Author Archives: Jean

Back with a Bang

Sligo 43          Ballina 7
The new season kicked off last Sunday with Round 1 of the Connacht Senior League.  This was a highly anticipated fixture, as neighbours and local rivals Ballina RFC had a storming season last year and were promoted to Division 2B to join Sligo and Corinthians, along with the demoted Galwegians. 

Shane Boyle dominates in the lineout

The opening fixture of the season was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of the late Lily Cunningham, mother of Club President, Jacqui Cunningham.  There was a nervous start to the game but Sligo showed their strength in the scrum and Ballina were completely dominated throughout by the strong Sligo pack.

Jack Keegan scored 13 points with the boot

Speedy winger Cal Goddard opened the scoring for Sligo after 10 minutes, but Jack Keegan’s conversion failed to make its mark.  A mere 4 minutes later, outhalf Ryan Feehily kicked through a well-weighted chip over the back line to find Enda Gavin and Sligo crossed the line for the second time.  Keegan split the posts with his conversion, putting the home side 12 points up after 15 minutes, much to the delight of the big home crowd.  Sligo’s dominance in the scrum was beginning to pay dividends and they were rewarded with a penalty just outside the visitors’ 22.  Keegan coolly added another 3 points to the home side’s tally.  First centre Mata Fifita powered over for Sligo’s third try and Keegan brought the score to 22-0 at half time.

Ballina had the stronger start to the second half with a good spell of possession, and played the ball wide to cross the whitewash in the corner.  The conversion was well-struck, with the ball bouncing on the crossbar and going over for the extras.  The home-side regrouped and again threatened the Ballina line, with the pack keeping it tight and using the big ball-carriers to gain the extra yards.  New signing Benroy Sala eventually powered through the defence to score Sligo’s bonus point try. Jack Keegan brought the score to 29-7, with approximately 30 minutes still left on the clock.  Sustained pressure from the home side added a fifth try when Ryan Feehily went over in the corner and Keegan’s conversion was sweetly struck.
Powerful running in the middle of the park with Shane Boyle linking with Sean Mullin and it was Brendan Cunningham who finished off the move by touching down in the corner.  Euan Brown slotted home the extra two points to put 36 points between the sides, as the referee blew up the game.
There are lots of new faces and plenty of experienced ones in the 2019/20 Sligo A.I.L. squad.
Conor Mitchell, Matthew Cosgrove, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill and Matthew Davey will all be a big loss this year but, the club is delighted to have quite an influx of new players.  There are five players coming through from the Youths this season, four of whom were on duty with the Connacht U19s last weekend and the fifth, Brian West, making a big impact when he replaced the injured Mattie Davey.  The return of David Heath and Ross Hickey, along with newcomers Craig Trimble and Benroy Sala means that Sligo have a strong squad and will continue to build on their successes from last year. 

Action from the Connacht Senior League continues next Sunday 1st September in Hamilton Park, when Buccaneers play Sligo at 2.30p.m. Again we call on Sligo RFC supporters to Pack the Park and let Buccs’ hear them roar. 

Condolences to Club President

Lily Cunningham, may she rest in peace

The Club Officers and Members of Sligo RFC offered their sincere condolences to Club President Jacqui Cunningham and family on the death of their mother Lily Cunningham.

Sports always played a big part of the Cunningham household, with son Aidan donning the rugby club colours in his youth and both Lily and her late husband Paddy being members of Strandhill Golf Club. Lily retired from the Golf Club in 2017 after an incredible 40 years on the committee. Lily’s late brother was the former boxing correspondent and sports journalist Sean Kilfeather and she too was a knowledgeable sports fan, who loved to discuss the laws of rugby and the rules of golf with those lucky enough to sit down for a chat with her.  
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Connacht Players do Sligo RFC Proud

Congratulations to all of Sligo RFC’S players who were in action for Connacht last week.  Alasdair Hill was the sole representative for Connacht U16s in their 17-13 win against Munster. The U17s had four players from Sligo in the team, as well as Head Coach Gavin Foley.  Niall O’ Connor, Adam Hunter, Eoin Ryan and Ewan Ripon were all on the team that had a decisive 31-21 win over Munster on the side pitch at Thomond Park last Saturday.

Well played to Eddie Coyle & Micheal Broaders, Sligo RFC’s Connacht representatives with the U18s, who were narrowly beaten by Leinster in a brilliantly, intensive game early last week.  Both Sligo players were on the starting squad for the final game of  the interpros series, but it was a disappointing end for the Connacht U18s as they lost 10-36 to Munster.

Connacht U18 Girls rounded off their season with their first win of the Interpros beating Munster 10-0.  Sligo RFC’s Hannah Johnston played the whole tournament and will now go on to play with Connacht U19s

Well done to Sligo’s Fantastic  Five; Will Whelan, Matthew Earley, Donnacha Byrne, Hubert Gilvarry and Luke Hogge who completed their U19 interpros series with Connacht, with a 28-27 victory over Ulster last Sunday.  Sligo RFC are delighted that all five will be continuing with the club at senior level this season.

Sligo RFC in the Community

Coolera U11 tag rugby team – All-Ireland bronze medallists, Connacht & Sligo Champions

Congratulations to the Coolera U11 tag rugby team, who were bronze medallists in the Community Games National Finals.  The team, their coaches and parents were guests of the club last Sunday at the first senior match of the season.  Club Chairperson Niall Gray introduced the team to the large home crowd at half-time and they were invited back to the clubhouse for a celebratory cake and refreshments.  The club would like to recognise the hard work of coaches Phelim O’Connor and Gabriel Gormley and the support of the Coolera parents.

Connacht Representative Honours

It is the Inter-Pro season and Sligo RFC is well-represented throughout the age-grades. Congratulations to all the players on their call up to Connacht, your hard work and determination is paying off. We wish them all the best of luck in the inter-provincial series. The Connacht U16s have yet to start their series of games but there are four Sligo RFC players on the team in the form of Alastair Hill, Jack Dennison, Sergey O’ Donoghue and David Keyes

Connacht U17s Niall O’Connor, Ewan Ripon, Eoin Ryan and Adam Hunter.
Connacht U18s Eddie Coyle and Micheal Broaders 
Connacht U18 & U19 Girls have a sole representative from Sligo RFC in the form of the talented Hannah Johnston.  An incredible achievement, given the fact that Sligo will only have its first U18 girls’ team this year.
Connacht U19s Hubert Gilvarry, Matthew Earley, Donnacha Byrne and Luke Hogge.

Wanted – coach for aspiring women’s rugby team

Sligo RFC has boasted very successful women’s teams in the past, competing at the highest level in the country. The current Ireland women’s rugby team has two former Sligo RFC players. The Girls’ section of the club has gone from strength to strength and it is essential that we re-establish the senior team to cater for the growth of women’s rugby in the country. Sligo RFC and Connacht Rugby have supports in place for anyone willing to take on the role. Contact 087 2389515 if you are interested in taking on this role.

Scrum-ptious Under New Management

It’s the end of an era for the Scrum-ptious disco as organiser Justin Harte steps down after an incredible 14 years at the helm. Justin has organised the teen rugby disco and has been responsible for raising much needed funds for nearly 15 years. Sligo RFC would like to thank Justin & his family, as well as all the ticket sellers in school, for their invaluable work over the years. Scrum-ptious will continue as usual but it will take a whole committee to fill Justin’s shoes.

The next teen disco will take place on Friday 13th September. We have kept ticket prices at €12 per person and are trialling a new method of distribution. Tickets will only be available through Cosgrove’s Centra, Maugheraboy at specific times. The first tickets go on sale at 8p.m. on Thursday 29th August. Each person will be allowed purchase a maximum of 2 tickets. Tickets cannot be reserved, please do not contact Centra.


Sligo RFC Training Times 2019/20
Sligo RFC continues to go from strength to strength and will boast a total of 23 teams this year. The ever-growing Juvenile section has 8 teams for boys and girls aged 6-12. The Youth section has another 9 teams, with teams for boys U13 – U18.5 and for girls U14 – U18. See details below for training times and follow Sligo RFC on Facebook for match updates and news.

All Players welcome. If you are interested in joining, please come along to training or contact the person listed below for your age group or category.
All training will take place in Sligo R.F.C, Hamilton Park, Strandhill.

JUVENILES – Under 7 to Under 12 (boys & girls)
Training resumes on Saturday 7th September
• Saturdays, 10 – 11:30am.
Contact: Ken O’Neill 086 6181946.
– U7s (Born 2013)            – U8s (Born 2012)           – U9s (Born 2011)                   – U10s (Born 2010)         – U11s (Born 2009)        – U12s (Born 2008)

YOUTHS – Girls (Under 14 – Under 18)
Starts on Monday 26th August at 7 p.m. with a taster session for new players
• U14s (born 2006)
Mondays at 7 – 8.15 p.m.
Contact: Gavin Clinch – 086 857 7630
• U16s (born 2004)
Mondays & Wednesdays at 7 – 8.15 p.m.
Contact: Kieran Treanor – 086 206 5551
• U18.5s (born between 1st July 2001 and 31st December 2002. A player born 30th June 2001, is now considered a Senior player)
Mondays & Wednesdays at 7 – 8.15 p.m.
Contact: Gabriel Gormley – 087 763 6168

YOUTHS – Boys (Under 13 to Under 18.5)
U13s (born 2007)
Wednesdays at 6.30pm. & every other Sunday at 10.45a.m.
Contact: Gavin Laws – 086 602 9711
U14s (born 2006)
Wednesdays at 7pm.
Contact: Emer Bree – 087 629 6919
U15s (born 2005)
Tuesdays at 7 p.m. & Fridays at 6 p.m.
Contact: Brian Roche 086 275 2803
U16s (born 2004)
Contact: Seamus Dennison 087 936 8770
U17s (born 2003)
Thursdays at 7 p.m.
Contact: Hagan McQuaid – 086 722 5912
U18.5s (born between 1st July 2001 and 31st December 2002. A player born 30th June 2001, is now considered a Senior player)
Thursdays at 7 p.m. Contact: Hugh O’ Hehir – 087 237 0646

Senior – Ladies (trying to re-establish a team)
• Mondays & Wednesdays at 7.30 – 8.30 p.m.
Contact: Jean McConnell – 087 238 9515

Senior – Men
• All adult teams
Tuesdays & Fridays at 7p.m.
Contact: Head Coach Paddy Pearson – 087 215 2150