Sligo’s U13’s enjoyed a win in their 1st competitive cup game against local rivals Ballina in a sunny Hamilton Park last Sunday.
Sligo opted to play against a whirling wind in the 1st half and put their bodies on the line for their jerseys. Ballina ran at the Sligo youngsters at every opportunity but were unable to break through the walled defence that they have worked on all season. Their tackling and sheer determination not to let their foe through was a joy to behold. Sligo played most of the 1st period in the Ballina half of the field and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Alas there was no score from either side to leave the game in the balance at 0-0 at half time.
Sligo piled on the pressure early in the 2nd half but Ballina held firm. As time ticked on, you felt that the game could be decided by a kick at goal. Sligo got that chance for a kick at goal mid way through the 2nd half but it dipped under the crossbar. From the resultant drop out after many phases of controlled picking and driving by the Sligo pack close to the Ballina line they got the games 1st score, a try by Arran Platt that was converted by Sligo’s outhalf, Oisin O’Neill.
Ballina’s kick off wasn’t dealt with well and allowed their chasers to gather the ball midway into the Sligo half. Ballina gained some valuable territory deep into the Sligo 22 but again their defence was up to the challenge and cleared the danger with a fine counter run and kick by full back Ronan O Hehir
Possession was hard fought and both side enjoyed time on the ball until Sligo broke through for try no 2 by their captain & No 8 Ambrose Bamber. O’Neill’s conversion coming off the crossbar leaving the score 12-0 with 6 mins to go. It was all Sligo now who were finishing much the stronger team. Icing was finally put on the cake when 2nd row forward Ross Clifford scored Sligo’s 3rd try of the game leaving the final score at 17-0 and a place in the last 16 for this fine squad of youngsters.
Stiff challenges lie ahead for this talented squad of players who have shown great commitment all season. Next outing will be an away fixture in 2 weeks time with the date to be confirmed.