Category Archives: News

UPDATE: Return to Rugby Roadmap

The IRFU have reviewed the Government of Ireland Phase 3 guidelines for the return of sporting activity from 29th June and have updated the Return to Rugby Roadmap for clubs.

All clubs must complete the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage before moving to the resumption of training at any level.

Key Points:

·         Clubs in ROI that have completed the COVID19 Safety Planning Stage can advance to Non-Contact Rugby Stage from the 1st July, 2020

·         As per above conditions, Clubs can advance to Contact Rugby Stage from 20th July 2020

·         IRFU will provide further detail on Non-Contact and Contact stages of Return to Rugby by 26th June, 2020

·         Update pending on Non-Contact training element of Step 2 of the NI Coronavirus Regulations

·         Paperless Pre-Return to Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form available from 13th July 2020

·         Club competitions are set to commence in September 2020

·         Player welfare a key focus of the Return to Rugby Roadmap

·         IRFU to issue supplementary PPE kits to clubs w/c 29th June 2020


The full statement goes into specific detail about What Clubs can do in the Non-Contact Stage (From Wednesday 1st July, 2020). Please read the full statement here

HAMILTON PARK REMAINS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

There was exciting news from Irish Rugby last week when they launched a roadmap aimed at the graduated reopening of rugby clubs & return to rugby activities. 
The club have a lot of planning & procedures to put into place before a return to play can happen.
Our specific return to play can only be planned once all the necessary procedures/risk assessments have been completed and submitted to the IRFU.

COVID compliance officers will be appointed & trained for each team. We will keep you informed as the club work towards a safe return to rugby and directives for running rugby evolve.

Sligo RFC will issue updates as available, but for now the club & pitches remain closed. We ask everyone to respect this until further notice.


ANSWER SLIGO RUGBY’S CALL

𝙒𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙤𝙧 𝙍𝙪𝙣 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙎𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙤 𝙍𝙪𝙜𝙗𝙮 𝘾𝙡𝙪𝙗 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙨.            𝙒𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙥! 🇧🇪 

Due to COVID 19 pandemic, there has been a halt put to sporting activities and fundraising opportunities for charities and sports teams alike. Sligo Rugby Club has had to cancel all of its traditional fundraisers which are the lifeblood of the Club. Now more than ever our club needs your support.

This crisis is the biggest challenge the Sligo Samaritans has ever faced. Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. They are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are waiting for your call. Freephone them on 116 123.

Everything we can raise for them will go towards keeping their doors and phone lines open so that they can continue to be here for us.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴?                          All club players from U7s to Senior, all supporters and friends of Sligo Rugby Club have decided to take matters into their own hands and set out to claim the virtual Grand Slam glory and raise some badly needed funds for both Sligo Rugby Club and The Samaritans.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻 “Grand Slam”?    It all started on the June Bank Holiday Monday we set off to virtually claim the Triple Crown by walking or running 2,000km from Sligo to Edinburgh Stadium, to Twickenham, to the Millennium Stadium and home.  Having reached Cardiff, in just over a week, we set our sights on the greater glory of conquering Paris and Rome and laying claim to the title of the virtual Grand Slam.

𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗗𝗼𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲?      Everyone can join in – players, supporters and friends of Sligo RFC. It’s very simple – answer the call by following the steps below

1. Go out and walk or run in your club colors – respecting Social Distancing of course                            

2. When you are finished take a selfie with the thumbs up (Spread the positivity!)                                            

3. Post on your social media tagging @SligoRFC (just telling us how far you went and use the hashtags #TripleCrown #SligoRFC

4. Finally, donate to the GoFundMe campaign : shorturl.at/oxzD1

A message from Sligo RFC President Jacqui Cunningham

Club President 2019/20 Jacqui Cunningham pictured with Cork Constitution Vice President Donal Lenehan

I know, like myself, you are all disappointed at the abrupt end of our rugby season, especially due to such difficult and challenging circumstances for us all.
This Saturday, April 18th, would have been our final AIL fixture against Galwegians at home in Hamilton Park. I had certainly hoped it would not have been my final game as President.

What a season we have had as a Club coming now in to our 130th anniversary year winning both the Connacht Senior League and Cup for the first time in our history. Both definite, stand out moments for me as President for our team to have achieved such successes. Winning the Connacht Senior Cup led to an historic meeting with Cork Con, captained of course by a Sligo man Niall Kenneally and represented, as Vice President, by the one and only Donal Lenihan. It certainly was a fantastic and proud day for our Club and team, led by co-captains Ryan Feehily and Shane O’Hehir, both on and off the pitch.

It has been a roller coaster season with some amazing and exciting rugby played by us and some heartbreak moments from last minute scores against us.
As you all know by now our Senior Coaching & Management Team of Paddy, Jason, John and John are finishing after two fantastic seasons at the helm. I cannot express enough our gratitude to them all for their commitment and professionalism at the helm. They have given us two fantastic seasons that none of us will forget. Thank you all so much, you will certainly be a hard act to follow. We look forward to you joining the crew on the magic bus in the future as it will help to bring down the age profile!

I would like to congratulate the U15s on their Connacht League title and The Gulls, who will forever have the accolade of being the only team to finish the 2019/20 season.  Thanks to the Development Squad for their continued commitment on and off the pitch.
I would like to thank everyone involved in our great Club; all of our players from the 21 teams, all of our Coaching & Management teams, all Committee members, all volunteers, all of our Club members from near and far and of course a special thanks to all the parents, partners and family members of our players/coaches for your support in enabling the commitment that they give to the Club.
A special thank you to our supporters who honestly are the best and the most-travelled of all the Clubs that we meet in the AIL.
I would personally like to thank the following ladies for all their help throughout the season, it was very much appreciated : Jean McConnell (P.R.O.) for her outstanding dedication and commitment to Sligo RFC, Mary O’Hehir and her Catering Team for all the amazing pre-match lunches and ongoing commitment to the Club, Martha Cosgrove (Secretary) for her organisational skills in a very demanding role.  Many thanks to all of the Committee Members (too many to mention) for all their hard work and tiredness commitment to the Club – again much appreciated.

It has been an honour and a privilege to have represented Sligo RFC as President this season. I would personally like to thank all who have supported me during this time, this support was very much appreciated.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the role of President and wish every success to in-coming President Niall Gray.
Finally, I look forward to the eventual start of rugby again for Sligo and all around our great country. We have all missed it, but  have especially missed the camaraderie that comes from it. I look forward to meeting you all again when we get through this. Keep safe and well.
Jacqui Cunningham
Sligo Rugby Club President 2019/20

Recruitment Campaign for Professional Director of Rugby

Position: Director of Rugby

Responsibilities: The Director of Rugby is responsible for the playing structure of the club (for Senior rugby in the club) and will coach our 1st and 2nd teams. The post-holder’s primary responsibility is for the recruitment, development and management of all players (senior players) and coaches in the club.

The Director of Rugby will be responsible for the vision, strategic direction and management of rugby in the club, thereby maintaining the continuous development of the club and its players

This role includes:

  • Lead the Elite Rugby (AIL 2B and Connacht Junior 1A) agenda within the Club. Working in conjunction with the Rugby Chairman/Committee, team management and coaches to create processes, training plans and an environment that will enable players to succeed on and off the field.
  • Develop and Implement a coordinated coaching programme for all teams (senior teams). Develop and implement a coordinated coaching programme throughout all sections of the Club.
  • Co-ordinating the implementation of the Club’s agreed playing philosophy throughout all sections of the Club (senior teams).
  • Co-ordinate with the Rugby Committee on the recruitment and retention of players, coaches and management and developing and maintaining links with local schools, IT Sligo and Connacht Rugby.
  • Oversee the implementation of the IRFU Long Term Player Development programme throughout the Club.
  • Report to the Executive Committee on rugby matters and make recommendations on improvements/ initiatives that need to be implemented.
  • Provide succession planning to ensure that qualified coaches are appointed to all teams and receive the appropriate training required by attending designated coaching courses.
  • Set behavioural standard policies for all teams (senior teams) at that start of the season.
  • Liaise with the Club coaches, players committee and team captains on matters such as playing facilities, equipment, playing gear etc.
  • Be aware of all administrative procedures regarding player registration and eligibility.

Applicants will need to have experience at a senior level (IRFU Stage 4 or equivalent) and be able to demonstrate the ability to implement change along with an outstanding commitment to the further development of rugby in the club. They will be committed to providing quality opportunities and experiences for all players, developing skills and excellence.

The qualifications and attributes of the successful applicant can be outlined as follows:

  • Relevant coaching experience with a successful track record at a high level within rugby.
  • A comprehensive understanding of the running of an AIL rugby club and its associated teams as well as being responsible for a large number of the operational aspects of the club.
  • The ability to build, lead and manage a team of coaches and support staff (across adult and youth) forming strong relationships based on mutual respect and trust, reinforced with excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • An in-depth knowledge and experience of rugby at the higher levels with a view to player recruitment and development.

Hours and financial package are for discussion at interview stage.

Applications for this opportunity should be sent by email only to:

info@sligorfc.ie

The closing date for applications is Friday, May 1st, 2020.

Thank you to Senior Coaches & Management

Having made the play-offs last year, this season will always be known as the season of what might have been.  Chasing another top 4 playoff spot and lying in 6th place, a single point behind Greystones (5th), the last four games of the season would have been epic. However, this was not to be and the rugby season was cut short with one foul swoop, Sligo Gulls will have the accolade of being the only one of the 21 Sligo teams to finish the 2019/20 season.

It goes without saying that all of the hard work on the pitch could not have been achieved without the work behind the scenes and the fervent support from the side-lines. Success at this level requires a concerted effort by a large number of people, each focused on playing their part in the ongoing story of our wonderful club: The management and coaching staff are at the core of this venture. 

Curtailed Rugby Season marks the End for Senior Coaches & Management

Sligo R.F.C. would like to recognise these achievements as being earned, on merit, by a special group of people.  Senior head coach Paddy Pearson, Assistant coach Jason East and the senior management team of John Kane and John Keegan, who will all be stepping down from their roles after two years at the helm.  We would like to sincerely thank them for their tireless commitment to the club.  It is difficult to put into words the amazing job they did this year, showing skill, ambition, and a relentless desire to pursue excellence, which they did by creating a strong, team environment and securing the Connacht League and Cup double for the first time in the history of the club.  You have left very big boots to fill. 

IRFU and Provinces Suspend All Rugby Activity

The Irish Rugby Football Union, together with Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster Rugby have announced the suspension of all Domestic Rugby activity from 6pm this evening 12th March until the 29th March (inclusive), in response to the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus (Covid – 19) pandemic. 

Future Domestic Rugby activity will be reviewed in line with government advice.

Training and Playing:

All Rugby activities across Clubs and Schools , from minis to adult rugby, must now cease. 

Clubhouse Operations:

While Rugby Clubs may wish to continue to operate facilities such as bars and function-rooms they must observe government restrictions in relation to the number of people that may attend indoor (no more than 100 people) and outdoor (no more than 500 people) events.

Impact on fixtures of note:

We will work with clubs and schools to rearrange fixtures, such as the Schools Cup finals.

Professional Game:

Updates, when available, in relation to the professional game will come from tournament organizers.

No Joy in Galway

Corinthians RFC 24 Sligo RFC 8

Round 14 of Energia All Ireland division 2B action saw Sligo travel to Galway to take on Corinthians following the postponement of the fixture due to storm Jorge last weekend. 
Corinthians fielded a formidable squad, boasting 9 players with Connacht Eagles experience while Sligo were strengthed with the return of Mata Fifita in his first game since picking an arm injury in the first half of the season.

 The locals won the toss and elected to play against the stiff breeze in the first half. Sligo started brightly and used the conditions well to keep the Galway men pinned in their own 22 for the open 15 minutes. 

Sligo’s endeavour was rewarded when Philip Carter squeezed in the left corner to open the scoring following a well worked right to left move.

 Sligo continued to pressure their hosts with Shane Boyle, Tom Gormely and Kuba Wojtkowicz all making inroads with some fine carrying and Stephen Kerins and Ryan Feehily proving a handful. Sligo’s effort was rewarded midway through the half with a Euan Brown penalty but with conditions rapidly deteriorating rather the visitors let a number of chances slip and failed to significantly add to their tally. 

A lapse in Sligo’s discipline just before half time gave Corinthians a rare attackIng opportunity and centre Cathal Evans took full advantage by chipping the defence, collecting and dotting down under the crossbar. Conor Dean converted to leave Sligo holding the narrowest of leads at the interval. 

Sligo turned to face the wind and rain in the second half and held possession to work their way into the scoring zone. Unfortunately, a wayward kick turned over possession and the chance was lost.Corinthians made the most of the let off, used the wind to boot the ball downfield and with a massive shift in momentum scored their second try of the day. 

Sligo continued to battle but couldn’t regain the upper hand and a Dean penalty and a third Corinthians try at the death meant the Yeats men had to leave empty handed. 
With 34 points and 4 games remaining Sligo are still in contention for a play off spot and will be looking to get back on track when they travel to Dungannon next Saturday. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Stevenson Park.

Sligo : Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Stephen Kerins, Mark Keegan, Matthew Earley, Tom Gormely, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Shane Boyle, Mata Fifita, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Donnacha Byrne. Reps : James O’Hehir, Jason East, Brian West, Matt Davey, Daire Byrne

The West’s Awake

Sligo RFC 27 Greystones RFC 3

For the second week in a row Sligo locked horns with illustrious Leinster opponents and for the second week in a row Sligo claimed the spoils. 

Round 13 of Energia All Ireland League Division 2B action saw Sligo host Greystones RFC in an intense encounter at Strandhill on Saturday.

 Having despatched title contenders Blackrock In their own backyard last Weekend, Sligo picked up where they left off and repeated the dose with an emphatic victory over the Wicklow outfit. 

Despite the incessant midweek rain , Hamilton Park was a credit to the excellent work of grounds chairman Brian Roche and the teams took to the pitch with good underfoot conditions. 

The visitors won the toss and elected to play with the stiff breeze towards the Knocknarea end and used the conditions to pin Sligo into their own 22 for the opening exchanges. 

Possession was a valuable commodity, and the visitors owned the ball for the first quarter, testing the Sligo defence at every opportunity. Sligo were not to be broken however and huge defensive tackles from Diarmuid O’ Dowd Hill, Brian West and Ciaran Cassidy repelled the attack and Greystones were limited to a 3 points with a penalty on the half hour. 

Having weathered the early Greystones onslaught Sligo finally got their hands on the ball and efficiently worked their way into the Greystones half. Kuba Wojtkowicz and Tom Gormley started to carry with intent and the endeavour was rewarded with a penalty which Euan Brown excellently converted to put the sides level at the interval.

Following the resumption Sligo immediately struck a major blow. Brown collected a ‘stones clearance on the Sligo 10 metre line and immediately looked to counter. The outhalf stepped two defenders and made his way into the visitors half before linking with his support and the ball made its way to flying winger Calum Goddard. Goddard raced into the 22 and supporting hooker Shane O’Hehir collected and raced in to dot down to the right off the posts. Brown slotted the conversion.

With Sligo ahead, as if on cue the weather bared it’s teeth. The wind rose and a shower of hail swept across the pitch making life horrendous for both teams. One loyal Sligo supporter was heard to describe the scenario as ‘Artic conditions of Atlantic proportions’ but Sligo stood strong and continued to dominate their visitors in all facets. 

Brown increased the lead with another well struck penalty kick to give Sligo a cushion and keep momentum for the local effort.

Mark Keegan was a powerhouse in the front row as the Sligo scrum took over. Enda Gavin tackled himself to a standstill before being replaced by the equally effective Daire Byrne. On a day not designed for wingers, Phillip Carter produced one of his best displays in a Sligo shirt creating havoc in the visitors defence with many carries.

The hail shower abated but Sligo continued to dominate. Stephen Kerins was producing another masterclass from scrum half, directing operations with military like precision ably supported by Mark Butler who demonstrated his tactical nous with some fine positional kicking.

 Jason East and his pack earned a scrum penalty for Sligo 10 minutes into the second half which Brown converted into another three points before Sligo struck the killer blow.  

A Greystones move on the halfway line was snuffed out by the vigilant Sligo defence with notable work from Matt Davey. The ball came loose and the excellent Ryan Feehily was first to react, fly-kicking into the visitors 22. The chase ensued, and Feehily won the race to tap the ball closer to the ‘stones line.  Byrne secured the ball at the ruck and Shane Boyle drove over the line, Brown converted and Sligo were ahead by 20 to 3.

With 5 minutes to go a rampant Sligo were rewarded with a third try. A sweeping left to right move involving a fine carry from Matt Earley, Goddard collected on the edge to  force his way over in the corner. Brown again converted with the kick of the day and moments later the ref gave the three blasts signaling the end of the game.

Sligo now move to 34 league points, just 1 point from the playoff position and with current form will be confident to be in in the mix for the promotion playoffs come the seasons end. 

Next up is a trip to Galway to face Corinthians, with Sligo having defeated the Galway men in the Connacht Senior Cup Final and only one AIL point between the sides a massive match up is expected. The game kicks off at 2.30 in Cloonacauneen next Saturday. 

Sligo Ryan Feehily, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Stephen Kerins, Mark Keegan, Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Shane Boyle, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Jason East. Reps Matthew Earley, Brian West, Daire Byrne, Matt Davey, Sean Wynne.

Sligo Sink The ‘ Rock

Blackrock RFC 5

Sligo RFC 10

In the twelfth round of Energia All Ireland league Div 2B matches Sligo were given the task of travelling to the capital to lock horns with Blackrock College in a repeat of last years division 2B promotion playoff. Blackrock took the spoils with a late score that day and repeated the dose with a last gasp victory over Sligo in Strandhill in November. Sligo were determined to turn the tables and stood up and bested their much vaunted Dublin rivals with display of courage, skill and a tremendous amount of heart.

With storm Dennis baring its teeth, it was batten down the hatches time as the teams took to the field. The home team won the toss and elected to play against the buffeting gales so Sligo knew a good start was vital. The visitors immediately turned up the pressure and an early quick lineout move between Shane O’Hehir and Jason East allowed Sligo to maul their way to within inches of the home line. Sligo continued to batter the line but unfortunately a handling error at a crucial moment allowed ‘Rock to clear their lines.

The half began to take a pattern with Sligo pinning their hosts into their own 22 but the scorekeeper remained untroubled as the Sligo pressure failed to yield points. Despite the lack of scores Sligo continued to battle with the outstanding Stephen Kerins marshalling everything from behind the pack and Ciaran Cassidy and Tom Gormely carrying like dump trucks to create havoc in the Blackrock defence.

The heavens opened with rainfall of biblical proportions on the half hour. The floodlights came on but it was Sligo that shone brightest when fine work from Shane Boyle and Brian West earned a penalty in front of the posts which Euan Brown despatched to give Sligo the lead.

With conditions becoming more difficult by the minute Sligo continued to pressure the ‘Rock attack and the excellent defence was rewarded when the error was forced, Kerins collected and sprinted in from the 10 metre line. Brown converted and Sligo were 10 nil leaders at the interval.

Following the break Sligo resumed knowing they had to play against the wind, rain and everything that Blackrock was going to throw at them. Like a lighthouse in a storm Sligo stood fast and repelled every salvo the visitors fired at them. Heroes is a word often bandied about but its no exaggeration to say the every Sligo player earned hero status in a horrendously difficult half of rugby.

At scrum time Mark Keegan, O’Hehir ,Gormely and Matthew Earley dominated a hefty ‘Rock front row earning a couple of vital penalties to relieve the besieged Sligo line. Boyle and Cassidy ably supported by the powerful Craig Trimble fought for every inch of precious ground while backrows Brian West , East , Matt Davey, Kuba Wojtkowicz and the returning Sean Wynne were a pack of jackals at every breakdown.   

Kerins directed the game from start to finish but his half back partner Brown played a huge part in managing such a difficult encounter.  Sligo’s midfield was a wall that was never going to be breached with Enda Gavin, Mark Butler and Daire Byrne knocking down every attack that came their way. On a day the likes of which back three players dread, Philip Carter, Calum Goddard and Ryan Feehily kept the backfield intact while posing a threat every time they got the ball in hand.

Blackrock finally picked up a score in the corner with 10 minutes remaining and threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Sligo in search of a second try but Sligo were not to be beaten and come the final whistle the yeats country men were celebrating.

Next for Sligo is a home encounter against Greystones RFC. The match kicks off at Strandhill at 2.30 next Saturday.

Sligo: Ryan Feehily, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Stephen Kerins, Tom Gormely, Shane O’Hehir, Mark Keegan, Shane Boyle, Ciaran Cassidy, Brain West, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Jason East. Reps: Matthew Earley, Matthew Davey, Craig Trimble, Daire Byrne, Sean Wynne.