Sligo RFC 17 – Rainey Old Boys RFC 27
Sligo slumped to their fifth loss of the 18/19 All Ireland League Division 2B campaign with a disappointing 10point defeat to Magherafelt outfit Rainey Old Boys at Strandhill on Saturday. The northern visitors lorded the possession stakes and outscored the locals by three tries to two as Sligo struggled to retain possession for any meaningful period throughout the encounter.
Despite the heavy midweek rain, Hamilton park was in excellent condition, with little or no breeze when the teams took to the field, and it was Sligo that were first to put the scorekeeper to work with a Jack Keegan penalty after 10 minutes.
Rainey restarted, reclaimed possession from the kick and worked their way into the Sligo 22. The Ulster men pressurised the Sligo defence and a lack of concentration left a gap at the ruck allowing Oisin Quinn an easy run in to touch down at the posts. Andrew Magrath converted and the visitors were in front.
Sligo worked to regain the lead and picked up a well-worked try after 20 minutes. Having received possession near the half way line, out half Mark Butler placed an excellently weight cross kick into the path of speedster Calum Goddard. Goddard raced into the 22 before being tap tackled 15 metres out. Goddard cleverly retained possession and linked up with Ryan Feehily who finished on the right of the posts. Keegan converted and Sligo were back in front.
Sligo’s lead was short lived however, as once again; Rainey picked off the restart and worked their way to the Sligo line where some weak tackling resulted in Sligo conceding a second try. Magrath again converted to move the score to 10-14 in Rainey’s favour.
A Magrath penalty pushed Rainey’s lead out to 7 before Rob Holian finished off Sligo’s best move of the day with an excellent try under the posts. Keegan’s conversion put the sides level going into the interval.
Unfortunately, for the local support, Sligo failed to add to their tally in the second half. Possession proved to be difficult to retain with unforced errors handing the initiative back to the visitors too many times. Rainey made the most of a numerical advantage with a well-taken score in the left corner, Sligo having been reduced to fourteen with a sin-binning just after half time, and completed the scoring with a final Magrath penalty with 10 minutes remaining.
Sligo now take a two week break from ALL Ireland league action which will give coaches Paddy Pearson and Jason East the opportunity to work on their charges before resuming action on December 1st with a trip to Skerries RFC. The match kicks off at Holmpatrick at 2.30.
Sligo: Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Ryan Feehily (Co-captain), Mata Fifita, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Brendan Cunningham, Tom Gormley, Shane O’Hehir, Conor Mitchell, Rob Holian, Ciaran Cassidy, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Ross Hickey , Shane Boyle. Reps: Ross O’Boyle, Craig Adams, Jason Havea, Matt Davey, Enda Gavin