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.
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.
Having already written themselves into the history books, with a league final and cup semi-final under their belts, there was no fairy-tale ending for Sligo U16 girls as they encountered tough opposition in the Connacht U16 Girls Cup semi-final. Sligo got off to a slow start in the first half and quickly found themselves 19 points down, with Portumna running in some easy tries and some sloppy defending from Sligo. Portumna dominated the first half with home advantage showing and a travel-weary Sligo were slow to get into the game. In the second half, Sligo really came alive with some strong running from player of the match Jasmine Morgan (one to watch for the future) and a strong push by the team led to captain Enya Hughes reaching the try line but a last-minute knock on denied Sligo their opening score. 5 minutes later, the Sligo captain scored in the corner but Amy Hampson’s conversion drifted wide of the mark. Sligo ran hard and really pushed Portumna back but just couldn’t deliver the final blow on numerous drives. A line break by Bebhinn Harte led to a 40 metre dash to the line but sadly she was just tackled in the last 10 metres. It was a tough game with the Sligo girls really showing heart and desire and they never gave up trying but sadly it was not their day against the Division 1 team.
Sligo U16 Girls: Giselle Gallagher, Jasmine Morgan, Jenny Cregg, Meaghan Callaghan, Teresa Devaney, Lucy Morrison, Katelyn Benson, Grace Molloy, Enya Hughes (C) Bebhinn Harte, Cria Flanagan, Emma Cox, Mia Bandon, Mia Clinch, Ruth Flanagan, Brid Madden, Amy Hampson
The U14 Girls came up against tough opposition in the quarter final of the Connacht Plate last Saturday in Hamilton Park. The Sligo team had depleted forces and had to call up four players from the U12s to be able to field a team. U12 player Lara Clinch was outstanding throughout the match, putting in big tackles, some strong running and scoring a well-deserved try. Sisters Ellen and Laura Hunter played very well and were extremely tough in defence, with Ellen also scoring Sligo’s opening try.
Sligo were much more aggressive in the second half with Lynn Barlow, Casey Sexton and Hannah Benjamin bringing a lot of aggression to the game. Ailbhe O’ Rourke and Shauna Doherty were impressive on the wings proving troublesome for the Galwegians backs. Gennie Griffith suffered through a bloody nose in the first half and her tackle rate was superb, stopping a lot of Galwegians forward play. Claire Keegan was hooker and captain for the day and had a solid performance, showing why she regularly gets called up to the U16s squad. However, the travelling Galwegians outfit proved too strong for a weakened Sligo team and clocked up too many tries in the first 20minutes of the game. Although the second half was dominated by the home side, the damage had already been done and the visitors were outright winners in the end. Sligo U14 Girls: Aoibh Trainor, Casey Sexton, Lynn Barlow, Claire Keegan, Hannah Benjamin, Mimi Lee, Ailbhe O’ Rourke, Ellen hunter, Lauren hunter, Lara Clinch, Shauna Doherty, Gennie Griffith
All focus in girls’ rugby now turns to the U16 Girls who play their Connacht Cup Semi Final next Saturday against Portumna/Loughrea. The Sligo girls are the only Division 2 team left in the Cup and they will have a tough encounter against the league runners-up from the top division. This team is the first U16 Girls team from Sligo R.F.C. and they have already written themselves into the history books by getting to the league final, a credit to their dedicated coaches and managers.
Sligo 22 – Claremorris 19
A last gasp try by Jasmine Morgan was enough to put the Sligo U16 Girls into the Connacht Cup semi-final and continue their incredible debut year in rugby.
Having beaten Buccaneers in the preliminary round of the Cup, Sligo, the U16 Division 2 league runners-up, knew they were undoubtedly the underdogs in this cup tie, as they were taking on Claremorris RFC U16 Girls who came 3rd in the Division 1 league.
Sligo management had made several changes in the back line with the new partnership of Enya Hughes at scrum half and out half Bebhinn Harte combining well with Mia Clinch in first centre. It was the home side who started the stronger, dominating at the break down and set the tone for the cup clash when winger Cliodhna O’Sullivan opened the scoring with a try in the corner. She then slotted home a difficult conversion from the touch line to put Sligo 7 points up.
Claremorris responded within minutes with a score of their own but failed to add the extras. Sligo were impressive with their strong running and support play and it was full back Emma Cox who scored her team’s second try to bring the score to 12-5 at half-time. Claremorris came out all guns blazing in the second half and eventually levelled the scores. Sligo responded again and Cliodhna O’Sullivan ran in her second try of the game. In typical Cup fashion, there was still lots of drama to play out. The pack were dominant in securing rucks and strong, hard running from Jasmine Morgan, Jenny Cregg, Giselle Gallagher, Hannah Walsh-Kerins, Teresa Devaney and Grace Molloy gained valuable ground for the home side. A persistent rain made playing conditions difficult and the greasy surface resulted in handling errors on both sides. The visitors showed their experience and continued to pressure the Sligo defence and were eventually rewarded for their patience, when they dotted down under the posts and converted the try to go 2points ahead with only 5minutes left on the clock. Possession changed hands several times as the clock counted down, but it was the Division 2 team who showed passion and determination to work their way up to the Claremorris 5m line and win a penalty for an infringement in the ruck. The referee called last play of the game and Sligo knew they had one last chance to seal the win. Jasmine Morgan took the ball on and her pack drove her over the try line for a magnificent win.
The Sligo girls read the game well, showing a lot of imagination throughout, changing the plays and their positional kicking proving problematic for Claremorris. There was outstanding play and great heart shown throughout the game. Bebhinn Harte had the back line well organised with Mia Clinch calling the line breaks. The Man of the Match accolade must go to full back Emma Cox for her determined running with the ball, defensive positioning and high tackle rate.
Sligo U16 Girls are the only Division 2 team left in the Cup and their historic semi-final Cup tie is scheduled for 16th February against either Corinthians RFC or Portumna/Loughrea. Sligo U16 Girls: Giselle Gallagher, Jasmine Morgan, Jenny Cregg, Teresa Devaney, Hannah Walsh-Kerins, Grace Molloy, Lara Lopez, Enya Hughes (c), Cliodhna O’ Sullivan, Katelyn Benson, Mia Clinch, Bebhinn Harte, Cria Flanagan, Emma Cox, Clare Keegan, Brid Madden
The Sligo U12 Girls team had the honour of playing at half-time in the Ireland V England Women’s Six Nations opener last Friday. The girls travelled to Energia Park with a large contingent of support from the U14, U16 and U18 Girls team from the club. The 12 girls were part of the guard of honour for the English Women’s team as they took to the pitch and then settled in to cheer on Ireland against the Six Nations favourites.
Half-time saw Sligo RFC U12 Girls take on their counterparts from Portlaoise RFC. An entertaining game ensued, with Sligo running in three tries with no reply.
At the end of the Six Nations game, though Ireland were comprehensively beaten by the all-professional England side, the Sligo players were delighted to meet their rugby heroes in the form of Sligo’s own Nicole Fowley and Laura Feely, from Ballyshannon, who first played rugby for Sligo RFC.
Well done to Gavin Clinch for organising an unforgettable day, which provided inspiration to the future Irish rugby stars.
Sligo 7 – Tuam/Oughterard 22
There was no joy for the Sligo girls in front of a big home crowd last Saturday in Hamilton Park. In their debut season, the Sligo U16 girls came up against the well-established Galway side, who amalgamated last year, and are currently top of the table in Division 2 of the Connacht U16 Girls league. The opening 10 minutes proved a shock for the visitors as Bebhinn Hart crossed the line to score the opening try of the game. Cliodhna O’ Sullivan stepped up to convert and coolly slotted the ball between the posts to give the home side a 7 point lead. Tuam/Oughterard quickly settled into the game and had a period of dominance, which resulted in three unanswered tries before the half-time whistle. Sligo’s coaching team of Gabriel Gormley, Michael Cox and Gavin Clinch, rallied their troops at the break and they came out all guns blazing, determined to alter the 7-15 score line. Sligo had 70% possession in the second half, with Tuam/Oughterard under pressure with every play, but the home side were unable to break through the experienced defence and a try, against the run of play, rewarded the visitors with the final score of the game.
Although the score line did not truly reflect the game, the Sligo team, playing in their 4th game of the season, can take great solace from the fact that they now lie 3rd in the table and are improving with every game. Many of Sligo’s players only took up rugby this September and Cria Flanagan, Jasmine Morgan and Grace Molloy were playing their first game for Sligo RFC on Saturday, joined by Teresa Devaney in her second game, with Grace Mulholland returning her first game of the season.
Girls’ rugby has gone from strength to strength in Sligo, with teams now competing from U10 to U18. The catchment area has also grown and players travel twice a week from as far afield as Manorhamilton, Tubbercurry, Coolaney and Drumcliff to join players from Carraroe, Cranmore, Sligo town and Strandhill. A big thanks to Petstop, who sponsor the club jerseys and for their continued support of girls’ rugby in Sligo. Training continues in the rugby club every Monday and Thursday 6.45 – 8pm, no previous experience is necessary. Contact Michael 086 3202244 for further details. Next game in the fixtures is away to Westport on 1st December.
The Irish Women’s Rugby Football Union was only established in 1991 and since its inception, Sligo RFC has been well represented, at both provincial and international levels. A total of ten members of Sligo RFC, who had proudly donned the green of Connacht at the highest level twenty years ago, were among those recognised and honoured by Connacht Rugby at The Sportsground last Saturday night. All past Connacht players who attended The Connacht Women’s Recognition Evening were presented with a special memento in honour of their contribution to women’s rugby in the province.
It was a case of “lights, camera, action” for the U16 and U18 girls last Sunday in Hamilton Park as they were the centre of attention for a camera crew, shooting a promotional video for Connacht Rugby.
The ‘Grassroots to Green Shirts’ programme, a campaign that aims “to increase the number of local players coming through the provincial player pathway to achieve the highest accolades in world rugby.” Twenty-three players from the U16 and U18 Sligo RFC squads played each other in a challenge game, to promote girls’ rugby in Connacht.
It was a proud moment for coaches Gabriel Gormley, Michael Cox and Gavin Clinch seeing so many young girls playing rugby for their club and an indication that the future looks bright for girls’ rugby in Sligo RFC.
Westport U16s 0 – Sligo U16s 39
The U16 girls travelled to Westport last Saturday for their first game of the new season and were rewarded for their efforts with a comprehensive 39 point win over the home side.
The team have been training on Monday and Thursday nights at 7pm and all their hard work paid off, as they dominated from the first whistle. It was a whole team effort, as six players got their names on the score sheet, with tries coming from Sophie (2), Mia (2), Giselle, Amy, Bebhinn and Aoife slotting home two conversions. The next round of the U16 girls Qualifier Pool 2 will be on Saturday 6th October, when the girls travel to Ballinasloe.