Sligo RFC 14
Dungannon RFC 10
Sligo ground out their second win of their Energia All Ireland League division 2B campaign with a two point victory over a physical Dungannon side at Strandhill on Saturday. Two converted trys proved enough to see off their northern visitors in a tense and physical affair.
With Friday nights incessant rain making conditions less than ideal, The match kicked off with Sligo playing towards Knocknarea. The opening exchanges were tight with both teams looking for an advantage but Sligo took the early initiative with the front row of Mark Keegan, Matthew Earley and Tom Gormely getting on top at the scrum. Rob Holian and Shane Boyle were secure from touch.
Sligo’s dominance soon turned into points. Some excellent positional kicking placed Sligo inside the visitors 22. The forwards took over and pummelled the Dungannon defence until second row Ciaran Cassidy breached the line for Sligo’s opening points. Euan Brown converted and Sligo were up and running.
Sligo continued to press and were rewarded for their efforts with a superb solo try from outstanding scrum half Ryan Feehily after 26 minutes. The live wire scrum half picked from a ruck on the Dungannon 22 and darted down the right hand side, evading three would be tacklers before touching down in the right corner. Browns excellent conversion split the posts and Sligo were purring.
The momentum was now with the locals but unfortunately the team failed to capitalise. Indiscipline in the Dungannon 22 resulted in a Sligo yellow card and a shift in play culminated in Dungannon crossing the whitewash in the right corner of the Sligo in goal area. Dungannon failed to convert so Sligo went into the interval with a nine point advantage.
Following the resumption, playing into the breeze , Sligo started the second half brightly, The back three of Niall Gray, Brendan Cunningham and Philip Carter were mopping up all that the visitors threw at them, open side Brian West was a menace in open play, centres Enda Gavin and Daire Byrne were bringing the fight to the visitors and number eight Ross Hickey was marshalling affairs with authority.
Shane O’Hehir, Craig Trimble and Sean Wynne added dynamism from the bench.
Disregarding Sligo’s dominance the visitors reflected their pedigree and worked their way back into contention. An excellently executed tackle by Sligo’s Benroi Sala was incredibly deemed illegal by the blind sided touch judge and a second yellow card meant Sligo were back to fourteen.
Dungannon pressed hard to make the most of the numerical advantage but the Sligo defence stood strong and were even coping with a third yellow with moments remaining.
Despite heroic defensive efforts the thirteen men from Sligo were breached in the final moments, but the late score failed to dampen the spirits of the Sligo faithful and when the long whistle sounded the Yeats men celebrated a well earned four league points.
Next for Sligo is a Connacht Derby against Galway Corinthians. With both teams hungry for points a cracking encounter is is instore. The match kicks off at Hamilton Park next Saturday at 2.30Sligo: Niall Gray, Brendan Cunningham, Daire Byrne, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Ryan Feehily, Mark Keegan, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Brian West, Ross Hickey, Reps Shane O’Hehir, Benroi Sala, Craig Trimble, Sean Wynne.
Sligo RFC 14