Sligo RFC would like to express their warmest gratitude to both Des Cosgrove of Cosgrove’s Centra and to Jonathan Hill of Shooting Stars Photography who both recetly presented sponsorship cheques to Sligo RFC Youth Section. Without our gerenous sposnors the club cannot function, so it is with great appreciation that the Club accepts the much valued and onging vital support of the Sligo business community. We encourage our members to use the services of our sponsors and to give back in return.
Monthly Archive for March, 2011
Sligo took a giant step towards a history making unique Connacht treble when they defeated Monivea at the Castle grounds in the Heineken Junior Cup semi final on Sunday. Sligo’s win over their keenest rivals sets up an incredible season finale where they will face north west neighbours Ballina over two weekends for the right to lift the Junior and Cawley cups.
Following Sligo’s league win against Monivea at Strandhill in Feburary, Sundays game was seen by many as the home teams chance to balance the books and at least win a share of the major junior trophies in Connacht. Sligo, however, had a different ideas and were determined to prove themselves as the totally dominant force of Connacht Junior rugby for this season.
Sligo kicked off playing against the slight hill for the first half. As expected the home outfit came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and attacked their visitors from the kick off. The home teams early pressure earned a penalty award close to the Sligo line after 5 minutes but Monivea Outhalf Ger O Connors kick drifted wide of the upright.
Monivea continued to press and on 16 minutes were awarded a penalty on the Sligo 10 metre line. O Connor’s effort again drifted wide.
Sligo regrouped and began to impose themselves on their hosts. With 25 minutes gone a superb Paddy Pearson break was stopped agonisingly short of the line and from the resulting ruck the referee saw fit to penalise Sligo and send Second Row James Wilson to the sin bin.
Sligo’s Out half Mark Butler looked to open the scoring on the half hour with a long range penalty but his well struck effort fell just short.
The visitors were not to be outdone, and despite being reduced to 14 men, they continued to apply the pressure on the Galway side but the game remained scoreless at the break.
The second half began with Sligo continuing to press and were rewarded with a Butler penalty 5 minutes in. Monivea however were next to respond and a well judged O’Connor kick brought parity back to the game.
In typical cup rugby fashion the game became a war of attrition with both sides putting their all into trying to gain the upper hand in the close quarter combat. Monivea moved ahead 16 minutes into the half when a powerful run by Eoin Rooney was stopped short of the Sligo line. The ball was spun wide to substitute winger Rory O Connor who scored in the corner.
Sligo immediately responded and fine work by the pack ensured the ball was won back from the kick off. A quick recycle was moved to powerhouse Mata Fifita and the centre linked well with flanker Simon Coulter before the ruck was set up in the centre of the pitch. Substitute full back Niall O Hara excellently switched the play from left to right before linking with the dynamic Aaron Spring on the 22. The powerful youngster pinned his ears back and raced through the despairing defence to the line to finish a well worked move. Butlers conversion attempt drifted to the right of the posts leaving the game finely balanced at 8 points each.
The Sligo pack were now the dominant unit. Substitute Wesley Maxwell and Adrian Mc Hale were on top in the scrums and Wilson, Jamie Bowes,and Paddy Conlon were linking well with Hooker Ross Mannion at lineout time.
The forwards pressure yielded a reward with 8 minutes left on the clock when great pressure at the scrum resulted in a Sligo penalty which Butler despatched to put Sligo ahead.
With three minutes remaining on the clock Sligo struck the killer blow. Mata Fifita received the ball in midfield and burst through three would be Monivea tacklers to make his way into the home 22. The giant centre expertly linked with the supporting Pearson and the scrum half raced to the line to dot down 10 metres from the left hand touchline. Butler bisected the posts with an excellently struck conversion to move Sligo 10 points.
Monivea gamely countered and their never say die attitude ensured a close finish. Sustained pressure on the Sligo line saw centre Kevin Higgins touchdown to move the score to 13-18 in favour of Sligo, but it was not enough to trouble the visitors and following the restart the referee blew the final whistle to confirm Sligo’s place in the cup final.
Also on Sunday Ballina overcame the challenge of Loughrea in the other semi final which incredibly sets up two identical finals for the Cawley cup and Heineken Connacht Junior cup. Next Sunday the two teams lock horns in the Cawley cup at Galwegians home in Glenina and the following Sunday the teams will battle it out for the Junior cup at the Galway sportsgrounds.
Sligo Aaron Spring, Brian Hynes, Gavin Foley, Mata Fifita, Billy Leahy, Mark Butler, Paddy Pearson, Ross Mannion, Gary Conneely, Adrian Mc Hale, James Wilson, Jamie Bowes, Cathal Culhane, Simon Coulter, Peter Mullan. Reps Wesley Maxwell, Paddy Conlon, Niall O Hara, Martin Feeney, Frankie Feeney.
Live match commentry brought to you by Ken O’Neill and Daragh Cox of Ocean FM with thanks to sponsors Raftery & Co. Accountants, Matt Lyons’s shops and main club sponsors McHugh’s Bar.
Photos by Rory Raftery – see more on the Sligo RFC facebook page – here.
Sligo U15s lost out in the cruellest of circumstances when they suffered a one point defeat in a superbly contested Connacht cup final played under floodlights at Creggs rugby club on Friday evening.
Sligo lead with 10 minutes remaining on the clock but a late penalty kick by Corinthians snatched the victory from the north westerners allowing the tribesmen to lift the trophy.
In excellent conditions for rugby Sligo kicked off playing against the slight hill. Corinthians had the better of the opening exchanges but Sligo soon settled to their task and began to get a grip on the game. The front row of Thomas Moran, Francis Walsh and Conan O Donnell got the measure of the scrum and the half backs of Ryan Feehily and Stephen Kearins were managing the game for Sligo. Centres Matthew Cosgrove and Evan Mc Grath were combining well to shut out the Corinthian threat and James Hampson was rock solid at full back.
Both sides showed promise for the opening quarter but excellent defending kept the game scoreless. Sligo were delivered a gut wrenching blow after 20 minutes when the influential Kerins had to retire with illness but Mc Grath showed his versatility to move to the pivotal position and take over the reins.
With 2 minutes left before half time and Sligo reduced to 14 due to a severe sin binning, the live wire Feehily latched onto a loose Corinthian pass to race from the half way line and dot down to the right of the posts. Mc Grath added the extras to put his team 7 points ahead going into the break.
The second half began in the same manner as the first half ended with both sides trying to physically impose themselves on the other. Corinthians made their breakthrough after 15 minutes when a series of forward drives were stopped close to the Sligo line. The ball was moved wide and weight of numbers allowed a Corinthian touch down in the corner.
The Galway outfit pressed for the winning score but Sligo’s defence held firm and a huge Mc Grath defensive clearance was knocked on by the Corinthians full back inside his own half. However, the referee failed to notice the infringement and the following counter attack resulted in a penalty on the Sligo 22 which was converted to put the Galway side ahead by the slimmest of margins.
Sligo gamely responded but the damage was done and not long after the long whistle signalled the end of a superb encounter.
The two sides meet again next Sunday to battle for the league final and judging by Friday night’s performance Sligo are capable of lifting the silverware second time around.
Sligo Thomas Moran, Francis Walsh, Conan O Donnell, Sean Hurley, Jake Sexton, Ryan Bright, Daire Byrne, Joe Conway, Ryan Feehily, Stephen Kerins, Jackson Smith, Matthew Cosgrove, Evan Mc Grath, Zack Irwin, James Hampson reps Cian Cassidy, Jack Tillion, Luke Morrison, Jason Greer, Ronan Elliott, Diarmuid Mulligan, Darran Harte
We have a range of car stickers available for sale from The Record Room in Grattan St., Sligo together with both driver and passanger side car flags.
The stickers are €2 each or €5 for 3.
The car flags are €5 each and €10 for the set. Buy a set of car flags and 3 stickers for €12.
Wheter its the U15 final in Creggs at 7pm on Friday night, the Sligo ladies rugby V’s Carrickfergus in the Club at 1pm on Sat or the Heineken Junior Cup semi final in Monivea at 3pm on Sunday – get in to to the Record Room today and buy your colours to support the Club!!!
Sligo RFC Ladies emerged as Development League champions for 2010-11 last night after a hard fought 24 - 10 victory over UCG in the league final. The game took place at Tuam RFC at 8:30pm on Wednesday night. Well done ladies and congratulations also to coaches Gavin Foley, Jason East, Nick Ryan and also to former coach Jordan Farrington and former ladies player Ruth Goodwin.
The U15′s Connacht Cup final is to take place this Friday night at 7pm at Creggs RFC (previoulsy arranged for Ballyhaunis). Sligo RFC will play Corinthians RFC. Best of luck to the Sligo U15′s, who will hopefully be able to add to the success of the U14′s who won the Connacht League on Sunday last in Galway and to the Sligo ladies rugby success who overcame UCG in the Development League final last night in Tuam.
Another Massive Game! Sligo take on Monivea in the semi-final of the Heineken Junior Cup next Sunday at the Castle grounds in Monivea. The match kicks off at 3 o Clock. Following the league defeat Monivea will be out for revenge and our boys will need all the support we can muster! A supporters bus will be leaving from the Quay street car park at 11 am on Sunday. To book your place contact John @ 087 6212414
The National schools leprechaun rugby blitz was held on Tuesday 8th March. The event was organised by Gavin Foley Community Rugby Officer, Ross Mannion Youth Development Officer and Sligo Sports Partnership. 18 national schools with just under 600 children from schools all round Sligo participated on the day. Despite a little rain later in the day, the event was a huge success.
Special thanks to the refs on the day which were made up of transition year students from the Grammar and Summerhill schools and also players from the Sligo senior team.
Sligo Ladies Rugby team played UCG on Thursday evening last in Ballyhaunis. Sligo won 47-0.
Therefore, Sligo now finish top of the Connacht Women’s League and will play UCG in the final, the date of which is yet to be announced.
Congratulations to the ladies, to coach Gavin Foley and all involved! And best wishes for the final.
Many thanks to the ladies team sponsor McHugh’s Bar in Grattan Street.
The draw for the semi final of the Junior Cup took place last night at a Connacht Branch meeting in Galway. Sligo have been drawn away to Monivea. The game is set to be played at the Castle Grounds at 3pm on Sun March 27th.
In the other half of the draw the winner of Loughrea/Creggs will be at home to Ballina.
The Junior Cup final is set for April 10th, however should Monivea be in it, it will be held on April 17th to allow for Monivea’s All Ireland Final against Crosshaven on April 9th.
Long serving member and friend of Sligo Rugby Club George Hamlet visited the Club after the Junior Cup quarter final game against Corinthains on Sunday. George who has been in ill health recently was in great spirits as he recounted a few memorable stories around the fireplace on a cold afternoon. Everyone at the Club wishes him well!
Sligo RFC 12 – Corinthians RFC 6
Last Sunday Sligo continued their unbeaten run in all competitions in Connacht by beating Corinthians by four penalties to two.
Conditions were always going to have a big influence on proceedings with a strong northerly bitter cold wind and a very wet and sticky pitch. This was a game of two halves for the competing teams and Sligo elected to play into the strong wind in the first half.
Corinthians are not the force that they were last season when they defeated Sligo in the league and also in the Junior Cup final. In the meantime Sligo have won the Junior league and are in the Cawley Cup final and are a side transformed in twelve months.
With this backdrop Sligo went into this match as strong favourites but Cup football is always different in that its knockout and every game is a separate battle.
In the first half Sligo got down to work and their pack were marginally on top in most areas. At times Sligo had to dig deep and they did well on several occasions breaking free and threatened the opposition try line. One such break by the excellent No. 8 Paddy Conlon who broke from the back of the scrum deep in their own half and fed the flying Aaron Spring almost led to a try with Spring being hauled down five meters out.
Corinthians drew first blood with a fine penalty kick only for Mark Butler to level the scores 3 all after nine minutes. For most of the first half Sligo were defending in their own territory and they did a splendid job both in hard work by the pack and good play by the half backs Billy Leahy and Mark Butler. Their discipline was exemplary giving away few kickable penalties and they got to the break 3 all. This was a decent return considering the conditions.
In the second half it was all about Sligo piling on the pressure in terms of possession and territory. Mark Butler had three more fine penalty kicks to put a bit of daylight between the sides. To their credit Corinthians never gave up and got within 3 points with ten minutes remaining. However Sligo were in no mood to capitulate and with the scrum advantage growing as the game wore on Corinthians simply could not get any momentum. The game ended with another fine Sligo win and they are into the semi finals which will be drawn on Monday night.
This was a real tough Cup match and both sides have to be commended for serving up such competitive football in very difficult conditions.
On the day in the pack Sligo were the dominant force. Ross Mannion who started at hooker and finished the game at loose head prop had an outstanding game with his scrummaging a revelation. Paddy Conlon once again had a superb outing and his ball carrying and speed from the base was of the highest order. Simon Coulter was very busy and put in a fine days work.
In the back line scrum half Billy Leahy had a good outing with his passing of the greasy ball excellent. His defence work around the fringes and carrying was also very good before he moved to the wing where he finished strongly. Mark Butler at 10 also did well and yet again his place kicking was vital as he has been doing all season. Mata Fifita was also to the fore with his high work rate and he was unlucky to be sent to the bin for 10 minutes for an illegal tackle. Aaron Spring who started on the wing and finished on the flank always looked to be Sligo’s most dangerous attacker and he was only denied a try in the first half by some excellent defence having beaten several players up the middle.
Sligo will be delighted to have got the win here against a useful Corinthian side considering they started without captain Paddy Pearson, Jamie Bowes and prop Wesley Maxwell. If you want to win trophies you sometimes have to be prepared to win ugly and this is exactly what Sligo did on the day.
Sligo team: David Gerrity, Brian Hynes, Gavin Foley, Aaron Spring, Mark Butler, Billy Leahy, Martin Feeney, Ross Mannion, Adrian McHale, James Wilson, Peter Mullan, Cathal Culhane, Simon Coulter, Paddy Conlon.
Subs: Gary Conneely, Daragh Cox, Frankie Feeney, Clive Morris, Roger Burrows.
Photographs by Rory Raftery – see more on Sligo RFC facebook page here
Sligo U15′s beat Claremorris to reach Connacht U15 Cup Final.
Sligo U17′s beat Buccaneers to reach Connacht U17 Cup final.
Sligo U19′s beat Buccaneers 2nd U19′s in Cup.
In a repeat of last years final Sligo have been drawn against Corinthians in the quarter final of the Heineken Connacht Junior Cup. Kick off 3pm at Strandhill on Sunday. Come along and support the team as they strive for the treble!
Due to a scheduling sporting clash Ocean FM are unable to bring us live coverage of the full game, however there will be regular updates on the radio throughout the afternoon live from their reporter in Hamilton Park, so listen in if you can’t get to Strandhill in person.
Also at 3pm at Hamilton Park, Sligo 2nd XV are due to play Tuam RFC in the league.
With the Connacht junior league title secured, Sligo’s quest for total dominance of Connacht junior rugby switched to the Heineken Junior Cup commencing with a home encounter against Buccaneers on Sunday.
Buccaneers travelled to Strandhill with high hopes of an upset having secured the Connacht League division 1b title the previous weekend, but came across a Sligo side focussed on their task and were blown away by their hosts.
On a perfect day for rugby Sligo kicked off playing towards Knocknarea and immediately put their guests under pressure. Pressure at the visitors lineout saw the award of a Sligo scrum 10 metres out. A well struck Ross Mannion heel was moved to outhalf Mark Butler, who darted through a gap in the Buccaneers defence before being hauled down short of the line. Supporting number eight Peter Mullan showed all his experience by picking up and crashing over for the opening score. Butler converted for the perfect start for the home team.
Sligo’s perfect start continued and 8 minutes in the try total was doubled. Suberb pressure by the pack with prop forward Adrian Mc Hale prominent gave the locals position close to the Buccaneers line. The ball was moved wide and full back Niall O Hara perfectly timed his pass to allow winger Brian Hynes the space to dot down in the corner.
With a quarter of an hour gone Sligo added their third try. A well won James Wilson lineout was moved midfield and prolific centre Matele Fifita burst through the cover on the 10 metre line and scored under the posts. Butler converted to moved the score to 19-0 in favour of the westerners.
Sligo continued to press and were soon back in Buccaneers territory. A sweeping backline involving veteran centre Gavin Foley move saw the ball transferred to Hynes and the winger made no mistake in doubling his personal tally for the day to put the half time score at 24-0 in favour 0f the home outfit.
The second half began much as the first half ended with the home team on top in all phases . The front row of Mc Hale, Mannion and Martin Feeney were well on top in the scrums, Wilson was running the lineout show and his second row partner Jamie Bowes trademark driving runs were causing mayhem in the Shannionsiders defence, before his retirement with a nasty head wound.
The versatile Aaron Spring was brought into the play and the youngster made an immediate impact when collecting the ball on the the halfway line before powering his way through the midlanders defence and sprinting to the line to touch down under the posts. Butler converted to move the scoreline to 31-0 in favour of Sligo.
50 minutes in and Sligo were in total control. Mannion and Mc Hale had big carries before the ball was moved to Fifita and the centre characteristically powered to the corner before touching down under the posts. Butler easily added the conversion to move the score to 38-0.
Sligo continued to press and Spring again demonstrated his ball carrying ability. Following a series of rucks on the 10 metre line Spring again burst through the defence and touched down beside the posts. Butler again converted to move the score to 45-0.
Buccaneers never gave up and rewarded with a try after 60 mins. Sligo, however were not finished and another superb Fifita run and score immediately cancelled out the visitors score. Butler again converted to push the score to 52-5.
Incredibly, following the restart, Connacht branch referee Joe Doyne blew the final whistle with 15 minutes remaining on the clock signalling the end of another great day for Sligo Rugby.
Sligo; Niall O Hara, Brian Hynes, Gavin Foley, Matele Fifita, Billy Leahy, Mark Butler, Paddy Pearson, Martin Feeney, Ross Mannion, Adrian Mc Hale, James Wilson, Jamie Bowes, Cathal Culhane, Simon Coulter, Peter Mullan. Reps Frankie Feeney, Aaron Spring, Gary Conneely, Roger Burrows,Darragh Cox.
Ocean FM match commentary by Daragh Cox and Ken O’Neill
Photos by Rory Raftery