Sligo U14s continued their winning ways last Saturday in Hamilton Park and cemented their position at the top of the table after round 7 in Division 1 of the Connacht league. Having already beaten Buccaneers away at the end of September, Sligo were determined to gain all four points from the game and move 8 points ahead of second-placed Corinthians.
Sligo U14s in action against Buccaneers
Ably led by captain Ambrose Bamber, the home side overcame a tough challenge from Buccaneers and finished the first half 7-5, thanks to a Kealon Schoen try. From a sustained attack, Sligo made the most of a penalty advantage to drive Schoen over the line for the opening score of the game. Oisin O’Neill added the extra 2 points. Buccs’ eventually broke through the Sligo line after sustained defence and struck back late in the first half to touch down in the corner, but the conversion drifted wide.
The second half was a tense after with the visitors piling on the pressure, but the home defence again proved steady and good game management by Sligo established a foothold in opposition’s half, culminating in Ambrose Bamber driving over from a short-range penalty move to put another 5 points on the scoreboard. The visitors showed great determination and fought back securing territorial dominance but a fine second try from Kealon Schoen sealed the deal for Sligo.
Overall, it was an entertaining game, with Sligo the well-deserved victors.
It was a fine performance and a great team effort, overcoming stiff opposition from Buccaneers. Sligo now find themselves well-placed to make the semi-final of the league, as top two qualify. Next game for the U14 side will be the hotly contested local derby against Ballina on 8th December.
Training continues every Tuesday 6-7.30 all welcome.
Hamilton Park played host to Round 7 of the U18.5 Division 1A league on Sunday and it was the home side who had an explosive start to the game, dominating from the kick-off, with Will Whelan showing great footwork to weave his way through the Buccaneers’ defence and ground the ball in the corner. The difficult conversion fell short and Sligo were 5-0 up. The next 25 minutes was played within the Sligo 22m as Buccaneers dominated the play. They were eventually rewarded for their efforts when they drove over for a try and the conversion put them 2 points ahead with 5 minutes to go in the half. Sligo had the chance to take back the lead with a penalty and resultant line-out on the Buccaneers’ 5m line, but the ball sailed over the back of the line out giving possession back to the visitors, a fortunate knock-on ended the half, with Sligo trailing by a mere 2 points.
Will Whelan scores his first of 3 tries
The second half was a hotly contested affair with Matthew Earley first to open the scoring, dotting down out wide to put the home side 10-7 up. Buccaneers were quick to counter and retake the lead with a try but failed to add the extras. The pace of the game was hectic, with lots of phases of play and Sligo enjoyed a period of dominance with Will Whelan getting the ball wide, spotting a gap in the Buccaneers defence and racing over the line to run the ball in under the posts. Matthew Earley stroked the conversion over and the home side were 17-12 up with 15 minutes to go. Buccs’ regained possession from the restart and went through the phases to eventually work the ball score under posts to retake the lead from the home side.
no going past the Sligo defence
Sligo maintained pressure from the restart and won the ball back through determined rucking. Will Whelan was on fire, and his sidestep carved open the Buccaneers’ defence again to clock up his third try of the afternoon to give his side a 3 point margin with 10 minutes remaining. This was quickly followed by another sweeping move across the pitch and a neat grubber kick from Hubert Gilvarry, was collected by Thomas Fox and he dotted down under the posts for his team’s fifth try of the game. Earley’s conversion added the extras and Sligo lead 29-19 with only 7 minutes left. The game still had another few twists and turns to go, as the visitors made the most of a series of calls in their favour to drive over the line from a 5 metre penalty. The conversion sailed over to bring it back to a 3 point game. Sligo defended from the restart and their defence held strong in the final few seconds of the game, as a Buccaneers drive was held up over the line. The referee awarded the 5 metre scrum and then blew the final whistle, much to relief of a large home crowd.
This epic win means that Sligo leapfrog Buccaneers into 4th position in the league. Their next game is a tough encounter away to league leaders Ballinasloe on Sunday 9th December
Time to turn back the clock and go back to the rugby club disco. The Back to the 80s Big Christmas Party will take place on Saturday 15th December from 9.30pm ‘til very late, with prizes for the best 80s costume. This event is strictly over 18s and is open to the public, with all profit going to the Sligo RFC Development Fund. Tickets are priced at €15 each and are available from Keane’s Centra Strandhill, Cosgrove’s Centra Maugheraboy and The Record Room.
Table-topping Sligo Gulls continue their winning ways with a comprehensive 33-19 win over Ballyshannon RFC in a challenge game last Sunday. The Sligo 3rds team was only revived this year after a 35 year lull and the team continues to go from strength to strength, boasting a panel of 26 players for most games. The Gulls train every Wednesday at 7pm and welcome players of all experience.
There were mixed fortunes for the U17 teams as they both played away last Sunday. The Division 1 team travelled to the fortress of Monivea and came away with all the spoils, securing a 15-21 victory against the home side to add another 4 points to their league tally and remain in the top four of the U17 Division 1 league. Their next home game is on Sunday 2nd December, when they take on second placed Ballinasloe.
Such are the great numbers in the U17 squad, that they are able to enter a second team in the Connacht U17 boys’ leagues. After their narrow 2 point defeat to league-leaders Westport last weekend, the Sligo U17 Development team travelled to Westport on Sunday, where they were met by a strong home side who won 42-21, to go top of the table. The U17 Development side travel away to Loughrea next Saturday.
The Sligo Junior team travelled to Creggs last Saturday in Round 7 of the Connacht J1A league. They were met by a determined home side, who are now only 5 points off league-leaders Connemara. The sides remained scoreless until the 25th minute, when Creggs crossed the whitewash, but failed to convert their efforts and add the extra 2 points. A second try came only 10 minutes later to bring the score to 12-0 at half-time. Creggs continued with their barrage and the home side added a subsequent 2 tries without reply. A Robbie Ryan intercept try finally got Sligo on the scoreboard, but it was a case of too little, too late, Creggs 24, Sligo 7.
There was no joy for the Sligo girls in front of a big home crowd last Saturday in Hamilton Park. In their debut season, the Sligo U16 girls came up against the well-established Galway side, who amalgamated last year, and are currently top of the table in Division 2 of the Connacht U16 Girls league. The opening 10 minutes proved a shock for the visitors as Bebhinn Hart crossed the line to score the opening try of the game. Cliodhna O’ Sullivan stepped up to convert and coolly slotted the ball between the posts to give the home side a 7 point lead. Tuam/Oughterard quickly settled into the game and had a period of dominance, which resulted in three unanswered tries before the half-time whistle. Sligo’s coaching team of Gabriel Gormley, Michael Cox and Gavin Clinch, rallied their troops at the break and they came out all guns blazing, determined to alter the 7-15 score line. Sligo had 70% possession in the second half, with Tuam/Oughterard under pressure with every play, but the home side were unable to break through the experienced defence and a try, against the run of play, rewarded the visitors with the final score of the game.
Although the score line did not truly reflect the game, the Sligo team, playing in their 4th game of the season, can take great solace from the fact that they now lie 3rd in the table and are improving with every game. Many of Sligo’s players only took up rugby this September and Cria Flanagan, Jasmine Morgan and Grace Molloy were playing their first game for Sligo RFC on Saturday, joined by Teresa Devaney in her second game, with Grace Mulholland returning her first game of the season.
Girls’ rugby has gone from strength to strength in Sligo, with teams now competing from U10 to U18. The catchment area has also grown and players travel twice a week from as far afield as Manorhamilton, Tubbercurry, Coolaney and Drumcliff to join players from Carraroe, Cranmore, Sligo town and Strandhill. A big thanks to Petstop, who sponsor the club jerseys and for their continued support of girls’ rugby in Sligo. Training continues in the rugby club every Monday and Thursday 6.45 – 8pm, no previous experience is necessary. Contact Michael 086 3202244 for further details. Next game in the fixtures is away to Westport on 1st December.
Galwegians were the latest to fall foul of the U14 machine who clocked up 38 points without reply against their Galway counterparts. Having narrowly beaten Castlebar in their last game, the Sligo U14s were determined to add another scalp to the pile. They now hold a commanding 8 point lead over Corinthians and Corinthians, who are both on 12 points after 5 games. The team have a break from matches next week and play Buccaneers at home on Saturday 24th November. Training continues as usual on Tuesday, 6.30-8 on New players are always welcome.
Sligo U18.5s took to the pitch against bitter rivals Ballina in a highly contested and tense affair. There is never any love lost between the two neighbouring sides and it was the home side who had the first opportunity to draw first blood, winning a penalty within kickable distance. Hubert Gilvarry struck the ball well, but the upright denied the home side the opening score of the game. Sligo enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the opening 15 minutes, with Ballina struggling to get out of their own half. The game remained scoreless well into the first half, but the visitors eventually settled and indiscipline in the Sligo defence gave Ballina the edge they needed to cross the whitewash and go 7 points ahead.
Sligo were quick to regroup, and a determined Sligo pack were eventually rewarded with the equalising score, when Luke Hogge made a strong run to dot the ball down. The try was converted by Gilvarry. The game continued in the same vein as before, with big hits going in on both sides, and there was nothing between the sides at half time.
The weather then took a turn for the worse, with the rain making handling difficult. A lapse in concentration in the Sligo defence allowed the big centre from Ballina to power through the gap and touch down in the corner. With only 5 minutes left on the clock, a determined Sligo team secured the ball from the restart and a well-worked move fed the ball to Donnacha Byrne, fresh from international duty in Italy, who powered over the line in the corner. The difficult conversion fell short and the two sides remained deadlocked at 12-12 right up to the final whistle.
Members of the club are currently selling the Your Club, Your Country tickets, with 10 fantastic prizes on offer. The top prize, worth around €10,000, will give two lucky people the trip of a lifetime, following the Ireland rugby team around Japan for the rugby world cup next Autumn. Tickets are priced at €10 each and all money raised goes straight to Sligo RFC, as the prizes have been sponsored through the IRFU. Tickets are available through all club members or by contacting Jean 087 2389515