Sligo 12 Ballina 41
A Connacht silver medal was the reward for the Sligo U16 Girls after a tough encounter against a very strong Ballina side in their Cup final. Sligo were missing some key players, but can be proud of their achievements though out the season.
Sligo 10 Tuam/Oughterard 24
Sligo U14 Girls reached the Cup final after a bruising encounter against Creggs. Their opposition in the final proved too strong in the end, but a Connacht silver medal is a great achievement for the youngest team in the Girls’ youth section
Sligo 20 Creggs 17
Sligo won their first Girls U-18.5 Connacht Cup Final on Monday evening in the Sportsground after a titanic battle with a strong Creggs side, who had already secured the League title. This didn’t phase the Sligo girls however, who had delivered steadily improved performances throughout the season.
The game was played in perfect rugby conditions but with the customary westerly wind blowing across the pitch and that wind was to be a factor before the final whistle blew.
The game was fast and furious from the kick-off with both teams trying to gain the upper hand. Creggs kept the game tight, carrying the ball hard and directly from the start but got very little change from the Sligo ladies who tackled their hearts out and drove their opponents back at every opportunity. It was clear that Sligo had done their homework on their ball carriers as these were met time and again by a pack which double timed their hits to perfection with Filan, Gallagher, Feely and Brady leading the charge in the first ten mins
It took 12 minutes for Sligo to set their back free when a quickly recycled ball from a solid scrum inside their own half was whipped wide by scrum half Nessa O’Sullivan to Aoife Gormley who set the slick Sligo back line into full flow. Gormley found Cliodhna O’Sullivan who made good progress and delivered to Emma Cox who broke the Creggs line and put on the afterburners to sprint a full 40 meters and touch down cleanly for Sligo’s first try to lead by 5. The conversion went wide against the strong Galway wind.
Sligo collected cleanly from the restart and even though playing against that wind Clearly grew in confidence and began to dominate their opponents but to give Creggs credit they fought hard to thwart the Sligo girls. Set pieces were evenly contested during this period with Sligo moving their opposition around the pitch with their strong passing game until their pressure finally bore fruit again on 30 mins. This was a move involving back and forwards that brought play into the Creggs 22. Strong driving brought Sligo to within 10 meters and a series of pick and drive movements involving the full Sligo pack created the opportunity for Poppy Garvey to burst through the Creggs defence to dot down for Sligos second try to put them 10 nil ahead as the game approached half time.
Sligo didn’t collect the restart however and Creggs punished them fully. They drove hard towards the Sligo line with ball carriers breaking the gain line and just 2 minutes later they scored their first try from their No 8 as she broke through to touch down under the posts as the game was at 35 mins. The try was converted to leave the score 10-7.
Even though into overtime in the first half, the referee allowed a restart so Sligo set about attacking once again. Great work by Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Emma Cox and Maeve Donlon saw them move inside the opposition 40 before an unfortunate injury to Cliodhna, who along with Emma Cox had been Sligo’s talisman attacking threat all season, saw her leave the field to a huge ovation from the large Sligo support.
Sligo led at the interval 10-7 but would have the wind assistance in the second half. Róisín Grennan slotted into the 12 channel to replace the injured O’Sullivan.
Sligo began the second half strongly and moved the ball wide through hand to stretch the opposition. Aoife Gormley, Cox and Grennan were prominent as was Cria Flanagan and Sarah Maye. And it was Cria Flanagan who struck the next blow for Sligo 9 mins in, when a move through the back line found its way to the wing and Maye made good progress to find Flanagan who stepped two defenders before sprinting over for Sligo’s third try which Gormley converted to leave the game 17-7 with Sligo dominant.
But once again Creggs drove back immediately after Sligo’s score. This time a long period of pressure allowing their No 8 to pounce again. This time they were unable to convert into the wind but the game was now down to be decided by a single score as it was poised 17-12.
Sligo used the wind wisely from the restart, with Gormley, Flanagan and Gallaghers kicks pinning the Creggs girls back. Sligo’s line outs were super all day with Claire Keegan’s darts finding the towering Aimee Smith who gave Sligo a perfect platform from which to launch attacks. Sligo worked the ball into the Creggs 22 again with the entire 15 fully involved. Jenny Craig brought fresh energy and Emma O’Carroll had a number of great carries. All the pressure gave rise to a number of penalty infringements by Creggs and after kicking to touch on a number of occasions, Sligo Captain Kate a Brady chose to kick for the posts with just 10 mins remaining. Gormley calmly slotted the kick to put what proved to be a crucial two scored between the teams.
The last 10 mins was as frenzied as the first 10 with both teams playing high quality rugby and doing everything they could to gain the upper hand. Grennan, Cox and Flanagan carried hard and broke the Creggs line on a number of occasions. Keegan, Garvey, Murray & Smith worked hard at the breakdown to ensure that Creggs ball was slowed or turned over and ball carriers Gallagher, Feely and Brady were available to carry hard at every opportunity. Creggs fought hard however and this time their pressure moved them into the Sligo half. A series of infringements saw a series of penalties awarded and Emma Cox finally ‘took one for the team’ when the ref showed yellow to her, for persistent team fouling. Down to 14 Sligo conceded a late try but it was too little, too late to effect the final outcome and Sligo were crowned Connacht Cup Champions.
This was a brilliant team performance from the full Sligo squad who have grown in every respect throughout the season. Great work has been done on the pitch by the coaching team of Gabriel Gormley, John Garvey, Liam Filan and John Keegan but this has to be delivered in the pressure of a match environment. On Monday the Sligo girls most certainly did that – in spades!
Sligo: Claire Keegan, Aisling Feely, Poppy Garvey, Aimee Smyth, Kate Brady, Enya Hughes, Giselle Gallagher, Nessa O’Sullivan, Aoife Gormley, Sarah Maye, Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Emma Cox, Maeve Donlon, Cria Flanagan Replacements: Siobra O’Callaghan, Emma O’Carroll, Jenny Cregg, Briana Gawley, Ciara O’Conallain, Genevieve Griffith, Roisin Grennan, Chloe Earley
Back to winning ways.
Sligo RFC 29
Dungannon RFC 19
Sligo ended their recent Energia All Ireland League division 2B losing streak with a 10 point victory over a powerful Dungannon outfit at Hamilton Park on Saturday.
With the 4 try bonus point also earned Sligo have secured their position at 6th place in the league table with one game remaining.
Despite the margin of victory, Sligo were made work for their win, and had to overturn a 14 point deficit at half time on the way to victory.
On an perfect day for running rugby Dungannon kicked off playing towards the Knocknarea end and were on top in the early exchanges.
The visitors early dominance was rewarded with trys on the 9th and 19th minutes with converted trys both stemming from lineout drives close to the Sligo line. No further scores were registered in the opening half.
Following the resumption a much improved Sligo upped the tempo and began to impose their game on the visitors and Euan Brown opened the account with a penalty 3 minutes into the half.
The Dungannon lead was further reduced on 55 minutes when Brown crossed the whitewash to the right of the posts following some powerfull carrying by Kuba Wojtkowicz, Rob Holian and Craig Trimble. The outhalf added the extras and Sligo were within a score of the lead.
Almost immediately from the restart Sligo struck again. A powerful Enda Gavin tackle on the Sligo 10 meter line broke up a Dungannon attack and the ball was reclaimed by Ryan Feehily. The elusive centre brilliantly stepped the first defender and outpaced the cover all the way to the left corner to give Sligo the lead for the first time.
Sligo continued to press and again worked their way into the scoring zone. Eoin Ryan secured the ball from touch and powerful driving from Rob Holian sucked in the defenders allowing Brown release Calum Goddard with a huge skip pass. The winger touched down out wide on the right. Brown successfully converted and Sligo were ahead by two scores.
The bonus point score was picked up with 6 minutes remaining. Holian made a trademark burst on the halfway line bringing play close to the Dungannon 22. A quick recycle saw the ball moved right with Gavin , Guliherme Coghetto and Wojtkowicz handling handling before releasing Goddard. The winger was stopped outside the 5 meter line but Hubert Gilvarry collected and ducked inside the cover before being hauled down short of the line. The forwards took over and James O’Hehir forced his way over sealing the win with Sligo’s 4th try. Brown rounded off a good day with another well struck conversion.
Dungannon replied with a consolation score at the death with the unsuccessful conversion attempt signalling the final action of an entertaining encounter.
Next Saturday Sligo will finish out their campaign with a trip to the capitol to face Wanderers RFC at their Merrion Road base. The match kicks off at 2.30.
Sligo Guilherme Coghetto, Calum Goddard, Ryan Feehily, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham (co-captain),Matthew Earley (co-captain), James O’Hehir, Pedro Bengalo, Eoin Ryan, Craig Trimble, Rob Holian, Sean Wynne, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Reps: Eddie Coyle, Finn Young, Michael McMorrow, Hubert Gilvarry, Stefano Giantorno
Time Runs Out for Sligo Senior Women
Sligo RFC Women 17 Westport RFC Women 20
It was a beautiful day last Saturday in the home of Connacht Rugby and the stage was set for the Connacht Women’s Plate final in The Sportsground. Sligo RFC women had made it to a Connacht final having revived the team after an absence of 8 years.
Sligo started the stronger, dominating in the first 10 minutes. Captain Jo Williams thought she had opened the scoring after a well-timed support run, but play was called back for an alleged forward pass. It was Elaine Maguire, the Fermanagh flyer, who dotted down for the first time after 14 minutes. Sligo worked the ball wide and Maguire’s speed was unmatched on the wing. Westport countered with a series of attacks and were eventually rewarded with the equalising score. Conversions were proving tricky for both sides, as the infamous westerly crosswind kept the scores at 5-5 after 25 minutes. Sligo were reduced to 14 after a high tackle with Elaine Maguire doing 10minutes on the bench and Westport capitalised on their numerical advantage, adding another try to put them 5 points up. Maguire had only returned to the pitch when fullback Sophie Kinghan mistimed her tackle and received Sligo’s second yellow of the day. Scrum half Elaine O’Grady’s game ended after a big tackle against the strong Westport front rows and was replaced by newcomer Aude Bontemps. Westport again took full advantage of the extra player and were 15-5 up on the half time whistle.
Coach Guilherme Coghetto re-enforced his game plan at half time and rallied his starting fifteen, a third of whom had only taken up rugby this season.
Sophie Kinghan’s return to the foray in the second half proved the impetus the team needed and she ran in a try of her own to mark a spirited Sligo comeback. Coach Coghetto made strategic changes with the introduction of front row Aisling Feely, flanker Kate Brady and second row Emma O’Carroll. Sligo started to play a more expansive game, with Eve England, Sinead Mc Tieran and Emma Cullen going through the phases, recycling the ball and then the backline of Sarah Woodmartin, Jo Williams and Hannah Kerins spinning the ball wide. Westport continued to keep the ball tight and were rewarded for their patience when their winger ran a great line and made a break for the Sligo try line. Newcomer Kathryn Maguire made her second try-saving tackle of the day, chasing down the ball carrier and stopping her on the Sligo 5metre line. Kinghan stole the ball and quickly released Elaine Maguire on the wing who ran the length of the pitch through the Westport defence to dot down under the posts for her second try of the day. Out half Sarah Woodmartin added the extras and Sligo went 2points up with only a quarter of the match left.
Sligo dominated in the lineouts with Vicky Lee stealing ball in the air. Both teams continued to put in the big tackles, with forwards Rachel Wharton and Annemarie Flaherty stopping the advances of the girls in blue and possession changed hands several times, but it was Westport who broke through the Sligo defence to score an unconverted try and give them a 3point lead, with 10minutes plus injury time left on the clock.
Retaining possession from the kick off, Sligo charged forward, camping out on the Westport try line, intent on crossing the whitewash and securing the win. Big carries from Hannah Coen, Orla Evans and Aisling Feely took their toll on the defence, but a handling error returned possession to Westport. A solid scrum from Sligo kept Westport on the back foot and they were unable to clear their lines. A combination of Elaine Maguire and Hannah Coen ripped the ball and gave Sligo another opportunity for a final score. Hooker Orla Evans came within inches of the line but was adjudged to have not released the ball after the tackle and Westport were awarded the penalty. The ball was kicked to touch and the referee blew the final whistle on the 80minute mark, with no injury time played, breaking the hearts of the spirited Sligo comeback.
While disappointed at the result, Sligo RFC Women can be very proud of achieving Connacht Senior Silver medals a mere seven months after reforming. With a squad of 30 players, including 11 newcomers to rugby, the future of women’s rugby is looking bright in Sligo RFC.
Sligo: Anne-Marie Flaherty, Orla Evans, Hannah Coen, Sinead Mc Tiernan, Eve England, Rachel Wharton, Vicky Lee, Emma Cullen, Elaine O’Grady, Sarah Woodmartin, Kathryn Maguire, Jo Williams, Hannah Kerins, Elaine Maguire, Sophie Kinghan
Reps: Liz Cullen, Nadia Brosnan, Aisling Feely, Kate Brady, Emma O’Carroll, Aude Bontemps, Katelyn Benson
Extended squad: Maegan Callaghan, Siobhan Alexander, Jasmine Morgan, Jodie Fergus, Letisha McGarvey, Rachel Mc Partlin, Emma Cox, Niamh Donovan
Sligo’s bid to make the top four play-off positions in the Energia All Ireland league Division 2b shipped a major blow when they went down to a strong Corinthians outfit at Strandhill on Saturday. Sligo’s brave effort, scoring three excellently executed Trys, unfortunately fell just short as the visitors held a 6 point lead at the final whistle.
Sligo can take some compensation from the spirit of the performance, fighting right to the end and gaining a losing bonus point with the final kick of the match.
On a beautiful spring afternoon, with the sun beaming down around Knocknarea onto Hamilton Park, Sligo started brightly and signalled their intent by moving the ball wide and early with purpose. The home team looked to have taken an early lead when a pinpoint cross kick from full back Guilherme Coghetto was collected by Philip Carter who touched down in the corner. Unfortunately for Sligo, to the amazement of watching supporters (from both sides) , the score was overruled by the touch judge who claimed that Carter had been bundled into touch.
The early ambition was eventually rewarded with a successful penalty from outhalf Euan Brown, who made a welcome return following an extend absence through injury.
The initial lead was short lived however as Corinthians responded with a try in the left corner following a searing run from Michael O’Reilly. Cathal Forde added the extras.
Sligo knuckled down and continued to play with tempo. Donnacha Byrne and Kuba Wojtkowicz were prominent in the loose exchanges, Eddie Coyle and Craig Trimble’s power steadied the Sligo scrum and Matthew Early was connecting well with Ross Hickey and Rob Holian at the lineout set piece. James O’Hehir was tackling everything that moved.
Sligo’s retook the lead with 35 minutes gone. From a lineout on the left hand side in the Corinthians 22, Scrum half Hubert Gilvarry moved the ball quickly infield where Brown, Ryan Feehily and Calum Goddard combined to free right winger Stefano Giantorno who touch down on the right. Brown slotted the conversion to move the score to 10-7.
Unfortunately for Sligo the lead was short lived as a mix-up at the restart gave Corinthians an immediate foothold with a penalty outside the 22. The visitors went to the corner and attacked with their powerful maul to earn their first try. Forde again converted to give the visitors a 10-14 lead at half time.
Following the resumption, Sligo picked themselves up and again looked to width to attack. Giantorno and Coghetto countered a Corinthian clearance brilliantly down the right touchline resulting in an excellent second try of the day for the right winger to put Sligo ahead by the slimmest of margins.
Corinthians responded again and used their powerful maul to drive Sligo back, scoring two almost identical Trys from close in lineout mauls. Forde converted both moving the score to 15-28.
Sligo salvaged the losing bonus right at the death with a super score from Feehily and Browns excellent touchline conversion but it was a case of what might have been when for the Yeats county men when the ref blew the final whistle.
Next up for Sligo is the visit of Blackrock RFC. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Hamilton park next Saturday.
Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Calum Goddard, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Hubert Gilvarry, Edward Coyle, Matthew Earley, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Craig Trimble, Robert Holian, Ross hickey, James O’Hehir, Donnacha Byrne.
Reps Eoin Ryan, Brian West, Sean Wynne, Brendan Cunningham, Enda Gavin
Buccaneers RFC 22
Sligo RFC 5
Sligo’s hopes of lifting the Connacht Senior cup were dashed at the penultimate stage with a defeat to Buccaneers in the semi final in Dubarry Park on Saturday.
The hosts outscored the visitors by three trys to one in a well contested encounter.
Sligo’s cause was not helped with a long list of absentees through injury and illness but the team that took to the the field gave a good account of themselves against an outfit the play in a division above Sligo in the All Ireland League.
The pitch at Dubarry park was heavy when the teams crossed the whitewash but both sides signalled their intent to move the ball in the early stages. The strong breeze favoured the hosts in the first half and Sligo found it difficult to exit their own half in the early stages.
Buccaneers fired the first shot with a successful penalty kick after 13 minutes but minutes later Sligo were the first to breach the tryline.
Brendan Cunningham cleverly collected a Bucc’s clearance outside the Sligo 22 and opted to counter attack to the 10 metre line. James O’Hehir and Eoin Ryan combined well before Kuba Wojtkowicz set off on a barnstorming run the brought Sligo to the Buccs 10 meter line. A quick recycle saw the ball moved to Enda Gavin who released Calum Goddard. Goddard’s well timed pass gave Ryan Feehily the chance to round the defending winger before excellent footwark stood up the fullback and the Sligo centre raced in to score.
Unfortunately for Sligo this was to be the only time the the scoreboard was moved in their favour.
Buccaneers retook the lead on 25 minutes with a touchdown following a clever chip through and extended their lead with another opportunist score from a well place cross kick just before half time.
Both sides hunted for scores in the second half but it was the locals that were the only ones to increase their tally with a try on 75 minutes following a sustained period of pressure.
Next week Sligo resume Energia All Ireland league action with the much anticipated visit of Blackrock College RFC. The meetings of the two clubs have always been close affairs, with plenty of drama, and late scores deciding the outcomes. Another cracking game is anticipated. The match kicks off at 2.30 on Saturday.
Sligo: Calum Goddard, Enda Gavin, Ryan Feehily, Aaron Spring, Finn Young, Guilherme Coghetto, Brendan Cunningham, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Craig Trimble, Eoin Ryan, Kuba Wojtkowicz, James O’Hehir, Brian West, Cristian Nielsen. Reps Aaron Tansey, Jake Sexton, Sean Wynne, Jacob Fleming, Jack Gormely,
Sligo had the perfect start to the season last week, with a bonus point win over Galwegians, but were under no illusions that this week’s game was going to be a walk in the park. The previous encounter with Greystones saw a comprehensive victory for the Wicklow team in Dr Hickey Park
Hamilton Park looked resplendent in the winter sun and a good crowd was in attendance to play their part and support the Porter Ford sponsored home side in Round 11 of the Energia All-Ireland League division 2B.
Greystones kicked off, with Sligo attacking the Knocknarea end. It was the home side who started the brighter, keeping the visitors pinned in their own half for the first ten minutes of the game. Josh Reeves opened the scoring with a well-struck penalty just outside the 22. The Sligo men appeared hungrier for the ball and set the tone for the game with their quick line speed putting constant pressure on Greystones and setting up good attacking platforms from their solid scrums.
Greystones’ first foray into the Sligo half came after 19 minutes, but the solid Sligo defence forced a knock on and out half Josh Reeves cleared his lines to touch. The visitors finally breached the Sligo line in the 23rd minute and, along with the conversion, went 4 points ahead. A high tackle on the halfway line reduced the visitors to 14 men on the 30-minute mark. Reeves found touch from the ensuing penalty. The Sligo lineout was solid and another penalty was awarded as the Sligo maul was hauled down. Reeves reduced the gap to a single point, with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. The pace of the game was relentless, with both teams playing the width of the pitch. Greystones were next to score, lining up out half and captain Killian Marmion to slot home a drop goal from inside the Sligo 22 and bing the score to 6-10 in favour of the visitors.
Now it was the turn of Sligo to bring the play into the Greystones 22. Quick thinking from scrum half Brendan Cunningham, playing advantage after a knock on, delivered a fast ball out to the back line, resulting in a sweeping play across the width of the pitch and Cal Goddard crashed over the whitewash but was held up. Greystones cleared their lines and the referee signalled the end of a pulsating first half of rugby.
Sligo started the second half with an even greater level of intensity and were quickly rewarded with a penalty just outside the Greystones’ 22. Reeves’ kicking was certainly on point, again narrowing the gap to a single point between the sides. It was the home side who continued to pile on the pressure forcing the knock ons from their rapid line speed. A patient build-up on the 50-minute mark, again resulted in Sligo using their speed and the width of the pitch to get the ball to their pacey winger. There was no stopping Goddard this time as he dived low over the line to the delight of the very vocal home crowd. Reeves continued his 100% kicking record to add the extras and put the home side six points up.
The Sligo defence held resolute with the next attack against the energy-sapping 15 phases from Greystones, but a penalty for offside gave Marmion the chance to claw 3 points back on the board. As the number of crunching tackles increased from the Sligo men, so too did the volume from the animated crowd. Greystones again showed great patience going through the phases, but they were being closed down at every opportunity and found themselves being driven back 20m by the determined home side. Josh Reeves pounced on an errant pass and Sligo regained possession. The ball was spun from coast to coast through quick hands, and then the even quicker feet of Guilherme Coghetto split the ‘Stones defence to sail through for a magnificent try. The cheers soon turned to groans as the touch judge had spotted an infringement, which led to a yellow card for the despondent Cal Goddard, a penalty for Greystones and no try for Sligo.
Greystones failed to capitalise on their possession and Sligo quickly regained the ball. Out half Josh Reeves gave a masterclass in pitch awareness and positional kicking, putting pressure on the Greystones fullback at every opportunity. A kick deep into the visitors’ 22 isolated the number 15 and Ryan Feehily was quickest to react, forcing the penalty and giving Reeves the opportunity to extend the lead again. Reeves maintained his 100% kicking record and the crowd knew they were in for a nail-biting finish, with a long 12 minutes left on the clock.
Sligo’s line speed continued to put Greystones under pressure, Enda Gavin and Ryan Feehily forcing the handling errors.
The home side regained possession and showed great composure going through the phases not far from the madding crowd. The intensity was ferocious as the game entered the final 5minutes, with a potential defeat of the table toppers on the cards. There was a collective groan as a penalty for holding on was awarded to Greystones. Needing 7 points for the win, Marmion kicked to touch. The expected maul never came and the ball was moved wide, but again the Sligo line speed forced another knock on, much to the delight of the frenzied home support.
The Sligo scrum had stood solid throughout the game, with Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley and Pedro Bengalo shoring up a determined pack. The first effort went past the ninety and a reset was called. The second scrum went the same way and the Sligo pack found themselves being driven backwards, and the penalty was awarded to the Wicklow men. Marmion quickly found touch with 3 minutes left to play. The Greystones line out was clean and they set up a maul. With Knocknarea and Queen Maeve at their backs, the Sligo men refused to budge an inch and the maul remained motionless. Knowing they were going to drive over the line and spotting a chink in the Sligo defence, Greystones spun off the side of the maul and dived over for a try. The conversion broke the hearts of the home crowd.
With a single minute left on the clock, there was no fairy tale ending for the gallant Sligo side and the referee signalled the end of the game to a deafening silence in Hamilton Park. The losing bonus point was little consolation for a side who had put their heart and soul into every tackle and every carry.
Sligo return to the battlefield next Saturday, when they play Belfast Harlequins in Deramore Park.
Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Ryan Feehily, Enda Gavin, Calum Goddard, Josh Reeves, Brendan Cunningham, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, Robert Holian, James O’Hehir, Donnacha Byrne. Reps, Jake Sexton, Christian Nielsen, Sean Wynne, Andrew Ward, Finn Young,
Galwegians RFC 0
Sligo RFC 28
2022 has begun in perfect for fashion for the Sligo RFC senior squad as they picked up an excellently crafted bonus point win against Galwegians at Glenina on Saturday. With the four try win, not only did the Porter Ford sponsored Sligo outfit collect five valuable Energia All Ireland League division 2B points, but also booked their place in the Connacht Senior Cup semi final where they will match up to Buccaneers RFC for a place in the final.
Conditions were perfect in Galway as the teams lined up for a minutes silence prior to kickoff, in a tribute to the late Aisling Murphy and in solidarity with her family at this tragic time.
Galwegians kicked off and made the early running with some strong carrying from a solid pack of forwards and a hard press in defence using the double tackle to great effect.
Sligo settled into the game and began to put their own patterns into play. Christian Nielsen was proving a good source of supply for hooker Matthew Earley at the lineout and Pedro Bengalo at tighthead prop was the cornerstone of a solid Sligo scrum. Eddie Coyle was a bundle of energy in the loose, carrying powerfully at every opportunity. Enda Gavin and Stefano Giantorno both made telling contributions early on.
With 12 minutes gone on the clock Sligo struck the first blow. Earley threw to Nielsen from a lineout on the right of the halfway line. Scrum Half Brendan Cunningham collected and immediately fed outhalf Josh Reeves. Reeves stepped inside for a half break , turning the defence before offloading to powerhouse second-row Craig Trimble. Trimble carried well past the 10 metre line before been hauled down and Cunningham quickly fed Donnacha Byrne who continued the momentum with a strong drive. Sligo loaded the left hand side and Sean Wynne and Kuba Wojtkowicz handled before moving the ball to Ryan Feehily. Feehily drew the cover before creating an excellent offload to give Philip Carter the sight of the line. The winger didn’t need a second invitation and raced home for an excellent try. Reeves added the extras with a well judged strike.
The half continued with both sides being tested but defences were on top with huge commitment from both sides keeping their lines intact for the remainder of the half.
As is often the case, good teams make the most of the third quarter, described by many as the Championship quarter, and this was certainly the case for Sligo on Saturday.
With five minutes of the half gone Sligo struck a mighty blow. A Galwegians scrum on the right hand side of the Sligo 22 was turned over by the Sligo pack. Cunningham fed Reeves, who immediately looked to counter, linking with Feehily. Feehily fed Calum Goddard who took off on a blistering run outside the ‘Wegians midfield making his way into the blues half. Goddard fed Guilherme Coghetto who raced along the touchline into the 22 before putting a perfectly weighted chip to the midfield where Feehily collected and raced over to score. Reeves again added the extras and Sligo were up by 14 to nil.
‘Wegians restarted and Sligo turned the knife. Carter collected the kick in the Sligo 22 and evaded the onrushing chasing line before racing out to the 10 metre line and linking with Feehily. Feehily was hauled down outside the ‘Wegians 22. From the recycle Cunningham moved the play to the right where Reeves and Nielsen put in long passes to release Coghetto. Coghetto stepped inside and split the cover before linking up with Cunningham who finished under the posts. Reeves kept his 100 % record intact with his third conversion of the day.
Sligo continued to hunt for the all important fourth try but were made wait until the end for the icing on the cake.
With two minutes left on the clock, Sligo were awarded a scrum 10 metres from the right touchline on the ‘Wegians 22. The Sligo pack produced a perfect ball for Cunningham to attack the blindside before releasing Goddard who raced to the corner for the well deserved bonus point try. Reeves completed the perfect day with a touchline conversion success.
Next Saturday Sligo resume home action when they host table toppers Greystones RFC at Hamilton park. Sligo will be looking to continue the form shown in Galway on Saturday to overturn the Wicklow based outfit.
Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Ryan Feehily, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Josh Reeves, Brendan Cunningham, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Christian Nielsen Sean Wynne, Donnacha Byrne. Reps James O’Hehir, Robert Holian, Ross Hickey, Finn Young, Calum Goddard.
As President, and on behalf of Club Chairperson Tom and all our committee members, I would like to wish our players, members, supporters, sponsors and associates a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
To all our teams, from Senior men and women to Youths and Minis, I wish them all the best of luck in their endeavours for 2022.
The past year has seen some outstanding achievements both on and off the field. Our membership is at an all time high. Teams at all levels continue to do the club proud. I must congratulate our U15 and U17 boys’ teams on their recent Connacht Division 1 league wins. Also, our U14s who narrowly lost out.
Our women’s section is growing from strength to strength. A fact shown in November by the club’s ability to field four teams U14, U16, U18 and Senior women in the one weekend. A huge achievement and congrats to all team managers and coaches involved.
The playing numbers in our Mini’s section continues to grow and I would like to thank all our coaches, parents, grandparents, and friends who continue to make this section of our club the success it is. Our Minis and Youths are the backbone of our club and will ensure a bright future for years to come.
Our Senior men’s teams continue to develop and shine. I thank all involved for their commitment to date. I wish all team managers, coaches, and players the very best for 2022.
The club has just launched its policy document; ‘Rugby – The Sligo Way 2021-22’. This document sets out our purpose, our vision, and our philosophy within the club. It is our hope and wish that all involved with the club will follow its guidelines and that it will be implemented by all sections in our club, both on and off the field of play. Thank you to all involved in the production of this important contribution to our club.
Finally, to all our sponsors, supporters, alickadoos, Magic Bus crew, parents, grandparents, friends, local and overseas, I would like to express, on behalf of all in the club, a big, big thank you.
Yours in rugby,
President Sligo RFC