Galwegians RFC 16
Sligo RFC 31
Sligo advanced to their second Connacht Senior Cup final in 3 seasons with a comprehensive victory over Galwegians at a floodlit Glenina on Saturday evening. Sligo’s victory earns the team the opportunity to face Galway Corinthians at the Sportsground on December 22 in a repeat of the 2017/18 final which saw Sligo lift the trophy for only the second time in the long history of the Strandhill based club.
On a calm evening Sligo kicked off but it was the home team that took the early initiative with a successful penalty kicked from the Sligo 10 metre line. Sligo immediately responded. Ciaran Cassidy got a hand to the restart and Shane Boyle secured the ball, Brian West drove forward and the ball was recycled and moved towards midfield. A well timed pass saw Mark Butler split the defence and race into the 22 before linking up with Ryan Feehily who beat the last defender and finished under the posts. Euan Brown converted and Sligo were up and running.
A second successful ‘Wegians penalty moved the gap to one point with thirty minutes on the clock but Sligo responded well. Matt Davey picked from a scrum on the left of the ‘Wegians 22 and linked with Brendan Cunningham. The ball was moved quickly across the backline to Calum Goddard who raced to within 5 metres of the line before linking with the supporting Philip Carter who crashed over for Sligo’s second try. Brown hit an excellent conversion to put Sligo into an eight point lead.
A third Galwegians penalty put the half time score to nine points to fourteen in favour of the visitors.
Following the resumption Sligo continued to press. Cunningham broke down the blind side of a scrum on the Galwegians ten metre line and placed an excellent grubber kick down the line for Goddard to collect and score in the corner. Brown hit an excellent conversion to push his teams total to twentyone.
A sustained period of pressure resulted in a Galwegians converted try, closing the gap to five but Sligo again hit back with another well worked score.
Brian West tapped a free kick on the Galwegians 22 and drove into the heart of the home defence. Cassidy and Brown both added to the drive before replacement centre Daire Byrne burst through before being stopped just short of the line. From the resulting ruck Feehily fed Butler who twisted his way over for Sligo’s 4th try. Brown again converted and minutes later added a penalty to round off the scoring and seal the place in the final.
Sligo’s win was built around their excellent team ethos with every player deserving credit. Tom Gormely, Benroy Sala and Mark Keegan provided a solid platform in the tight and continuously put in some huge tackles in open play. Shane O’ Hehir and Matthew Earley and Rob Holian were dynamic in all facets. James O’Hehir made a big addition to the work rate when introduced. Enda Gavin was a rock at full back and Luke Hogge fitted seamlessly into the backline when called into the fray.
Sligo now turn their attention back to the All Ireland League where they host Blackrock College at Hamilton Park next Saturday. Having suffered a narrow defeat to Blackrock in last seasons promotion playoffs Sligo will not need motivation when facing their Dublin visitors. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Strandhill.
Sligo: Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily (Co-Capt), Philip Carter, Brendan Cunningham, Benroy Sala, Shane O’Hehir (Co-Capt) Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Brian West, Matt Davey. Reps: Mark Keegan, Matthew Earley, James O’Hehir, Daire Byrne, Luke Hogge