Local Derby Ends in a Draw

Sligo U18.5s took to the pitch against bitter rivals Ballina in a highly contested and tense affair. There is never any love lost between the two neighbouring sides and it was the home side who had the first opportunity to draw first blood, winning a penalty within kickable distance. Hubert Gilvarry struck the ball well, but the upright denied the home side the opening score of the game. Sligo enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the opening 15 minutes, with Ballina struggling to get out of their own half. The game remained scoreless well into the first half, but the visitors eventually settled and indiscipline in the Sligo defence gave Ballina the edge they needed to cross the whitewash and go 7 points ahead.

Sligo were quick to regroup, and a determined Sligo pack were eventually rewarded with the equalising score, when Luke Hogge made a strong run to dot the ball down. The try was converted by Gilvarry. The game continued in the same vein as before, with big hits going in on both sides, and there was nothing between the sides at half time.

The weather then took a turn for the worse, with the rain making handling difficult. A lapse in concentration in the Sligo defence allowed the big centre from Ballina to power through the gap and touch down in the corner. With only 5 minutes left on the clock, a determined Sligo team secured the ball from the restart and a well-worked move fed the ball to Donnacha Byrne, fresh from international duty in Italy, who powered over the line in the corner. The difficult conversion fell short and the two sides remained deadlocked at 12-12 right up to the final whistle.

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