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Bateman Cup Semi Final

Sligo go down fighting in Bateman Semi

Sligo RFC 10

Cork Constitution 38

Having qualified for the 2020 All Ireland Bateman Cup by virtue of the recent Connacht Senior Cup success, Sligo were handed a task of David and Goliath proportions by drawing All Ireland League Division 1 runaway leaders Cork Constitution in the semi final of Irish Club Rugby’s most prestigious cup competition. 

Constitution hold a proud record in the Bateman Cup having won an unprecedented five in a row titles from 2013 to 2018 and arrived to Strandhill having won all nine of their AIL fixtures this season. 

Come kick off time, a large crowd had assembled at Hamilton Park to witness a proud day in the long history of Sligo RFC and though the fairytale of a Sligo win did not come to fruition, some of the rugby played was outstanding and a credit to both clubs.

Constitution, captained by Sligo native and Irish Clubs International Captain Niall Kenneally, signalled their intent early as they produced an excellent first quarter of high intensity precision rugby, starving Sligo of any meaningful possession, which produced trys from Vincent O’Brien, Alex McHenry and a double from Barry Galvin. 

Sligo, to their credit, gamely stuck to their task and began to get a foothold into the game. Fine work at the scrum by Tom Gormely and Jason East earned a scrum penalty on the halfway line and Euan Brown put in a perfect touch finder to place Sligo five yards from the ‘Con line. 

Shane O’Hehir found Shane Boyle at the lineout, Boyle transferred to Ryan Feehily who linked up with senior debutant Donnacha Byrne. The ball was quickly recycled and East, Rob Holian and Ciaran Cassidy all tested the visiting 

defence before Brown put in an inch perfect left to right cross kick for Calum Goddard to collect and touch down in the corner.

‘Con again responded and Galvins third of the day put the score to 5-31 at the interval. 

Following the resumption Sligo continued to battle, brining the game to the visitors at every opportunity. The returning Kuba Wojtkowicz was proving a handful with some barnstorming runs into the heart of defence, ably supported by Matt Davey. Daire Byrne, Mark Butler, Philip’s Carter and Enda Gavin were defending with huge intensity. Brian West and Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill brought energy to proceedings when called into the fray.

Despite the Herculean Sligo defensive effort, Kenneallys well timed pass put Mc Henry over for his second of the day with 10 minutes remaining, but it was the home side that finished out the scoring.

Pressure on the ‘Con attack forced a turnover on the halfway line. Brendan Cunningham switched play to the left and Matthew Early made an excellent break into the 22. James O’Hehir secured possession at the ruck and Cunningham moved the ball quickly right. Butler threw a long pass to Feehily who stepped inside the cover before releasing Goddard to touch down in the corner. 

Despite the score line, Sligo will take heart from the performance against opponents of such high quality and will undoubtedly use the game as a springboard to drive to further success when they resume their Division 2B AIL campaign with a trip to Mayo to lock horns with Ballina next Saturday. 

The match kicks off at Heffernan Park at 2.30pm

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

History Makers!

History Makers!

Sligo RFC 19

Corinthians RFC 12

On a monumental day in the 129 year history of the club, Sligo completed their first Connacht Senior League and Cup double when they overcame a strong Corinthians outfit in a tough encounter at the Sportsgrounds in Galway on Sunday. 

Sligo had to come from behind twice in a seesaw encounter which will be long remembered in the annals of the history of the proud club. Coming off the back of 7 energy sapping back to back weeks of high intensity rugby the Sligo heroes went to the well once more and to a man they delivered a performance worthy of champions. 

Sligo kicked off, playing towards the College Road end, with the aid of the breeze. Corinthians failed to deal with the kick off and Sligo were given a foothold in opposition territory which eventually resulted in a well struck three pointer from the in form Euan Brown. 

Corinthians were stung into life and worked their way into the game with their strong carrying forwards forcing the Sligo defence back. The sustained period of pressure from the Galway men was rewarded with the first try of the game with a touchdown in the right corner to take the lead with a half an hour gone. 

Sligo responded and almost immediately retook the lead with another Brown penalty before extending the lead with Browns third successful kick of the day right on the stroke of halftime. 

The match was on a knife edge with both teams in looking to wrest control. Every scrum was hotly contested with Matthew Earley, Tom Gormely and Mark Keegan giving nothing to the massive Corinthians front row. Shane O’Hehir was combining well with Shane Boyle and Rob Holian to ensure Sligo possession from touch and Matt Davey, Ciaran Cassidy, Brian West and Jason East were putting in a mountain of work in open play.

The tribesmen were next to strike with a converted try from a well executed trick lineout play in the left corner to take a three point advantage. 

Sligo again regrouped and quickly put the setback behind them to work their way back behind enemy lines. A lineout on the 5 metre line in the left corner set the platform for a sustained attack. The forwards carried hard before scrum half Brendan Cunningham released the backline. Brown, Ryan Feehily and Mark Butler all put hands on the ball before full back Enda Gavin joined the line and burst over in the right corner. 

14-12 with 8 minutes remaining the prize was there for whoever wanted it most. Corinthians threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Yeats men but the Sligo belief was strong and Sligo were winning the individual battles.

Wingers, Calum Goddard and Philip Carter, and substitute Daire Byrne all made telling defensive hits to press home the Sligo advantage before the final hammer blow came with five minutes remaining. 

Cassidy reacted quickest to a loose Corinthians line out and drove forward before linking with Shane O’Hehir who raced from 15 metres out to squeeze in at the right corner.

Corinthians again tried to respond but Sligo had drawn a defensive line on the 10 meter mark and nothing was going to breach it. 

The final play saw Feehily boot the ball to touch and the Sligo players and supporters were in rugby heaven. Connacht Branch President Ted Carty presented the cup to Sligo co-captains Shane O’Hehir and Ryan Feehily who raised the cup with their team to top off a historic year for the club. 

A further reward for the valiant Sligo team is a place in the semi final of the prestigious All Ireland Bateman Cup. Sligo have been handed a home draw and will be hosting none other than All Ireland League Division 1a leaders Cork Constitution at Hamilton Park in early January. 

Sligo: Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Matthew Earley, Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Brian West, Matt Davey, Mark Keegan, Ross O’Boyle, James O’Hehir, Jason East, Daire Byrne.

AIL2B Sligo take spoils in local derby

Sligo RFC 19

Ballina RFC 13

Sligo’s final All Ireland League 2B match of 2019 ended in a victory over Mayo rivals Ballina in a tense affair at Strandhill on Saturday. Sligo outscored the visitors by three trys to two but had to come back from an early defecit of 10 points to secure the match points.

Sligo kicked off, playing towards Knocknarea, into the slight breeze and immediately put pressure on Ballina. Rob Holian secured an early lineout steal and Sligo marched towards the line, Ciaran Cassidy carried powerfully before being hauled down on the five metre and Sligo looked to have Ballina on the rack. Matt Davey carried to the line but unfortunately for the home side inaccuracy caused the turnover and the defense were let off the hook. 

Ballina made the most of the reprieve and used their backline to good effect to work their way into the game. With 10 minutes gone the visitors struck the first blow. A pinpoint cross kick from outhalf Dylan Predergast was collected in the right corner by Billy Mc Vann and the hooker touched down out wide. 

Sligo were in a battle and the job became more difficult when Fergal Tully crashed over for Ballina’s second midway through the first half. 

The home team rallied and immediately looked to hit back. Shane Boyle put pressure on the restart and Sligo reclaimed possession. Tom Gormely, Shane O’Hehir and Mark Butler were prominent as Sligo made inroads into the Ballina defence as Sligo looked to open their account. 

With five minutes remaining in the half Euan Brown put up an inch perfect left to right cross field kick for Calum Goddard to collect and beat the cover defence to open Sligo’s account. 

The teams turned around with the visitors holding a five point lead. 

Sligo’s improvement continued and the lead was wrestled from the visitors grasp five minutes in. Jason East picked and went right from the back of a Sligo scrum on the opposition ten metre line. East linked up with scrum half Brendan Cunningham who drew the cover for Goddard to race to the line for his and Sligo’s second try. Brown struck a sweet conversion to take the lead for the locals.

The Sligo pack were gaining control particularly at the scrum where Matthew Early was giving a performance way beyond his years in only his second senior start at loosehead prop. Sean Wynne was tackling himself to a standstill until he had to leave the fray with an ankle injury. 

With the strong scrum a foundation for attack Sligo worked their way into the Ballina scoring zone. Gormely put pressure on the Ballina scrum which gave East the platform to drive over for Sligo’s third of the day. 

Ballina gamely fought to close the gap but the Sligo defence stood strong with Enda Gavin, Ryan Feehily and Philip Carter to the fore . A penalty on seventy-eight minutes closed the gap to six but when the long whistle blew it was the home team that celebrated.

Sligo now take a break from league action until the return fixture with Ballina on January 11th. 

Next week sees Sligo travel to the Connacht Rugby headquarters in the Sportsgrounds in Galway to take on Galway Corinthians in the Connacht Senior Cup final. The match kicks off at the earlier time of 1.30pm on Sunday. 

Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Matthew Earley, Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Sean Wynne, Matt Davey, reps Ross O’Boyle, James O’Hehir, Jason East, Brian West, Daire Byrne

AIL2B Sligo Disappoint in Malahide

Malahide RFC 43

Sligo RFC 21

A poor first half performance proved Sligo’s downfall as they slumped to a disappointing defeat against a lively Malahide at a blustery Estuary Road on Saturday. The visitors yielded twenty nine points before opening their own account with an uncharacteristically loose defensive showing which left themselves a mountain to climb to try to come away with any reward for their efforts. 

Malahide seized the initiative in the opening moments and opened their account with a try in the third minute. The opening score was followed up with  4 further try’s inside half an hour before Sligo opened their own account with an excellent effort from  Calum Goddard just before the interval. 

Following the resumption, Malahide touched own again following a lineout maul before a powerful run from Daire Byrne yielded Sligo’s second touchdown of the day. 

Malahide picked up their final try and Philip Carter responded with an excellent effort , racing down the left touchline from the thirty metres out. 

With the four try bonus in sight Sligo threw everything into the final moments but had to leave empty handed when the referee blew the long whistle. 

While coaches Paddy Pearson and Jason East will be disappointed with the breakdown of the defensive system they will take heart in the fact that their charges fought to the final whistle and manufactured three excellent try’s. 

Sligo will be looking to immediately get back to winning ways when they entertain Mayo rivals Ballina in an eagerly anticipated clash next Saturday. 

Neither side will require motivation as league points are at a premium and traditional rivalry will add spice to the mix. The match kicks off at the earlier time of 2pm at Hamilton Park next Saturday. 

Sligo Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Matthew Earley, Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Brian West, Shane Boyle. Reps James O’Hehir, Sean Mullin, Matthew Davey, Sean Wynne, Daire Byrne

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AIL2B Heartbreak at Hamilton

Out half Euan Brown is tackled high and low

Sligo RFC 26

Blackrock RFC 27

Despite outscoring their illustrious visitors by four try’s to three Sligo fell to an agonising defeat by the narrowest of margins in a thrilling Energia AIL2B encounter at Strandhill on Saturday. 

Going into the closing moments Sligo were ahead by six points, but an injury time converted try snatched victory for the visitors by the smallest margin and broke the hearts of the Sligo faithful. 

On a crisp Strandhill afternoon Blackrock kicked off playing towards the Knocknarea end. Shane Boyle was illegally tackled in the air and Sligo were awarded a penalty.  Euan Brown despatched the kick to touch and Sligo set up camp in the ‘Rock 22.

Sligo’s early initiative was rewarded with an excellent score with six minutes on the clock. A planned backline move,  from a scrum on the 22, gave Brown the opportunity to slip through a gap in the visiting defence. Brown linked with Enda Gavin and the full back timed his pass to allow Winger Calum Goddard the space to use his blistering pace to race in at the right corner. Browns difficult conversion attempt drifted across the posts. 

Blackrock looked to respond and were rewarded with a penalty, converted from outside the Sligo 22. 

Sligo reset and again worked their way into the ‘Rock half of the field. An excellently timed Ryan Feehily pass coupled with an excellent line from Mark Butler opened up the visiting defence and Butler touched down under the posts. Brown converted to push Sligo nine points ahead at the interval.

Following the resumption it was Blackrock that took the early initiative.

Indiscipline from the home team resulted in a second penalty score for the visitors before a converted try put ‘Rock ahead by a single point.

Sligo again showed their mettle and worked their way back into the lead when Rob Holian crashed over following a sustained period of pressure on the Blackrock line. Brown converted to push Sligo ahead by six. 

The game continued to ebb and flow and Blackrock wrestled back the lead with 15 minutes remaining following a try from a five metre mauled lineout.

With the game on a knife edge every inch of ground was being fought for tooth and nail. The home victory looked to have been sealed with a Ciaran Cassidy try, converted by Brown, with eight minutes remaining but the concession of a series of late penalty’s gave Blackrock the opportunity to close the gap with a third try and snatch the win with a final kick conversion.

Sligo had heroes all over the park. Mark Keegan, Tom Gormely and Shane O’Hehir battled intensely in the tight and replacements Ross O’Boyle, James O’Hehir and Matthew Earley added to the cause when introduced. Brian West and Matt Davey covered every inch of ground through the entire match. Brendan Cunningham’s reputation at scrum half continues to grow and Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill continued his return to form with more valuable game time. Philip Carter was his usual ball of energy and a thorn in the visitors side in both attack and defence. 

Despite the loss, Sligo picked up 2 valuable league points with the losing and four try bonus points, but Coaches Paddy Pearson and Jason East will be disappointed that the five points didn’t come to Sligo

Sligo’s AIL2B campaign continues with a trip to Malahide next Saturday. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Estuary Road. 

Sligo: Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Mark Keegan, Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Brian West, Matt Davey. Reps Ross O’Boyle, Matthew Earley, James O’Hehir, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Daire Byrne.

The Late Phil Murray

The President, Club Officers and Members of Sligo RFC wish to extend their sincere condolences to the family of Dr Philip Murray, Ballincar and formerly Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, who passed away peacefully at the North West Hospice, Sligo, surrounded by his loving family. Sadly missed by his loving wife, Vivien, his children Emily, Joe and Jenny, his beloved grandsons Daniel, Peter, Sean-Johnny and Oisín, son in law Johnny, daughter in law Aoife, extended family and many, many friends.

Dr Philip (Phil) Murray was a versatile sportsman who played hurling and rugby to a very high level. He captained UCD to a Fitzgibon Cup win and UCG to a Connacht Senior Cup win in rugby in 1970. The UCG team at that time included International players such as Seamus Dennison and Mick Molloy. He moved to Sligo in the mid 1970s and helped Sligo Rugby Club through the transition from Junior to Senior rugby. 

In his time, Phil was known as a new breed of front row forwards, who brought the position to new levels of technique.Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.Mass of the Resurrection took place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo at 12 midday on Tuesday, 26th November. Burial followed in Rathcormac Cemetery.  Sit tibi terra levis

CSC: Sligo Into Cup Final

Galwegians RFC 16

Sligo RFC 31

Sligo advanced to their second Connacht Senior Cup final in 3 seasons with a comprehensive victory over Galwegians at a floodlit Glenina on Saturday evening. Sligo’s victory earns the team the opportunity to face Galway Corinthians at the Sportsground on December 22 in a repeat of the 2017/18 final which saw Sligo lift the trophy for only the second time in the long history of the Strandhill based club.

On a calm evening Sligo kicked off but it was the home team that took the early initiative with a successful penalty kicked from the Sligo 10 metre line. Sligo immediately responded. Ciaran Cassidy got a hand to the restart and Shane Boyle secured the ball, Brian West drove forward and the ball was recycled and moved towards midfield. A well timed pass saw Mark Butler split the defence and race into the 22 before linking up with Ryan Feehily who beat the last defender and finished under the posts. Euan Brown converted and Sligo were up and running. 

A second successful ‘Wegians penalty moved the gap to one point with thirty minutes on the clock but Sligo responded well. Matt Davey picked from a scrum on the left of the ‘Wegians 22 and linked with Brendan Cunningham. The ball was moved quickly across the backline to Calum Goddard who raced to within 5 metres of the line before linking with the supporting Philip Carter who crashed over for Sligo’s second try. Brown hit an excellent conversion to put Sligo into an eight point lead. 

A third Galwegians penalty put the half time score to nine points to fourteen in favour of the visitors.

Following the resumption Sligo continued to press. Cunningham broke down the blind side of a scrum on the Galwegians ten metre line and placed an excellent grubber kick down the line for Goddard to collect and score in the corner. Brown hit an excellent conversion to push his teams total to twentyone.

A sustained period of pressure resulted in a Galwegians converted try, closing the gap to five but Sligo again hit back with another well worked score. 

Brian West tapped a free kick on the Galwegians 22 and drove into the heart of the home defence. Cassidy and Brown both added to the drive before replacement centre Daire Byrne burst through before being stopped just short of the line. From the resulting ruck Feehily fed Butler who twisted his way over for Sligo’s 4th try. Brown again converted and minutes later added a penalty to round off the scoring and seal the place in the final. 

Sligo’s win was built around their excellent team ethos with every player deserving credit. Tom Gormely, Benroy Sala and Mark Keegan provided a solid platform in the tight and continuously put in some huge tackles in open play. Shane O’ Hehir and Matthew Earley and Rob Holian were dynamic in all facets. James O’Hehir made a big addition to the work rate when introduced. Enda Gavin was a rock at full back and Luke Hogge fitted seamlessly into the backline when called into the fray. 

Sligo now turn their attention back to the All Ireland League where they host Blackrock College at Hamilton Park next Saturday. Having suffered a narrow defeat to Blackrock in last seasons promotion playoffs Sligo will not need motivation when facing their Dublin visitors. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Strandhill.

Sligo: Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily (Co-Capt), Philip Carter, Brendan Cunningham, Benroy Sala, Shane O’Hehir (Co-Capt) Tom Gormely, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Shane Boyle, Brian West, Matt Davey. Reps: Mark Keegan, Matthew Earley, James O’Hehir, Daire Byrne, Luke Hogge

No Joy for U14s, U17s & U18.5s

Sligo U17s had a tough encounter with Creggs last Sunday, losing 0-12. Here Fionn O’Hehir is on the attack with Adam Hunter in support
Rowan Elliott and the Sligo U18.5s Division 2 team nearly staged the comeback of the century against Westport last Sunday, eventually losing 37-43
Sligo U14s player Joris Rooney on the attack, with Isaac Marsden in support against Corinthians last Saturday. A tough battle with the visitors coming away with the spoils 7-24

U13s with Epic Win

Sligo 5 Buccaneers 0

Sligo played host to Buccaneers in Hamilton Park on Sunday 17 th in a low scoring but entertaining game in the U13’s league. Sligo started brightly putting Buccaneers under pressure with the boot of outhalf Killian O Neill playing the majority of the first half in Bucc’s territory. The Bucc’s pack were significantly physically bigger that Sligo who made up for the size disparity with good defence around the ruck. Sligo’s starting back row of O’Mahony, Burrows and Gambi-Wheelan played well and were ably supported by O’Neill , Draper and Lawes in the front row. Sligo’s scrum stood up well to a noticeably bigger Buccaneers eight with Fitzgerald , Bradly and subsequently Keyes and Keaney showing up very well in the second row. Sligo’s backs kept probing with McGetterick and Ryan prominent going forward and newly arrived Tadhg Murphy very solid in defence along with James Mackey and Conor McGoldrick. A clever kick through and quick feet and an eye for the line gave the only score of the game to Conor Van Rensburg halfway through the first half. A difficult conversion missed narrowly. Sub harry Dennison recently returned from injury injected pace in the last minutes of the half and Sligo were unlucky not to score again. The second half was a different tale for Sligo. Refereeing largesse at ruck time meant thatthe heavier Buccs team had possession for much of the second half but good work in the tight meant that there was always a Sligo tackler there to put down the runner. On the occasions when the ball went wide the Sligo backs tackled very effectively. With 5 minutes left the siege was lifted after a number of goal line stands and Sligo were making their way to the opposition half when the referee blew for full time.

Both teams were well drilled and very competitive and a third period played on Sligo’s 4 G pitch ended with a two try to nil victory for Buccs. This was a chance for the entire squad to take to the pitch in Sligo colours.