CSL: Back to winning ways

Sligo RFC 31 – Galwegians RFC 13

Sligo kickstarted their 2018-19 season with an excellently crafted victory over a lively Galwegians outfit in their second Connacht Senior League fixture played at Strandhill on Saturday.

Sligo scored 5 trys to a solitary Wegians effort as they collected a welcome bonus point to bolster their senior league challenge.

With conditions perfect for running rugby the match kicked off with Sligo playing towards the airport end. It was the visitors who started brightly owning the lions share of possession and putting the Sligo defence under heavy pressure. Sligo’s tackling was strong with front row forwrds Conor Mitchell, Craig Adams and Tom Gormely putting in a notable defensive effort.

With 20 minutes gone the Sligo line was eventually breached with a well worked Wegians score but Sligo responded immediately with Shane Boyle getting up well to contest the kick off and win the ball back for Sligo. Sligo went through the phases and put pressure on the visitors line before Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill crashed over to the left of the posts. Niall Gray added the conversion to equalise and Sligo were up and running.

Sligo’s second score came on the half hour. A well secured ball from a lineout was moved wide to the right. A searing run saw winger Mattie Kavanagh round his marker and make his way into the Wegians 22 before offloading to Gray who finished the move under the sticks. Gray added the extras to put 7 between the sides.

Coach Paddy Pearson gives directions from the touchline

Five minutes before the interval Sligo struck again. Livewire Ryan Feehily made a super steal at a breakdown on the Sligo 10 meter line. The scrum half spotted a gap and darted through bringing play into the Wegians half before deftly chipping over the onrushing defence. The ball was recovered and quick left to right hands resulted in Enda Gavin touching down for Sligo’s third of the day.

Wegians responded with a penalty to put the half time score at 19-10.

Phillip Carter takes a great ball in the air, watched by Galwegians

It was more of the same following the interval with Sligo on top in all facets. The Sligo scrum was proving to much for the visitors and the Sligo lineout was proving an excellent source of possession. Wegians however were first to score in the half with a second penalty but Sligo immediately affirmed their dominance with the bonus point score. Another well secured lineout gave the returning Ciaran Cassidy the opportunity to burst up the middle. The forwards went through the phases and O’Dowd Hill finished off his second of the day.

Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill with the ball, scorer of 3 tries against Galwegians

With 10 minutes remaining Sligo finished off a great days work with their fifth try. A lineout in the Wegians 22 was secured and the maul was set up. Wegians attempted to halt the drive but the Sligo pack were determined and drove their opponents over the line for O’Dowd Hill to complete his hat trick. Jack Keegan marked his return with a well struck conversion to put the final score at 31-13.

Sligo’s well-executed maul leads to another try from O’Dowd Hill

Next for Sligo is a trip to Dubarry Park Athlone to face Buccaneers. The match kicks off at 2.30 next Saturday (Sep 1st)

Sligo Niall Gray, Matt Kavanagh, Calum Goddard, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily (Capt), Tom Gormely, Craig Adams, Conor Mitchell, Shane Boyle, Rob Holian, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Christian Nielsen, Jason Havea, reps Shane Mc Guinness, Ross O’Boyle, Michael McMorrow, Ciaran Cassidy, Matthew Davey, Charlie Cooper, Jack Keegan.

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