Author Archives: Jean

Silver for U14s & U16s

Connacht Rugby Bank Of Ireland U16 Final, The Sportsground, Galway 18/4/2022 Sligo RFC vs Ballina RFC The Sligo RFC U16’s team Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Sligo 12 Ballina 41

A Connacht silver medal was the reward for the Sligo U16 Girls after a tough encounter against a very strong Ballina side in their Cup final. Sligo were missing some key players, but can be proud of their achievements though out the season.

Connacht Rugby Bank Of Ireland U14 Final, The Sportsground, Galway 18/4/2022 Tuam & Oughterard RFC vs Sligo RFC The Sligo RFC U14’s team Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Sligo 10 Tuam/Oughterard 24

Sligo U14 Girls reached the Cup final after a bruising encounter against Creggs. Their opposition in the final proved too strong in the end, but a Connacht silver medal is a great achievement for the youngest team in the Girls’ youth section

Golden Girls

Sligo 20 Creggs 17
Sligo won their first Girls U-18.5 Connacht Cup Final on Monday evening in the Sportsground after a titanic battle with a strong Creggs side, who had already secured the League title. This didn’t phase the Sligo girls however, who had delivered steadily improved performances throughout the season. 
The game was played in perfect rugby conditions but with the customary westerly wind blowing across the pitch and that wind was to be a factor before the final whistle blew. 
The game was fast and furious from the kick-off with both teams trying to gain the upper hand. Creggs kept the game tight, carrying the ball hard and directly from the start but got very little change from the Sligo ladies who tackled their hearts out and drove their opponents back at every opportunity. It was clear that Sligo had done their homework on their ball carriers as these were met time and again by a pack which double timed their hits to perfection with Filan, Gallagher, Feely and Brady leading the charge in the first ten mins
It took 12 minutes for Sligo to set their back free when a quickly recycled ball from a solid scrum inside their own half was whipped wide by scrum half Nessa O’Sullivan to Aoife Gormley who set the slick Sligo back line into full flow. Gormley found Cliodhna O’Sullivan who made good progress and delivered to Emma Cox who broke the Creggs line and put on the afterburners to sprint a full 40 meters and touch down cleanly for Sligo’s first try to lead by 5. The conversion went wide against the strong Galway wind. 
Sligo collected cleanly from the restart and even though playing against that wind Clearly grew in confidence and began to dominate their opponents but to give Creggs credit they fought hard to thwart the Sligo girls. Set pieces were evenly contested during this period with Sligo moving their opposition around the pitch with their strong passing game until their pressure finally bore fruit again on 30 mins. This was a move involving back and forwards that brought play into the Creggs 22. Strong driving brought Sligo to within 10 meters and a series of pick and drive movements involving the full Sligo pack created the opportunity for Poppy Garvey to burst through the Creggs defence to dot down for Sligos second try to put them 10 nil ahead as the game approached half time. 
Sligo didn’t collect the restart however and Creggs punished them fully. They drove hard towards the Sligo line with ball carriers breaking the gain line and just 2 minutes later they scored their first try from their No 8 as she broke through to touch down under the posts as the game was at 35 mins. The try was converted to leave the score 10-7. 
Even though into overtime in the first half, the referee allowed a restart so Sligo set about attacking once again. Great work by Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Emma Cox and Maeve Donlon saw them move inside the opposition 40 before an unfortunate injury to Cliodhna, who along with Emma Cox had been Sligo’s talisman attacking threat all season, saw her leave the field to a huge ovation from the large Sligo support. 
Sligo led at the interval 10-7 but would have the wind assistance in the second half.  Róisín Grennan slotted into the 12 channel to replace the injured O’Sullivan. 
Sligo began the second half strongly and moved the ball wide through hand to stretch the opposition. Aoife Gormley, Cox and Grennan were prominent as was Cria Flanagan and Sarah Maye. And it was Cria Flanagan who struck the next blow for Sligo 9 mins in, when a move through the back line found its way to the wing and Maye made good progress to find Flanagan who stepped two defenders before sprinting over for Sligo’s third try which Gormley converted to leave the game 17-7 with Sligo dominant. 
But once again Creggs drove back immediately after Sligo’s score. This time a long period of pressure allowing their No 8 to pounce again. This time they were unable to convert into the wind but the game was now down to be decided by a single score as it was poised 17-12. 
Sligo used the wind wisely from the restart, with Gormley, Flanagan and Gallaghers kicks pinning the Creggs girls back. Sligo’s line outs were super all day with Claire Keegan’s darts finding the towering Aimee Smith who gave Sligo a perfect platform from which to launch attacks. Sligo worked the ball into the Creggs 22 again with the entire 15 fully involved. Jenny Craig brought fresh energy and Emma O’Carroll had a number of great carries. All the pressure gave rise to a number of penalty infringements by Creggs and after kicking to touch on a number of occasions, Sligo Captain Kate a Brady chose to kick for the posts with just 10 mins remaining. Gormley calmly slotted the kick to put what proved to be a crucial two scored between the teams.
The last 10 mins was as frenzied as the first 10 with both teams playing high quality rugby and doing everything they could to gain the upper hand. Grennan, Cox and Flanagan carried hard and broke the Creggs line on a number of occasions. Keegan, Garvey, Murray & Smith worked hard at the breakdown to ensure that Creggs ball was slowed or turned over and ball carriers Gallagher, Feely and Brady were available to carry hard at every opportunity. Creggs fought hard however and this time their pressure moved them into the Sligo half. A series of infringements saw a series of penalties awarded and Emma Cox finally ‘took one for the team’ when the ref showed yellow to her, for persistent team fouling. Down to 14 Sligo conceded a late try but it was too little, too late to effect the final outcome and Sligo were crowned Connacht Cup Champions. 
This was a brilliant team performance from the full Sligo squad who have grown in every respect throughout the season. Great work has been done on the pitch by the coaching team of Gabriel Gormley, John Garvey, Liam Filan and John Keegan but this has to be delivered in the pressure of a match environment. On Monday the Sligo girls most certainly did that – in spades! 

Sligo: Claire Keegan, Aisling Feely, Poppy Garvey, Aimee Smyth, Kate Brady, Enya Hughes, Giselle Gallagher, Nessa O’Sullivan, Aoife Gormley, Sarah Maye, Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Emma Cox, Maeve Donlon, Cria Flanagan Replacements: Siobra O’Callaghan, Emma O’Carroll, Jenny Cregg, Briana Gawley, Ciara O’Conallain, Genevieve Griffith, Roisin Grennan, Chloe Earley

Connacht Women’s Plate Final 2022

Time Runs Out for Sligo Senior Women

Sligo RFC Women 17 Westport RFC Women 20

It was a beautiful day last Saturday in the home of Connacht Rugby and the stage was set for the Connacht Women’s Plate final in The Sportsground.  Sligo RFC women had made it to a Connacht final having revived the team after an absence of 8 years.

Sligo started the stronger, dominating in the first 10 minutes.  Captain Jo Williams thought she had opened the scoring after a well-timed support run, but play was called back for an alleged forward pass.  It was Elaine Maguire, the Fermanagh flyer, who dotted down for the first time after 14 minutes.  Sligo worked the ball wide and Maguire’s speed was unmatched on the wing. Westport countered with a series of attacks and were eventually rewarded with the equalising score.  Conversions were proving tricky for both sides, as the infamous westerly crosswind kept the scores at 5-5 after 25 minutes. Sligo were reduced to 14 after a high tackle with Elaine Maguire doing 10minutes on the bench and Westport capitalised on their numerical advantage, adding another try to put them 5 points up.  Maguire had only returned to the pitch when fullback Sophie Kinghan mistimed her tackle and received Sligo’s second yellow of the day.  Scrum half Elaine O’Grady’s game ended after a big tackle against the strong Westport front rows and was replaced by newcomer Aude Bontemps.  Westport again took full advantage of the extra player and were 15-5 up on the half time whistle.

Coach Guilherme Coghetto re-enforced his game plan at half time and rallied his starting fifteen, a third of whom had only taken up rugby this season.

Sophie Kinghan’s return to the foray in the second half proved the impetus the team needed and she ran in a try of her own to mark a spirited Sligo comeback.  Coach Coghetto made strategic changes with the introduction of front row Aisling Feely, flanker Kate Brady and second row Emma O’Carroll. Sligo started to play a more expansive game, with Eve England, Sinead Mc Tieran and Emma Cullen going through the phases, recycling the ball and then the backline of Sarah Woodmartin, Jo Williams and Hannah Kerins spinning the ball wide.  Westport continued to keep the ball tight and were rewarded for their patience when their winger ran a great line and made a break for the Sligo  try line.  Newcomer Kathryn Maguire made her second try-saving tackle of the day, chasing down the ball carrier and stopping her on the Sligo 5metre line.  Kinghan stole the ball and quickly released Elaine Maguire on the wing who ran the length of the pitch through the Westport defence to dot down under the posts for her second try of the day.  Out half Sarah Woodmartin added the extras and Sligo went 2points up with only a quarter of the match left.

Sligo dominated in the lineouts with Vicky Lee stealing ball in the air.  Both teams continued to put in the big tackles, with forwards Rachel Wharton and Annemarie Flaherty stopping the advances of the girls in blue and possession changed hands several times, but it was Westport who broke through the Sligo defence to score an unconverted try and give them a 3point lead, with 10minutes plus injury time left on the clock. 

Retaining possession from the kick off, Sligo charged forward, camping out on the Westport try line, intent on crossing the whitewash and securing the win.  Big carries from Hannah Coen, Orla Evans and Aisling Feely took their toll on the defence, but a handling error returned possession to Westport.  A solid scrum from Sligo kept Westport on the back foot and they were unable to clear their lines.  A combination of Elaine Maguire and Hannah Coen ripped the ball and gave Sligo another opportunity for a final score.  Hooker Orla Evans came within inches of the line but was adjudged to have not released the ball after the tackle and Westport were awarded the penalty.  The ball was kicked to touch and the referee blew the final whistle on the 80minute mark, with no injury time played, breaking the hearts of the spirited Sligo comeback.

While disappointed at the result, Sligo RFC Women can be very proud of achieving Connacht Senior Silver medals a mere seven months after reforming.  With a squad of 30 players, including 11 newcomers to rugby, the future of women’s rugby is looking bright in Sligo RFC.

Sligo: Anne-Marie Flaherty, Orla Evans, Hannah Coen, Sinead Mc Tiernan, Eve England, Rachel Wharton, Vicky Lee, Emma Cullen, Elaine O’Grady, Sarah Woodmartin, Kathryn Maguire, Jo Williams, Hannah Kerins, Elaine Maguire, Sophie Kinghan

Reps: Liz Cullen, Nadia Brosnan, Aisling Feely, Kate Brady, Emma O’Carroll, Aude Bontemps, Katelyn Benson 

Extended squad: Maegan Callaghan, Siobhan Alexander, Jasmine Morgan, Jodie Fergus, Letisha McGarvey, Rachel Mc Partlin, Emma Cox, Niamh Donovan

Last gasp try Sees heartache for Sligo

Sligo 19
Greystones 20

Sligo had the perfect start to the season last week, with a bonus point win over Galwegians, but were under no illusions that this week’s game was going to be a walk in the park.  The previous encounter with Greystones saw a comprehensive victory for the Wicklow team in Dr Hickey Park

Hamilton Park looked resplendent in the winter sun and a good crowd was in attendance to play their part and support the Porter Ford sponsored home side in Round 11 of the Energia All-Ireland League division 2B.

Greystones kicked off, with Sligo attacking the Knocknarea end.  It was the home side who started the brighter, keeping the visitors pinned in their own half for the first ten minutes of the game.  Josh Reeves opened the scoring with a well-struck penalty just outside the 22. The Sligo men appeared hungrier for the ball and set the tone for the game with their quick line speed putting constant pressure on Greystones and setting up good attacking platforms from their solid scrums.

Greystones’ first foray into the Sligo half came after 19 minutes, but the solid Sligo defence forced a knock on and out half Josh Reeves cleared his lines to touch.  The visitors finally breached the Sligo line in the 23rd minute and, along with the conversion, went 4 points ahead. A high tackle on the halfway line reduced the visitors to 14 men on the 30-minute mark.  Reeves found touch from the ensuing penalty.  The Sligo lineout was solid and another penalty was awarded as the Sligo maul was hauled down.  Reeves reduced the gap to a single point, with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.  The pace of the game was relentless, with both teams playing the width of the pitch.  Greystones were next to score, lining up out half and captain Killian Marmion to slot home a drop goal from inside the Sligo 22 and bing the score to 6-10 in favour of the visitors.

Now it was the turn of Sligo to bring the play into the Greystones 22. Quick thinking from scrum half Brendan Cunningham, playing advantage after a knock on, delivered a fast ball out to the back line, resulting in a sweeping play across the width of the pitch and Cal Goddard crashed over the whitewash but was held up.  Greystones cleared their lines and the referee signalled the end of a pulsating first half of rugby.

Sligo started the second half with an even greater level of intensity and were quickly rewarded with a penalty just outside the Greystones’ 22.  Reeves’ kicking was certainly on point, again narrowing the gap to a single point between the sides. It was the home side who continued to pile on the pressure forcing the knock ons from their rapid line speed.  A patient build-up on the 50-minute mark, again resulted in Sligo using their speed and the width of the pitch to get the ball to their pacey winger.  There was no stopping Goddard this time as he dived low over the line to the delight of the very vocal home crowd.  Reeves continued his 100% kicking record to add the extras and put the home side six points up.

The Sligo defence held resolute with the next attack against the energy-sapping 15 phases from Greystones, but a penalty for offside gave Marmion the chance to claw 3 points back on the board. As the number of crunching tackles increased from the Sligo men, so too did the volume from the animated crowd.  Greystones again showed great patience going through the phases, but they were being closed down at every opportunity and found themselves being driven back 20m by the determined home side. Josh Reeves pounced on an errant pass and Sligo regained possession. The ball was spun from coast to coast through quick hands, and then the even quicker feet of Guilherme Coghetto split the ‘Stones defence to sail through for a magnificent try.  The cheers soon turned to groans as the touch judge had spotted an infringement, which led to a yellow card for the despondent Cal Goddard, a penalty for Greystones and no try for Sligo.

Greystones failed to capitalise on their possession and Sligo quickly regained the ball. Out half Josh Reeves gave a masterclass in pitch awareness and positional kicking, putting pressure on the Greystones fullback at every opportunity.  A kick deep into the visitors’ 22 isolated the number 15 and Ryan Feehily was quickest to react, forcing the penalty and giving Reeves the opportunity to extend the lead again. Reeves maintained his 100% kicking record and the crowd knew they were in for a nail-biting finish, with a long 12 minutes left on the clock.

Sligo’s line speed continued to put Greystones under pressure, Enda Gavin and Ryan Feehily forcing the handling errors.

The home side regained possession and showed great composure going through the phases not far from the madding crowd.  The intensity was ferocious as the game entered the final 5minutes, with a potential defeat of the table toppers on the cards.  There was a collective groan as a penalty for holding on was awarded to Greystones.  Needing 7 points for the win, Marmion kicked to touch.  The expected maul never came and the ball was moved wide, but again the Sligo line speed forced another knock on, much to the delight of the frenzied home support.

The Sligo scrum had stood solid throughout the game, with Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley and Pedro Bengalo shoring up a determined pack. The first effort went past the ninety and a reset was called.  The second scrum went the same way and the Sligo pack found themselves being driven backwards, and the penalty was awarded to the Wicklow men. Marmion quickly found touch with 3 minutes left to play. The Greystones line out was clean and they set up a maul.  With Knocknarea and Queen Maeve at their backs, the Sligo men refused to budge an inch and the maul remained motionless.  Knowing they were going to drive over the line and spotting a chink in the Sligo defence, Greystones spun off the side of the maul and dived over for a try.  The conversion broke the hearts of the home crowd. 

With a single minute left on the clock, there was no fairy tale ending for the gallant Sligo side and the referee signalled the end of the game to a deafening silence in Hamilton Park. The losing bonus point was little consolation for a side who had put their heart and soul into every tackle and every carry.

Sligo return to the battlefield next Saturday, when they play Belfast Harlequins in Deramore Park.

Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Ryan Feehily, Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Josh Reeves, Brendan Cunningham, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, Robert Holian, James O’Hehir, Donnacha Byrne. Reps, Jake Sexton, Christian Nielsen, Sean Wynne,  Andrew Ward, Finn Young,

President’s New Year’s Eve Address

As President, and on behalf of Club Chairperson Tom and all our committee members, I would like to wish our players, members, supporters, sponsors and associates a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

To all our teams, from Senior men and women to Youths and Minis, I wish them all the best of luck in their endeavours for 2022.

The past year has seen some outstanding achievements both on and off the field. Our membership is at an all time high. Teams at all levels continue to do the club proud. I must congratulate our U15 and U17 boys’ teams on their recent Connacht Division 1 league wins. Also, our U14s who narrowly lost out.

Our women’s section is growing from strength to strength. A fact shown in November by the club’s ability to field four teams U14, U16, U18 and Senior women in the one weekend. A huge achievement and congrats to all team managers and coaches involved.

The playing numbers in our Mini’s section continues to grow and I would like to thank all our coaches, parents, grandparents, and friends who continue to make this section of our club the success it is. Our Minis and Youths are the backbone of our club and will ensure a bright future for years to come.

Our Senior men’s teams continue to develop and shine. I thank all involved for their commitment to date. I wish all team managers, coaches, and players the very best for 2022.

The club has just launched its policy document;  ‘Rugby – The Sligo Way 2021-22’. This document sets out our purpose, our vision, and our philosophy within the club. It is our hope and wish that all involved with the club will follow its guidelines and that it will be implemented by all sections in our club, both on and off the field of play. Thank you to all involved in the production of this important contribution to our club.

Finally, to all our sponsors, supporters, alickadoos, Magic Bus crew, parents, grandparents, friends, local and overseas, I would like to express, on behalf of all in the club, a big, big thank you.

Yours in rugby,

Niall Gray

President Sligo RFC

U15s are Kings of Connacht

Sligo U15s played a very strong Bucanneers team in the U15 league final on the 5th of December 2021 in Creggs Rugby Club for the League title.
The north-western men started strongly against the table toppers from the other half of the league. Sligo weathered some early nerves to make their way into the opposition 22 in a game played under blue skies. Impressive centre Cillian O’Neill darted through following a sustained bout of pressure to intercept a pass scoring under the posts. Cillian then tacked on the conversion to give Sligo a 7-0 lead in the first ten minutes. Sligo gathered the restart and flowing back play brought them inside Buccaneers’ half where repeated good rucking by Sligo’s well drilled forwards resulted in a penalty. Electing to kick this sailed narrowly wide and play moved back to centre of the pitch where two evenly matched teams went toe to toe for long periods. Buccaneers were the heavier and physically stronger team, getting the upper hand in the set pieces but Sligo’s mobile pack complimented their fleet footed backs playing an open brand of rugby.
The game was played on a beautiful surface in front of a packed stand with both teams contributing to a nail biter. The first half favoured Sligo but there were ominous signs of Bucanneers’ strength with a number of lineout steals and scrums against the head. Sligo continued to play off limited possession however with livewire scrum half Andrew Ryan feeding out half James McGetterick whose first instinct was to run . Centres Cillian O’Neill
and Paddy Brady ran smoothly and passed beautifully time and again to bring Conor Van Rensburg into the game from fullback. Alert wingers Conor McGoldrick and Tadhg Murphy were prominent in both attack and defence but in truth the backs and forwards were matched by Buccaneers throughout.
Half time came at 7-0 to Sligo and this was never going to be enough against a team with a number of bigger, faster players than their opposite numbers. Sure enough a lapse in concentration allowed Buccaneers to run a penalty, bump some tiring Sligo players and clever hands fed a centre at full tilt to score. Pushed out wide by last minute tackling the conversion was too much and it was game on at 7-5. This heralded a period of domination by Buccaneers who were camped inside the Sligo 22 for 15 minutes with a number of attacks repelled by last ditch tackles and even a goal line drop out, when Buccaneers were held up over the line. Sligo were charged down during this time but always had a man alive to dive on the rebound. On another day Buccs would have scored heavily! This period also heralded the performance of the season defensively from Sligo. Robbie Gilleece on his debut season , hooker Ryan Burrows, blossoming tighthead Roghan O’Neill
formed the first line.Twin threats in the second row James Mackey Naoise Fitzgerald were immense who along with backrows Will Draper, Jake Laws and Sean Keaney Sligo had decided they wouldn’t miss a tackle and didn’t. The coaching staff of Ken O’Neill, Carl Van Rensburg , Aidan Mackey, Gavin Laws and head coach Roger Burrows were less sanguine than the team as all of them aged visibly during the second half.
Substitutes Ricardo Gambi Wheelan and Sam Garvey added to this wonderful defensive effort when coming on in the second half. The backs were not to be out done and when a forward wasn’t tackling every back on the field filled the gap and threw themselves into the fray.

The travelling supporters and coaching group were as tired as the players when mercifully Conor Van Rensburg lifted the siege as he pounced on a loose ball and ran 60 metres to be hauled down just shy of the try line. With 30 seconds to go a fumbled lineout ball was taken on by Roghan O’Neill only to be bundled into touch ending the game. The final whistled capped a wonderful second half defensive display for Sligo to emerge Connacht U15 League champions 2021 by the narrowest of margins 7-5 against a Buccaneers team who will doubtless have silverware in their future. The travelling squad of 30 players then stayed on to support and celebrate with the Sligo U17 team who also won their league final on the same pitch to mark a wonderful day for underage rugby in Sligo.

U17 league Connacht rugby title for Sligo RFC

Sligo RFC 26     Buccaneers RFC 10

Sligo RFC U17s produced a classy team performance in seeing off the spirted challenge of a Buccaneers U17 team.  Captained, and lead superbly by Ambrose Bamber, Sligo set about their task imposing a robust defence from the kick off. The teams aggressive defence led to a superb intercept try by Sligo’s flying winger Ronan O’ Hehir within three minutes of the start with Oisin O’Neill’s conversion leaving the score 7-0 to Sligo.

Buccaneers, playing with the aid of breeze, attacked Sligo thereafter, kicking for position. The Sligo defence was firm and break out runs by Oisin O’Neill and Ronan O’Hehir continued to test the Buccaneers’ line. Sligo’s excellent game management established a foothold in the Buccaneers 22. Sligo dominated possession and went close to extending their lead on several occasions only thwarted by desperate Buccaneers’ defence and a penalty awarded against Sligo. Five minutes from the end of the first half, Buccaneers made a rare foray into the Sligo 22 and were awarded a penalty, which their out half converted to leave the score, Sligo leading at half time 7-3.

Sligo continued their high pressure game once again in the second half.  The Sligo lineout was now in total control stealing several Buccanneers’ throw-ins.  A searing break by first centre Conor Creaven, followed by a series of pick and go efforts, led to a try 12 minutes into the second half for the industrious hooker Keelan Schoen with the hard yards earned by Max Hunter, Matthew Gallagher, Garth Mc Ginty and Aran Platt. Once again Oisin O’Neill converted to leave Sligo leading 14-3. Oisin O’Neill used the backing breeze to maximum advantage pinning Buccaneers in their own 22 with dazzling kicking for position.  On the 20minute mark, Ambrose Bamber no.8, picked and drove to the Buccaneers try line.  An excellent clear out of the ruck led to hooker Keelan Schoen diving over the try line over to score Sligo’s third try. Once again Oisin O’Neill converted to leave Sligo in control leading 21-3.

Buccaneers, to their credit, rallied and, despite a superb turnover over steal from Aran Gilligan, scored a consolation try by Sean Rohan 5 minutes from time, converted by out half Andrew Quinn, to leave the score 21-10 to Sligo.Sligo were not done yet, Robert O’Kelly-Lynch ran ball back powerfully at Buccaneers, slick passing and an offload from Gerard Murtagh, led to a try from Ronan O’Hehir.  Final score Sligo 26—Buccaneers 10

This was an overall team performance with strong scrum anchored by front row of Aran Platt, Keelan Schoen, Oisin Quinn. The lineouts, marshalled by Tom Walsh and Matthew Gallagher, were a continued source of clean and quick ball, as well as steals of the Buccaneers’ throws.  The back row of Malachi Cullen, captain Bamber and powerhouse Max Hunter dominated their opposite numbers. Robert O’Kelly-Lynch was safe and secure at full back ably assisted by Alex Harte on the wing, centres Conor Creaven and Stefan Roche were rock solid and carried ball too great effect.  Half back Oisin O’Neill and Garth McGinty controlled the pace and tempo to great effect.

This team has now won has now won two Connacht League titles, U15 and U17, and has constantly improved, having lost out narrowly in finals at U13 and U14 level.

Sligo RFC U17s: Aran Platt, Keelan Scheon (2t),Oisin Quinn, Matthew Gallagher, Tom Walsh, Max Hunter, Ambrose Bamber (c), Malachi Cullen , Garth McGinty, Alex Harte, Oisin O’ Neill ( 3 conv), Conor Creaven, Stefan Roche, Ronan O’ Hehir (2t), Robert O’Kelly-Lynch, Jordan Haven, Aran Gilligan, Gerard Murtagh, Matthew Quinn-Gorman , James Crawford, Lochlann Jordan, Luke McNamee, Michael Honeyman , Ben Hayden, James Horan, Jack Deegan, Senan Fallon, Max McKenna, Colm McGonagle

Coaching and management team: Joe Walsh Head Coach, assisted by Stanley Hunter, Brian Roche and Team Manager Sean Creaven.

Simply MNÁSOME

Sligo’s U16 Girls, U18.5 Girls and Senior Women made it three from three this weekend, as they all claimed maximum points from their games.

Sligo U16 Girls

The U16s travelled to Corinthian Park on Sunday night and played under the floodlights.  The home side were no match for the 24-strong Sligo squad, who scored 54points with no reply.

Not to be outdone by their younger counterparts, the U18.5 Girls put on a magnificent display of rugby at home to outshine the Connemara All Blacks.  The girls’ defence was solid, with the visitors only crossing the whitewash once.  The flowing rugby and linking resulted in a score of 48 points at the final whistle.

Sligo U18.5 Girls

The newly-formed senior women’s team travelled to Heffernan Park last Friday night to play the second round of the Connacht Women’s League, in a game rescheduled from earlier in the season.

A squad of 20 players braved the wintry weather and gusting winds, and were rewarded for their efforts, as they were awarded all 5 points from the game, with the opposition failing to field the minimum 12 players.  Both sides agreed on a challenge match, with the visitors lending 4 players to the home side.

Five Sligo players made their debut, only taking up rugby in the last two months.  A further five players made their senior rugby debut, having come up through the Youth systems in Sligo, Corrib, Midleton and Kerry.

Sligo Senior Women

Sligo RFC Women move to 4th place in the table, with a game in hand, just above Buccaneers, their opposition next weekend.

Training continues every Monday at 7.30pm and Wednesday at 6.30pm.

Sligo U15s continue their strong run of home form

Sligo      36

Ryan Burrows celebrates the opening try of the game

Galwegians    7

Sligo U15s continued their strong run with an emphatic, home win in the league over a physically bigger Galwegians team. Sligo began the game with Cillian O’Neill kicking the home team into the opposition 22. Galwegians, starting some new players in this game, were unfortunately guilty of a number of technical infringements, resulting in Sligo maintaining pressure in the opening minutes until mobile hooker Ryan Burrows dummied and crossed for the first score.

The pattern for the game was established with strong running from Galwegians meeting committed defence from the smaller, but cohesive, Sligo pack winning penalties. Open play, after good passing from new centre partnership Conor McGoldrick and James McGetterick, put Tadhg Murphy and Heath Jeffries in space repeatedly but they were marshalled into touch on each occasion. Incisive fullback Conor Van Rensburg capped a fine all-round display with a first half try popping between the centres to give Sligo a 10point advantage. Jake Laws at number 8 had a number of rumbles from the base of the scrum before finally getting over to make it 15-0 at half time.

The Sligo boys were certainly in a game with Galwegians’ with runners threatening to break through every time but excellent cover tackles by a committed back row of captain William Draper, Michael Cosgrove and when he came on in rotation Sean Keaney fearless all day. Scrum half Andrew Ryan had a fine all round game, nearly scoring on a number of occasions only to be held up. Props Sam Garvey and substitute Robbie Gileece got through a mountain of work and rock solid tighthead Roghan O’Neill added to a fine season when bursting through for a try under the posts in the second half. Second row pairing Naoise Fitzgerald and James Mackey were giving away a significant size advantage to their opponents, but were the pick of the forwards on defensive duties without missing a tackle all day to cap a very fine display. Ted Keyes slotted into the backrow in the second half with no change in the high quality defensive effort. Backs JD Barnicle came onto the wing in the second half getting better each game, as is new second row Kellan Pol-Wajszczak. Special mention to livewire wing/fullback replacements Mark Greer and Harry Dennison who were unlucky not to score but added great momentum to the team.

Cillian O’Neill’s weaving run contrasted with Sean Keaney’s barnstorming run down the middle with each awarded a second half try to showcase the different ways the game can be played. James McGetterick took over the kicking duties from a hamstrung O’Neill to slot 3 conversions for a final score of 36-7 which flattered Sligo. Galwegians responded with a try in the second half and were only denied by fine cover tackles on two further occasions. Galwegians had a number of injuries prior to the game and, as their new team mates bed in, will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in future. Sligo’s large squad didn’t all play due to league rules, but the season rolls on with competition for places heating up in this entertaining team.