Sligo RFC ‘s Mataele Fifita, created history by becoming the first Sligo senior player to sign a professional contract with Connacht Rugby in Galway last week.
The giant centre’s displays for Sligo in last seasons successful Ulster Bank league and Connacht Senior cup campaigns brought him to the attention of the Eric Elwood, and the Connacht boss approached Fifita at the end of the season to invite him for a three month trial with the professional squad.
Mataele took up the challenge, and his hard work and dedication culminated in the offer of a professional development contract last week.
Mataele came to Sligo at the beginning of the 2008 season when he played in the back row, before moving to Navan for a season to play in the All Ireland league. On his return to Sligo, coach Simon Galvan identified that Fifita’s attributes would be better served in the centre position and the player made the transition with ease.
Mataele was central to Sligo’s hugely successful season in 2010/11 when he was awarded the clubs player of year award. The player was also short listed for Connacht Junior player of the year that season. He was also instrumental in the Connacht Junior teams history making interprovincial series win.
Sligo’s return to All Ireland League rugby last season allowed Mata the chance to further showcase his talents and his powerful displays were noted by the Connacht hierarchy. With his excellent work ethic and undoubted abilities it shouldn’t be long before Mata becomes a regular in the Connacht team.
All at Sligo RFC wish Mata, Rose, Ethan and Siaosi the very best on this new journey.