Sligo 13 Galway Corinthians 12
Sligo RFC’s U19 team kicked off their Connacht Cup run with a well worked victory over Galway Corinthians by the narrowest of margins at Strandhill on Sunday.
This U19′s are a squad in their first year of existence and under the coaching of Dave O’Daly and the management of John Keegan they have acquitted themselves very well. They narrowly lost out in the league playoffs when they went down to Wesport to a last minute intercept try when they seemed to have the game won.
Because this was Sligo’s first season at this level the team is very young so disruption from school commitments and also several players playing for Sligo’s senior team has meant it has been impossible to get the strongest U19 team on the pitch. However the team has made light of this and a lot of younger up and coming players have got a chance at this level.
Were Sligo able to put out their strongest 15 they can be a threat to any side in Connacht. With this being the case last Sunday’s squad had a much merited victory.
The match kicked off in very good conditions with Sligo having the benefit of the wind. Sligo dominated most of the first half and got all their scores in the first 30 minutes.
Sligo’s forwards were the dominant force throughout and it was no surprise that their try came from the pack. Following a long period of concerted pressure Eddie Connell got the touchdown on the left with out half Gary OHehir adding the conversion. The same player was to kick two further penalties to push the score out to 13 points to nil. That’s how the score stood at half time.
With the wind in their tails Corinthians upped the tempo and Sligo spent the second half on the defensive. To their credit Sligo did a superb job defending and it was only very late in the game that Corinthians slipped in out wide for two trys. The final try was the last action of the match which was converted but it was not enough to gain a victory. This young side can be proud of their victory and will move on to the next round with some confidence.
Sligo’s pack laid the foundation for this win with several players catching the eye. James OHehir at openside was their best player on view. He is a typical seven with big power runs and some excellent defensive plays at the breakdown. His back row colleagues of Eddie Connell and Karol Devaney also had big games. The front row of Jamie McGovern Matt Davey and Fabian Zwanda were excellent as a unit with Davey very prominent in the loose throughout. Second rows James Tansey and Patrick Saba put in a big stint and worked very hard in attack and defense.
At half back Jennings at 9 and Gary O’Hehir at 10 played really well. OHehir was a key man with eight points from the boot and his kicking out of hand had the Galway lads under pressure. Centres Michael Martin and Charlie Cooper formed a very strong mid field and were very important in those closing stages where they defended resolutely.
The back three also did their jobs but will be disappointed to allow two late trys in.
Sligo will know that there will be tougher battles ahead but it’s great to get the win and they can move on and with players returning from injury and schools duty they can improve and be stronger.
Sligo team. M Clarke E Roche C Cooper M Martin F Dowling G OHehir B Jennings J McGovern M davey F Zwanda P Saba J Tansey K devaney J OHehir E Connell
Subs. E Weaver D Holmes A Donnellan M Mulvany K Melly M Gerrity