Next Sunday sees a watershed day in the history of Sligo Rugby Club. Sligo take on Castlebar in their final Connacht Junior League Division 1A match knowing that a win will guarantee that the league trophy will be residing at Hamilton park until next season. Sligo have not won this league since 1972.The added incentive for winning the league this season is that the winners will automatically be promoted to Division three of the All Ireland League and this fact ensured that this seasons league was extremely competitive.
This season Sligo have been a revelation. 7 bonus points secured from 10 league games and currently three points clear of second placed Monivea. Sligo have scored 70 trys and conceded only 9. Sligo are currently the highest scoring Junior Club in the country and following their heartbreaking one point defeat in the semi final of the All Ireland Junior cup they are guaranteed to be fired up for next Sunday’s encounter.
Sligo’s success this season has being based on a solid platform from their highly competitive forwards combined with a powerful athletic backline. Props Adrian Mc Hale, Wesley Maxwell and Martin Feeney have superbly dealt with all opposition threats. Hookers Ross Mannion and Gary Conneely have been accurate at lineout time as well as showing continued dynamism in the loose exchanges. Second Row James Wilson’s lineout play has been a handful for all comers and his partner Jamie Bowes is having a superb season with his trademark driving runs causing problems for all defences.
The back row forwards, Cathal Culhane, Paddy Conlon, Peter Mullan and Simon Coulter have shown a physicality lacking in previous Sligo teams and their work at the breakdown has been a feature of all of Sligo’s games this season.
At scrum half Paddy Pearson is the veritable box of tricks and as team captain his decision making has been excellent, Frankie Feeney has proved an invaluable back up fitting seamlessly in when needed. Outhalf Mark Butler is a constant threat and his excellent goal kicking has ensured the Sligo scoreboard is constantly ticking. Mata Fifita and Gavin Foley have formed an excellent centre partnership in both attack and defence. Full back David Gerrity always displays his football ability, Winger Aaron Spring has scored crucial trys with powerful running style and fellow wingers Billy Leahy,Brian Hynes and Roger Burrows have never been found wanting when called upon.
With Ireland playing at 3pm, the Kick off next Sunday is at 12.30pm and the Ireland match will be shown in the Clubhouse afterwards so come along and cheer the team to what we hope will be a historic victory.