taking score. Sligoâ€™s blistering start was complete on the twenty minutes mark, with Ross Oâ€™Boyle again the creative spark in Sligoâ€™s attack with the robust prop producing a cheeky pass to impressive out-half Brian Hynes who cruised through to score under the posts. The game settled down, with Creggs battling well after the early Sligo onslaught and at the interval Sligo led 20-3.
Table topping Sligo travel to Creggs next weekend, Sunday October 12th, to face a Creggs side that can count themselves unlucky to be rooted to the bottom of the table. Sligo will be looking to maintain their 100% record, and coach Joe Walsh hopes to able to call on a full strength squad for what always proves to be an awkward away trip. Creggs are always abrasive and competitive at home, and will be desperate to secure their first win of the season in front of their home supporters. Kick off is 3pm and supporters are urged to travel to get behind the team in a game which should prove to be another test of Sligoâ€™s title credentials.
Sligo 2nd XV will be in action next Sunday, October 12th, when they travel to Westport to face a strong Westport team. The teamâ€™s management were delighted with the excellent turn out for the teamâ€™s season opener and hope that a similar turn out can be achieved for the first away fixture of the season. Any players interested in taking part are urged to attend training during the week or to contact one of the management team.
On a day of unseasonal sunshine at Hamilton Park, Sligo produced an excellent performance to cruise to victory against a competitive Loughrea side. Sligo came into the game as favourites and were hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the season against a Loughrea side that had narrowly lost their opening two games. Sligo made a couple of changes from the side that had began the season so impressively with coach Joe Walsh rotating his squad, highlighting the strength in-depth of this years squad. Gary Conneely, who had caught the eye in his substitute appearances, was rewarded with a starting berth and he was joined in the front row by Darragh Cox making his seasonal debut. Sligo stalwart Trevor Sweeney celebrated his birthday by forcing his way into the starting line up in the second row. Sligoâ€™s backline was again unchanged as the Sligo fans hoped for the kind of complete performance that their opening league games had hinted they were capable of on a day that promised to suit running rugby.
The game started tentatively with Sligoâ€™s forwards having to come to grips with a hugely physical Loughrea eight. Possession was shared as the packs settled into what was to become a physical, intense war of attrition upfront. Loughrea had the first opportunity to open the scoring after seven minutes when they were awarded a penalty 25m out for a Sligo infringement. They couldnâ€™t convert this chance however as scrum half Gary Glynn screwed his kick wide. Sligo made them pay for this wasted opportunity shortly after, as right winger David Gerrity made an incisive break from broken play inside his own half , before linking up with full back Kakaber Machitidze who was dragged down on the visitors 22m line. Quick ball retention led to out-half Paddy Pearson breaking for the line, but some last gasp defence saw him dragged down just short. From the recycle, Sligo switched wide with centre Gavin Foley delivering a looping skip pass to his Tongan back rower Mataele Fifita, who was loitering with intent outwide, and he had the easiest of finishes to complete a superb team score. Machitidze was unable to add the extras from a difficult angle.
Loughrea responded well with a long period of possession as they drove Sligo back within their own half. However Sligo have shown that their well drilled, aggressive defence is a match for anyone this season, and again the hits went in as the Sligo pack went about negating the weight advantage of the Loughrea forwards. Loughrea threw everything at Sligo with a series of line outs close to the Sligo line, but Sligo defended fiercely forcing Loughrea into a turnover. Sligo were awarded a penalty on halfway following a late tackle, and Pearson kicked Sligo deep into Loughrea territory. The lineout was won by the imperious James Wilson and quick ball off the top went through the backline to the quick hands of Foley, who delivered a beautifully weighted inside ball to winger Nick Reynolds, who had exploded off his wing with a cleverly angled run, beating the Loughrea fullback and going over under the posts for a breath-taking try straight from the training ground. Full back Machitidze added the straightforward conversion as Sligo moved out to a 12-0 lead.
Some ill-discipline from Sligo handed Loughrea an opportunity shortly after, as the referee reversed a Sligo penalty, handing it to the visitors who attacked down the left flank. They kicked another penalty to the corner and from the line-out, their strong pack rumbled towards the Sligo line. On the third phase one of their forwards peeled and crashed towards the line, however he was greeted with a huge hit by out-half Pearson who drove the Loughrea player back, saving a certain score. Handling errors again let Loughrea down from the resulting phase and Sligoâ€™s line again remained intact. It was the superb Pearson who then made his mark in attack, as Sligoâ€™s backline attacked from deep. Machitidze hit the line, before releasing the electric Reynolds who opted to chip through but it narrowly went dead before he could retrieve. Sligo captain Wilson again performed heroics in the line-out to steal Loughrea ball, playing it quickly off the top to Leahy who moved it on to Pearson on the 22m line. Pearson cut the Loughrea defence apart with a cheeky dummy before repeating the trick, eluding the full back to score under the posts in a finish reminiscent of his country man Dan Carter. Machitidze made no mistake with the extras, and Sligo cruised to 19-0. However the visitors are not a side easily rolled over and Loughreaâ€™s possession was finally rewarded as the half drew to a close, as another Sligo infringement allowed the visitors to kick to the corner and again drive at the Sligo line. The pre-planned line out move was thwarted by the defiant Sligo defence, but from the recycle Loughrea went wide, and fullback David Oâ€™Loughlin dived over to open Loughreaâ€™s account and leave the half time score reading 19-5 to the more clinical home side.
Sligo coach Joe Walsh freshened up his side at the interval with club captain Ross Mannion coming in for the abrasive Conneely, and Ted Mulvaney making his seasonal bow for Leahy. This led to a re-shuffle in the Sligo backs with the games dominant force Pearson switching to nine, Machitidze moving up to fly-half, Gerrity dropping back to fullback, and Mulvaney taking his place on the wing. However these changes did not affect the movement and pace of the backline as they proved early in the second half, linking for another glorious score in the sunshine to secure a vital four try bonus point. From an attacking scrum 40m out, Sligo moved it wide with Gerrity again involved showing his eye for space, coming off his wing to link with his fellow winger Reynolds who sprinted away to finish from 30m to the cheers of the delirious Sligo support. Machitidze narrowly missed with the difficult conversion. Sligo then introduced Joe Sweeney for the hard-working Peter Mullan on the hour mark, to link up with his brother Trevor in the Sligo pack.
With the game all but over as a contest, it became scrappy at this point as Loughreaâ€™s forwards had a lot of possession but a succession of handling errors and infringements, combined with Sligoâ€™s well-organised, hard-working defence, left them unable to add to their tally. Pearson, who was just as effective at nine as he was at ten, continued to orchestrate any Sligo attacks, as he combined with the ever-creative Foley to try and release the dangerous Sligo back-three. However Pearson was forced to leave the field with 12 minutes remaining when he was sin-binned for a mistimed, high tackle. This gave Loughrea the impetus in the closing stages, and to their credit they continued to press the Sligo line. A charge-down saw a chase to the Sligo try-line, and only some alert defending from the excellent Gerrity saw Sligo survive with their try-line intact. This led to a series of scrums on the Sligo line, as the physical Loughrea pack again tried to drive over the Sligo line. However Sligo were in no mood to concede even a consolation try, and the roar from the Sligo forwards when they turned the ball over, showed their commitment to this work ethic. Loughrea had another chance with only minutes remaining as a cross-field kick saw Mulvaney produce some first class defence to deny his opposite number. From the recycle Loughrea drove again, but a huge hit by substitute Joe Sweeney forced a turnover. With seconds remaining Machitidze was sin-binned after words with the ref, but nothing could force Sligo concede at this point, and the final whistle was greeted with cheers by the Sligo faithful as they acknowledged a fine team performance, maintaining their 100% record by 27-5.
Sligoâ€™s management team can be very pleased with their performance and after the game coach Joe Walsh was quick to point out that a bonus point in a game against a pack of the ability and size of Loughreaâ€™s was always pleasing. In a league where the average winning score is 15 points, bonus points for four tries may prove crucial at the end of the season. Walsh praised the efficiency of his backline, who took their chances superbly, showing the hard work of the players on the training pitch, especially the second try which was a text book move, executed superbly. Walsh also pointed out the efforts of the forwards, who worked tirelessly to overcome their larger opponents, as well as their defence which was again relentless. Walsh was happy to have the opportunity to use his squad and commented about the luxury of having a strong squad to call on. Walsh also praised the opponents Loughrea, and highlighted how they had certainly put it up to Sligo, and only the clinical finishing of the Sligo backs was the difference between the two teams.
Sligo had stars all over the pitch as every player produced a good performance as they had threatened to do in their first two games this season. James Wilson continues to dominate in the lineout, and was able assisted in the tight encounters upfront by Martin Feeney and Darragh Cox. Trevor Sweeney had no problems stepping up to the pace of JL1 on his seasonal debut, and the Sligo back row was again mobile and threatening in the loose. The backline sparkled, at times playing some champagne rugby that club stalwarts exclaimed had not been seen in Hamilton Park for quite a while. Paddy Pearson was the gameâ€™s outstanding performer, his tactical kicking, eye for space, and effective distribution allowing him to orchestrate from number ten. He linked up well with his centres who boast the complementing elements of the combatative skills of Andre Taurerewa and the creative ability of Gavin Foley. Sligoâ€™s back three were always dangerous, with the lightening fast Reynolds and the dancing feet of Gerrity continuing their good form with the former picking up two clinically finished scores.
Sligoâ€™s win moves them two points clear at the top of the JL1 league, and maintains their unbeaten 100% record. However this performance was the most pleasing so far with backs and forwards combining in unison to play some exciting rugby while still containing the work ethic and defensive work that was prominent in their opening two encounters. The great American Football supremo Vince Lombardi coined the phrase that â€œwinning is a habitâ€? and Sligo will be hoping to heed his words and continue this habit in the coming weeks.
Sligo: D Cox, G Conneely, M Feeney, J Wilson (c), T Sweeney, P Mullan, C Culhane, M Fifita, B Leahy, P Pearson, D Gerrity, G Foley, A Taurerewa, N Reynolds, K Machitidze.
Subs â€“ R Mannion, T Mulvaney, J Sweeney (All Used)
Loughrea: D Oâ€™Loughlin, TG Lowry, R Culhane, B Rye, O Wilson, B Moffit, G Glynn, P Mullin, P Lyon, B Murphy, W Cullinane, P Fallon, J Hallis, S Clancy.
Sligo U20s traveled to Tuam on Saturday to take part in a ten a side tournament hosted by Tuam RFC. Teams taking part were Castlebar, O.L.B.C., Monivea, Sligo and the hosts Tuam. The competition ran in a group format, guaranteeing three games for the Sligo lads.
Sligo 17 Tuam 5
In atrocious weather Sligo met hosts Tuam in the first match with Liam Sweeney and Niall Canning combining to get Sligo off to a fast start. From a quick break Canning got Sligoâ€™s first try before more pressure from Sligo paid off and Sweeney went over for a second try. Canning got his second try in the second half, before adding the conversion himself. A late consolation try for the hosts could not change the outcome as Sligo cruised to an impressive victory.
Sligo 19 Castlebar 0
Sligo again started well and with rolling subs took full advantage of their squad with Cedric Calvey maintaining the momentum from the first game with some good work. Andy Mulligan, also playing his first game, was prominent. Sligo opened the scoring with a try from the impressive Liam Sweeney before Matt Drury added a second try and conversion. Sligo dominated throughout and Ciaran Reilly ran in a deserved try after a good kick through from Mike Conlon, before adding the extras with a good conversion to ensure another victory.
Sligo 22 O.L.B.C. 0
Sligo began brightly and grabbed an early score through Phillip Allen, getting his 1st try for Sligo, which was quickly followed by a try from Craig Cooper. Sligoâ€™s handling was excellent with Drury, Reilly, and Bergin at full back, involved in some impressive attacking. Bergin sprinted away for the 3rd try before McDermott added the 4th and the conversion.
Sligo 7 Monivea 0
Sligo made it an unbeaten tournament success when they played some sparkling rugby against a determined Monivea side. A try and conversion by Canning in the first half put Sligo on top. Sligo started the 2nd half well but were unable to add to the scoreline despite their possessional advantage. Unfortunately with only two minutes remaining an injury to the Monivea prop saw the game have to be called to a premature conclusion.
This tournament was a great confidence boosting effort for the U20s panel, and coach Roy Cooper will be delighted with the excellent showing by his players who played some exciting attacking rugby. Cooper will be hoping that this good form can be carried into the upcoming league season.
Three Sligo RFC players were part of the Connacht Youths squad that won the interprovincial â€œgrand slamâ€? on Saturday in Ennis. They included Niall Kenneally, who starred at fullback, Tadgh Power, at flanker, and Aaron Spring, who appeared as a substitute. The talented Connacht side defeated Munster by 6-3 in a tense affair to complete a clean sweep of the interprovincial games this season. Two penalties from out-half Jack Carty were enough to seal the win, which came on the back of victories over Leinster and Ulster. Sligo RFC would like to congratulate the squad on a tremendous achievement, and everyone at the club offers special congratulations to the Sligo players who represented their club superbly over the interpros series.