Eddie O’Hehir R.I.P

It is with profound sadness that the members of Sligo RFC have learned of the passing of our dear friend and member Eddie O’Hehir.

On behalf of the President, Chairperson, Committee, players and members of Sligo RFC we extend our deepest sympathies to Caroline, Garry, Rachael, Dannielle and Aisling,  to Eddie’s brothers and sisters Mary, Connie, Colette, Jan, Jim, Jacqueline, Michael, Hugh, Lorna, Cathal, Enda and Irene, and to the wider O’Hehir and Henry families.

It is seldom that a sporting Club has members that extend beyond a few relatives with interests in the sport, however when it comes to the O’Hehir family, Sligo RFC is most fortunate to have representation from them at all levels within the Club. The O’Hehirs have provided generations of players, coaches, members, friends, committee members, Juvenile and Youth Co-ordinators, Past Presidents, generous sponsors and huge rugby fans of both the local, provincial and the international game.

Eddie was introduced to rugby at Sligo RFC in the Juvenile Section during the 70’s. He moved to Dublin and joined Bective RFC where he played for a time. In more recent meetings between Bective RFC and Sligo RFC in the All Ireland League, his time with Bective was recalled fondly by their current incoming President who packed down with Eddie during his own time as a Bective player.

Eddie returned to Sligo and played with the Club in the 1980’s and 1990’s where he served as a stalwart front row player to many senior and junior teams over the years.

A huge international fan, Eddie joined by Caroline became frequent travellers to Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Paris, Rome and beyond in support of Ireland’s rugby endeavours.

As Garry grew up through the Club, Eddie was an ever present helping out at Juvenile and Youth training and games. One of his more recent roles in the club was lining the pitch which he performed diligently ensuring that the club always looked its best on match day. Seldom did he miss a senior game in the Club and even in more recent times, despite his illness he made sure he was on the sideline to cheer Sligo on from his preferred sideline spot, just inside the main gate.

Eddie will be sadly missed by his many friends at Sligo RFC, may he rest in peace.

Reposing at the family home at 7 Barn Owl Road, Kevinsfort, from 4.00pm to 8.00pm on Monday, January 7th. Home private to family at all other times please. Mass of the resurrection at 11.30am on Tuesday, January 8th, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo. Burial follows in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Scarden, Strandhill Road, Sligo. Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu if desired to The Irish Cancer Society or North West Hospice Fund c/o Seán Feehily at Feehily’s Funeral Home, Cartron Cross, Sligo.

 

AIL:2B Three in a row for Sligo

Sligo RFC 24

Belfast Harlequins RFC 14

 

Sligo rounded off their competitive program for 2018 with a well worked win, earning four precious AIL league points, over Belfast Harlequins at Strandhill on Saturday.

The win moves Sligo into fifth place in Division 2B as the League takes a halftime break until the resumption on January 19th.

With an earlier kick off of 2pm due to the shorter day and Hamilton park being buffeted by severe gusts, Harlequins kicked off playing towards the airport with the aid of the elements.

The visitors enjoyed much of the early possession but Sligo’s defensive line was ferocious to the point that ‘Quins were forced back in to their own 22 and conceded an early penalty.

Jack Keegan popped the kick over the bar to open his and Sligo’s account.

The visitors responded with their own penalty on 12 minutes and made use of the wind to take the lead with another well struck effort on the fifteen minute mark.

Sligo restarted and regained possession with a super take from Philip Carter giving his team the chance to work their way into the visitors 22.

Kuba Wojtkowicz , Ciaran Cassidy and Rob Holian carried strongly and bit by bit Sligo forced their way closer to the try line.

The sustained pressure eventually paid off and Sligo were awarded a penalty five yards from the line.

The forwards smelled blood and the decided to go for the maximum reward by opting for the scrum.

Conor Mitchell put on the pressure and Sligo shunted towards the line but ‘Quins infringed and Sligo opted to scrum again.

Quins infringed again to prevent the pushover and when Sligo once again opted for the scrum it looked like a penalty try was the likely outcome for Sligo’s dominance.

Ryan Feehily had other ideas and with the visiting back row committed to the scrum , Feehily picked and darted to the left to touch down at the post.

Keegan converted and Sligo were back in front.

Harlequins moved back to within a single point with another well struck penalty before taking the lead with a try out wide on the left to put the half time score at 10-14.

For the second time in two weeks Sligo were behind at the interval and were turning with the breeze at their backs and once again Head Coach Paddy Pearson and Player Coach Jason East impressed on their charges that the excellent work rate would reap the deserved reward.

With the wind gusting fiercely Sligo upped the intensity and Mark Butler took full advantage with some excellent kicking from hand, coupled with great chase play from Calum Goddard and Enda Gavin, to position Sligo in the ‘Quins danger zone.

Sligo put on the pressure with some excellent carries and again the visitors were forced into the concession of a penalty close to the line.

Once again the scrum was called and when Shane O’Hehir struck the put-in, Sligo shunted towards the line. With Shane Boyle in full control at the base, the inevitable infringement was forced and this time the referee went to the posts to award the penalty try.

With fifteen minutes remaining, the sky went black and a deluge was dumped on Hamilton park but this did not deter Sligo, who despite the horrendous conditions, continued to play with purpose.

Sean Wynne secured a lineout on the 22 and the ball was move midfield. Mata Fifita carried strongly and the ruck was set up in front of the posts. The ball was quickly recycled and Matt Davey took an excellent line to burst through the cover and touch down on the right.

Keegan’s conversion was the final score of the game and when the ref blew for full time the Sligo faithful celebrated a well deserved victory.

Although Sligo will be out of competitive action until the new year , the annual St Stephens day match will be an opportunity for players to ‘work off’ the Christmas dinner.

The match kicks off at 2 pm on the 26th and returning and local players and friends are welcome to Hamilton park for some fun rugby and hospitality in the club house afterwards.

Sligo Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Enda Gavin, Mata Fifita, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily (co–captain), Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir (co–captain), Conor Mitchell, Ciaran Cassidy, Rob Holian, Jason East, Matt Davey, Shane Boyle. Reps Sean Wynne, Ross O’Boyle, Sean Mullin, Jake Sexton, Niall Gray.

 

AIL 2B: Two in a row for Sligo

Corinthians RFC 17

Sligo RFC 19

Sligo made it two in a row in their ALL Ireland League campaign with a superbly crafted 2 point win over a physical Corinthians outfit in Galway on Saturday. Sligo’s defence and discipline were the two pillars of a game plan that was executed superbly by a wholly committed Sligo team.

Playing into the teeth of a ferocious wind Sligo kicked off and had to withstand an immediate barrage from a fired up local outfit intent on bringing their big ball carriers into the fray as often as possible. The Sligo defence stood strong however, with Mark Butler, Enda Gavin and Calum Goddard all putting in bone shuddering tackles in the early stages. Prop forward Tom Gormaley threw himself into tackles like man possessed despite carrying a hamstring injury and one hit from powerhouse Mata Fifita must have left his opposite number wondering what day of the week it was.

Inevitably, with such a wind  advantage, the local were going to score at some stage in the first half, and Corinthians picked up trys on the half hour and just prior to the interval to move into a 10 point lead.

Sligo coaches Paddy Pearson and Jason East rallied the troops at half time , impressing on them the importance of keeping faith with the system and to continue with the herculean effort being displayed.

Following the resumption the excellent work rate began to pay off as Sligo began to dominate in the scrum and make inroads into ‘blue’ territory. With 50 minutes on the clock Sligo struck. A scrum on the half way line on the right hand side was wheeled towards touch. Scrum Half Ryan Feehily saw his chance and made a searing break down the blind side before being hauled down in the 22.  Sligo recycled quickly and good hands from Butler , Gavin and Jack Keegan gave Philip Carter the opportunity to finish on the left. Keegan put over an excellent conversion and Sligo were within 3!

Sligo continued to press, with the scrum causing the locals all sorts of problems and the defensive line speed continuously forcing errors. Hooker Shane O’Hehir was putting in his best performance in a Sligo shirt this season with second rows Ciaran Cassidy and Rob Holian causing mayhem with powerful carries time after time. The backrow of Matthew Davey, Shane Boyle and Sean Wynne, who was incidentally only making his first start in a Sligo senior jersey, hit everything that moved, setting the tone for the rest of the team.

Keegan brought the scores level with another well struck penalty on 55 minutes, and proved his invaluable worth by putting his side into the lead with another excellent effort on 60 mins to take the lead.

Sligo were now in full flow and a sustained period of pressure in the Corinthians 22 resulted in Butler slotting over a sweetly struck drop goal to extend the lead for his side. Corinthians tried to respond but Sligo were not taking a backward step.

The intensity spilled over with 10 minutes remaining with a good old fashioned dust up erupting with all 30 players involved. To the disbelief of the Sligo faithful when all had calmed down the referee awarded a penalty to Corinthians and sent two Sligo players and only one local to the sin bin.

With Sligo down two forwards Corinthians sensed an opportunity and elected to take the scrum. Sligo, however, were not to be broken and a huge effort from Conor Mitchell and Kuba Wojtkowicz forced a penalty and Keegan made no mistake with the kick.

Corinthians made the most of the numerical advantage with a try in the dying moments but it was too late for a comeback and come the long whistle there were jubilant scenes from the travelling supporters.

The much needed win moves Sligo up to 6th in UBL div 2B table with one more fixture before the Christmas break.

Next Saturday sees Belfast Harlequins come to Strandhill with an earlier kick off time of 2pm.

Sligo Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Enda Gavin, Mata Ffitia, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily (Co Capt.) Kuba Wojtkowicz,  Shane O’Hehir, Tom Gormaley, Rob Holian, Ciaran Cassidy, Matt Davey, Sean Wynne, Shane Boyle. Reps: Ross O’Boyle, Conor Mitchell, Jack Sexton, Niall Gray, Brendan Cunningham

 

 

U14: Sligo win entertaining encounter

Sligo U14s 17 – Buccaneers U14s 5

Sligo U14s continued their winning ways last Saturday in Hamilton Park and cemented their position at the top of the table after round 7 in Division 1 of the Connacht league. Having already beaten Buccaneers away at the end of September, Sligo were determined to gain all four points from the game and move 8 points ahead of second-placed Corinthians.

Sligo U14s in action against Buccaneers

Ably led by captain Ambrose Bamber, the home side overcame a tough challenge from Buccaneers and finished the first half 7-5, thanks to a Kealon Schoen try. From a sustained attack, Sligo made the most of a penalty advantage to drive Schoen over the line for the opening score of the game. Oisin O’Neill added the extra 2 points. Buccs’ eventually broke through the Sligo line after sustained defence and struck back late in the first half to touch down in the corner, but the conversion drifted wide.

The second half was a tense after with the visitors piling on the pressure, but the home defence again proved steady and good game management by Sligo established a foothold in opposition’s half, culminating in Ambrose Bamber driving over from a short-range penalty move to put another 5 points on the scoreboard. The visitors showed great determination and fought back securing territorial dominance but a fine second try from Kealon Schoen sealed the deal for Sligo.
Overall, it was an entertaining game, with Sligo the well-deserved victors.

It was a fine performance and a great team effort, overcoming stiff opposition from Buccaneers. Sligo now find themselves well-placed to make the semi-final of the league, as top two qualify. Next game for the U14 side will be the hotly contested local derby against Ballina on 8th December.

Training continues every Tuesday 6-7.30 all welcome.

U18.5: Sligo v Buccaneers

Sligo U18.5s 29 – Buccaneers U18.5s 26

Hamilton Park played host to Round 7 of the U18.5 Division 1A league on Sunday and it was the home side who had an explosive start to the game, dominating from the kick-off, with Will Whelan showing great footwork to weave his way through the Buccaneers’ defence and ground the ball in the corner. The difficult conversion fell short and Sligo were 5-0 up. The next 25 minutes was played within the Sligo 22m as Buccaneers dominated the play. They were eventually rewarded for their efforts when they drove over for a try and the conversion put them 2 points ahead with 5 minutes to go in the half. Sligo had the chance to take back the lead with a penalty and resultant line-out on the Buccaneers’ 5m line, but the ball sailed over the back of the line out giving possession back to the visitors, a fortunate knock-on ended the half, with Sligo trailing by a mere 2 points.

Will Whelan scores his first of 3 tries

The second half was a hotly contested affair with Matthew Earley first to open the scoring, dotting down out wide to put the home side 10-7 up. Buccaneers were quick to counter and retake the lead with a try but failed to add the extras. The pace of the game was hectic, with lots of phases of play and Sligo enjoyed a period of dominance with Will Whelan getting the ball wide, spotting a gap in the Buccaneers defence and racing over the line to run the ball in under the posts. Matthew Earley stroked the conversion over and the home side were 17-12 up with 15 minutes to go.
 Buccs’ regained possession from the restart and went through the phases to eventually work the ball score under posts to retake the lead from the home side.

no going past the Sligo defence

Sligo maintained pressure from the restart and won the ball back through determined rucking. Will Whelan was on fire, and his sidestep carved open the Buccaneers’ defence again to clock up his third try of the afternoon to give his side a 3 point margin with 10 minutes remaining. This was quickly followed by another sweeping move across the pitch and a neat grubber kick from Hubert Gilvarry, was collected by Thomas Fox and he dotted down under the posts for his team’s fifth try of the game. Earley’s conversion added the extras and Sligo lead 29-19 with only 7 minutes left. The game still had another few twists and turns to go, as the visitors made the most of a series of calls in their favour to drive over the line from a 5 metre penalty. The conversion sailed over to bring it back to a 3 point game. Sligo defended from the restart and their defence held strong in the final few seconds of the game, as a Buccaneers drive was held up over the line. The referee awarded the 5 metre scrum and then blew the final whistle, much to relief of a large home crowd.

This epic win means that Sligo leapfrog Buccaneers into 4th position in the league. Their next game is a tough encounter away to league leaders Ballinasloe on Sunday 9th December

Back to the 80s

Time to turn back the clock and go back to the rugby club disco. The Back to the 80s Big Christmas Party will take place on Saturday 15th December from 9.30pm ‘til very late, with prizes for the best 80s costume. This event is strictly over 18s and is open to the public, with all profit going to the Sligo RFC Development Fund. Tickets are priced at €15 each and are available from Keane’s Centra Strandhill, Cosgrove’s Centra Maugheraboy and The Record Room.

Gulls are Flying High

Table-topping Sligo Gulls continue their winning ways with a comprehensive 33-19 win over Ballyshannon RFC in a challenge game last Sunday. The Sligo 3rds team was only revived this year after a 35 year lull and the team continues to go from strength to strength, boasting a panel of 26 players for most games. The Gulls train every Wednesday at 7pm and welcome players of all experience.

U17s Division 1 & 2 in action away

There were mixed fortunes for the U17 teams as they both played away last Sunday. The Division 1 team travelled to the fortress of Monivea and came away with all the spoils, securing a 15-21 victory against the home side to add another 4 points to their league tally and remain in the top four of the U17 Division 1 league. Their next home game is on Sunday 2nd December, when they take on second placed Ballinasloe.

Such are the great numbers in the U17 squad, that they are able to enter a second team in the Connacht U17 boys’ leagues. After their narrow 2 point defeat to league-leaders Westport last weekend, the Sligo U17 Development team travelled to Westport on Sunday, where they were met by a strong home side who won 42-21, to go top of the table. The U17 Development side travel away to Loughrea next Saturday.

J1A: Creggs prove too strong for Sligo

The Sligo Junior team travelled to Creggs last Saturday in Round 7 of the Connacht J1A league. They were met by a determined home side, who are now only 5 points off league-leaders Connemara. The sides remained scoreless until the 25th minute, when Creggs crossed the whitewash, but failed to convert their efforts and add the extra 2 points. A second try came only 10 minutes later to bring the score to 12-0 at half-time. Creggs continued with their barrage and the home side added a subsequent 2 tries without reply. A Robbie Ryan intercept try finally got Sligo on the scoreboard, but it was a case of too little, too late, Creggs 24, Sligo 7.

No Joy for U16 Girls

Sligo 7 – Tuam/Oughterard 22

There was no joy for the Sligo girls in front of a big home crowd last Saturday in Hamilton Park. In their debut season, the Sligo U16 girls came up against the well-established Galway side, who amalgamated last year, and are currently top of the table in Division 2 of the Connacht U16 Girls league. The opening 10 minutes proved a shock for the visitors as Bebhinn Hart crossed the line to score the opening try of the game. Cliodhna O’ Sullivan stepped up to convert and coolly slotted the ball between the posts to give the home side a 7 point lead. Tuam/Oughterard quickly settled into the game and had a period of dominance, which resulted in three unanswered tries before the half-time whistle. Sligo’s coaching team of Gabriel Gormley, Michael Cox and Gavin Clinch, rallied their troops at the break and they came out all guns blazing, determined to alter the 7-15 score line. Sligo had 70% possession in the second half, with Tuam/Oughterard under pressure with every play, but the home side were unable to break through the experienced defence and a try, against the run of play, rewarded the visitors with the final score of the game.

Although the score line did not truly reflect the game, the Sligo team, playing in their 4th game of the season, can take great solace from the fact that they now lie 3rd in the table and are improving with every game. Many of Sligo’s players only took up rugby this September and Cria Flanagan, Jasmine Morgan and Grace Molloy were playing their first game for Sligo RFC on Saturday, joined by Teresa Devaney in her second game, with Grace Mulholland returning her first game of the season.

Girls’ rugby has gone from strength to strength in Sligo, with teams now competing from U10 to U18. The catchment area has also grown and players travel twice a week from as far afield as Manorhamilton, Tubbercurry, Coolaney and Drumcliff to join players from Carraroe, Cranmore, Sligo town and Strandhill. A big thanks to Petstop, who sponsor the club jerseys and for their continued support of girls’ rugby in Sligo. Training continues in the rugby club every Monday and Thursday 6.45 – 8pm, no previous experience is necessary. Contact Michael 086 3202244 for further details. Next game in the fixtures is away to Westport on 1st December.