This year, Sligo RFC boast an incredible 21 teams, from U7s in the Juvenile section to Division 2B of the All-Ireland League. This total includes 8 juvenile and 9 youth teams of both boys and girls, three senior teams and now an U20 team, who will compete in this year’s Connacht U20 Cup. The U20 Cup will see teams representing Ballina, Ballinrobe, Connemara, Corinthians, Creggs, Monivea/Westport and Sligo face off in a knockout series of games, with three quarter-finals before two semi-finals and a decider on the Easter weekend. Sligo U20s will play at home against local rivals Ballina in the semi-final at 1p.m. on 7th April.
Sligo RFC 50 – Our Lady’s Boys Club 7
Sligo Development Squad finished their season in fine style with an emphatic victory in the Connacht Junior Plate final at Connacht Rugby headquarters, The Sportsgrounds, in Galway on Sunday. Sligo crossed the whitewash 8 times in an all action display in a match they dominated from start to finish.
Playing towards the College Road end , with the aid of the stiff breeze, Sligo’s Euan Brown kicked off. Sligo forced the early pace and camped inside the boys club 22. Jake Sexton, Christian Nielsen and David Heath all carried powerfully before team captain Garry O’Hehir broke through wide on the right to open his and Sligo’s account.
Two minutes later Sligo struck again, an inch perfect Brown cross kick was fielded by left winger Charlie Cooper who raced in and around and touched down behind the posts. Brown added the extras.
Another two minutes and the Sligo blitz continued when a sweeping left to right move was finished by pacey right winger Robbie Ryan. Sligo were now in full flow, the front row of Craig Adams, James O’Hehir and Ross O’Boyle had the edge at the scrum. David Heath and Michael Mc Morrow brought energy from the second row and flanker Jack Gormely was carrying strongly. Centres Sean Mullin and Mark Gerrity consistently broke the gain line and Donal Brady was a live wire at full back.
With 20 minutes gone Mullin collected the ball on the half way line and burst through the first line of defence. The cover defence looked like halting the powerful centre but Mullin wasn’t for stopping and swatted away three tackle attempts before crashing over the line for Sligo’s fourth of the day. Browns conversion pushed Sligo’s lead to 26 points.
Boys Club responded and picked up a try of their own following some strong carries from their powerful pack but respite was short lived as Brown raced over the line and added the extras to move the halftime score to 33-7.
It was more of the same in the second half for Sligo, replacements Matt Kavanagh, Gary Golden Conor McElligot, Liam McElhinney and Jason East all slotted in seamlessly keeping the pressure on their Galway rivals.
Nielsen picked up Sligo’s 6th before Garry O’Hehir crossed the line twice more to complete his hat-trick and cap a memorable day for Sligo RFC.
Connacht rugby President Mossy Moran paid tribute to both teams before presenting the trophy to O’Hehir who raised it high to the cheers of the Sligo travelling support.
Sligo Donal Brady, Robbie Ryan, Sean Mullin, Mark Gerrity, Charlie Cooper, Euan Brown, Garry O’Hehir (Capt), Ross O’Boyle, James O’Hehir, Craig Adams, Michael McMorrow, David Heath, Jack Gormely, Christian Nielsen, Jake Sexton. Reps Conor McElligot, Liam McElhinney, Jason East, Matt Kavanagh, Gary Golden.
Congratulations to Alannah Gallagher who was successful in making the Connacht U18 Women’s 7s squad after competing in trials in Galway. Alannah only started playing rugby last season but is a talented all-rounder, also playing Gaelic football with Drumcliff/Rosses Point and soccer with Yeats Utd. Sligo RFC were unable to field an U18 girls’ team this year, but such was her new-found love for the game, that Alannah, and others, continued to train with the U16 and U14 teams. Sligo RFC are delighted for Alannah, who is currently training alongside the latest Irish international player, 17 year old Bebhinn Parsons, and wish her the very best of luck.
A big thank you to all those who organised the draw this year and to the sponsors of the prizes. Here are the results:
1st. Jack Young
Holiday for 4 in Portugal
Seller Harry Young
2nd. Michael Schoen
2 night break in Mespil hotel
Seller Keelan Schoen
3rd. Billy Roe
€150 hamper Cosgrove Centra
Seller Aoife G
4th. Daniel Mc Niffe
€100 voucher Driftwood restaurant Rosses Point
Seller Jake Mc Niffe
5th. Sharon Marshall
€100 voucher Riverbank Restaurant Dromahair
Seller Jasmine Morgan
6th. Aisling Burrows
Sunday Lunch for 2 adults & 2 children in Radisson Sligo
Seller Ryan Burrows
7th. John Lewis
Weekend passes for 2 to Sea Sessions
Seller Cillian Murphy
Sligo RFC 11 – Barnhall RFC 22
Sligo hosted All Ireland League Division 2B champions elect, Maynooth University Barnhall RFC, in an excellently fought encounter at Strandhill on Saturday. Sligo went into the game hoping to do what no other team in Division 2B had done all season and turn over their visitors, but a seven minute three try blitz, one before and two just after the interval put paid to Sligo’s hopes of causing an upset.
The home team kicked off and started brightly, taking the game to their guests. Early carries from Mata Fifita and Kuba Wotzicit put pressure on the visiting defence and Sean Wynne was a nuisance at the breakdown.
Sligo opened their account after 12 minutes with an excellently struck Jack Keegan penalty but the visitors hit back 10 minutes later with a penalty of their own. The home team retook the lead with another Keegan penalty on the half hour but unfortunately for the large local support Sligo were unable to keep ahead.
Right on the stroke of half time Barnhall took the initiative when a prolonged period of pressure resulted in a try in the corner to put the half time score at 6-8.
Immediately after the resumption Barnhall rocked Sligo again with a well worked try and followed up with a fortunate effort from an intercept pass on the half way line.
Despite the hammer blow of conceding the 3 trys Sligo gamely tried to work their way back into the game. The Sligo scrum was strong with fine work from Tom Gormely and Conor Mitchell. Shane O’Hehir was combining well with Rob Holian and Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill at the lineout and Half backs Ryan Feehily and Mark Butler were managing the play. The back three of Philip Carter, Calum Goddard and Niall Gray were a constant threat out wide.
Sligo’s endeavour was rewarded with a try from Wotzicit following some good work from Keegan, Ciaran Cassidy and Matt Davey. Replacement Full Back Euan Browns’ conversion looked to have travelled inside the left post but the touch judges flags stayed down and the extras were not added.
Sligo continued to press to add to the tally but the well organised visiting defence kept tight and the scoreboard remained at 11-22 until the long blast.
With 2 games to go Sligo lie in 4th place , 6 points ahead of 5th. A win in one of their final 2 fixtures will secure a playoff place, the target that Sligo had set themselves at the start of the season. Sligo now have a week break before travelling North to face Dungannon RFC in their penultimate league match on April 6th in Stevenson Park.
Sligo: Niall Gray, Calum Goddard, Jack Keegan, Mata Fifita, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Kuba Wotzicit, Shane O’Hehir, Rob Holian, Ciaran Cassidy, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Sean Wynne, Matt Davey. Reps Conor Mitchell, Jason East, Jake Sexton, Enda Gavin, Brendan Cunningham
The Sligo RFC Annual Awards & Dinner Dance will take place on Friday 24th May in The Glasshouse Hotel. There are only a limited number of tables, so with over 750 members in the club, early booking is advised. More details will be available soon.
Several members of the Sligo U16 & U18 teams took part in the trials to join the Connacht U18s 7-a-side squad for 2019.
Congratulations to Alannah Gallagher who made the squad and will start training with Connacht next week.
Wanderers FC 29 – Sligo RFC 36
Sligo took another giant step in their quest to secure an All-Ireland League 2B promotion playoff spot with a bonus point win over Wanderers FC at Merrion road on Saturday. Sligo scored 5 trys on their way to victory but were made to fight all the way to the finish by a dangerous home side.
In blustery conditions it was the home side that kicked off and took the early initiative with a well worked try in the left corner with only 2 minutes gone. The difficult conversion attempt drifted wide. Sligo were stung into action and worked their way back into the game. Some strong running from Philip Carter brought his team into the Wanderers half and the home team were forced to concede a Penalty which Jack Keegan coolly slotted to open his and his team’s account. Sligo were now up and running and were carrying the game to their hosts. Mark Butler received on the half way and an excellent step inside opened up the home defence. The outhalf raced into the 22 and a huge skip pass gave winger Calum Goddard the opportunity to pin his ears back and race to the line for Sligo’s first try of the day. Keegan convert and Sligo were ahead by 5.
Sligo continued to press and it was the Butler/Goddard combination that once a gain opened the Wanderers defence. Butler received on the home 10 metre line and launched a pinpoint cross kick which was plucked from the air by Goddard. The winger raced into the 22 and combined with hooker Shane O’Hehir and scrum half Ryan Feehily before collecting and crossing over wide on the right , Keegan’s well struck conversion move the score to 5-17.
It was Wanderers turn to react and sweeping play was rewarded with a converted try to reel the deficit back to 5 with 16 minutes gone. The frantic pace of the game continued and it was the westerners who were next to trouble the scorekeeper. A fine clearance from full back Niall Gray positioned Sligo in the attacking half. Pressure on the wanderers throw forced the turnover after the lineout. Sligo went right and left through the phases before powerhouse second row Rob Holian collected on the 22 and burst through to the line for Sligo’s third of the day.
The bonus point was secured on the half hour. Sligo were awarded a scrum in the home 22. Matele Fifia carried strongly before Ciaran Cassidy and Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill took up the fight with good pick and go’s. Kuba Wojtkowicz collected 3 yards out and cleverly drove forward to touch down at the bottom of the post. Keegan again converted to move Sligos total to 29.
The home team were fighting to save their season and following the resumption worked their way back into the game with converted try’s on the 45th and 55th minutes. Sligo remained strong however and hit back again and Hat Trick Hero Goddard finished off a superbly worked team try following a right to left move. Keegan’s conversion put the score out to 26-36.
A wanders penalty brought the lead back to one score and Sligo’s cause was further hampered with a contentious yellow card reducing their numbers to 14 with only 12 minutes remaining. Wanderers threw everything at their guests in the final period but the visitors defence stood strong and an audacious steal from the excellent Ryan Feehily snuffed out the danger and Sligo were able to play down the clock on the half way line.
The bonus point win puts keeps Sligo in 4th position in Division 2B, 9 points ahead of Corinthians RFC in fifth and 1 point behind Rainey RFC in third with three games to play. The start of season goal of a playoff position is firmly with the grasp and Coaches Paddy Pearson and Jason East will be doing everything in their power to makes sure the goal is realised. Sligo now take a weeks break from action before welcoming the league pace setters MUI Barnhall to Strandhill on Saturday March 23rd.
Sligo: Niall Gray, Calum Goddard, Jack Keegan, Mata Fifita, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Sean Wynne, Matt Davey. Reps Jason East, Conor Mitchell, Brendan Cunningham, Jake sexton, Enda Gavin.
The President, Chairman, Committee and members of Sligo RFC extend their deepest sympathies to Vivien Draper and George, Stuart, Ken, Robert, Niall and Jacqueline Draper and extended family on the sad passing of Stuart Hamilton, Vivien’s brother.
Stuart passed away peacefully on March 6th after a long illness. He was surrounded by family and under the wonderful care of the staff at Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross.
He will be deeply missed by his wife and best friend Judy (née Higginbotham). Sadly missed by his children Jilly, Robbie, Amy and Katie, sister Vivien, brother Peter; mother-in-law Sheila, sons-in-law Ross, Reggie and Blake, and daughter-in-law Hilda, grandchildren Robyn, Kai, Jesse, Dylan, Alana, Ava, Cooper and Eily, the extended family, relatives and friends.
In 1972 Sligo 1st team won the Connacht Junior League and Sligo 2nd team won the Connacht Junior B League. Stuart had played with Sligo for many years previous and in 1972, came back from Dublin to play for the 2nd team and earn himself and his club a Connacht medal. He was popular with all the players and later became a very prominent member in Monkstown RFC, as both a player and committee person. Stuart’s father Bob had served on the Sligo RFC committee and been Honorary Secretary of the Club in the 1970’s. Following his untimely death in 1977, the then new club grounds in Strandhill were named ‘Hamilton Park’ in his honour.
A Service to give thanks for Stuart’s long and full life will be held on Saturday, March 9th at 11 am in St Matthew’s Church, Irishtown. Family flowers only. If wished, donations to the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society in memory of Stuart.
‘Sunset and the evening star and one clear call for me. May there be no mourning at the bar when I put out to sea.’