The Sligo All-Ireland League Division 2B team currently lie in 4th place in the league, 6 points behind Rainey Old Boys and 7 points ahead of Wanderers in 5th. The team travel to 8th placed Dungannon RFC on Saturday 6th April and are hoping for a repeat of their 33-25 win from last October. Sligo need one final win to confirm their 4th place playoff spot and challenge for promotion to Division 2A.
Best of luck to the Summerhill College U14 team who will play the Connacht League Final against Marist College, Athlone at 12.00 this Wednesday, 3rd April 12 in Tuam RFC.
Efforts continue within the club to raise the much-needed funds for the development of the clubhouse. The Club Auction will take place on 28th April in the Glasshouse. Anyone with items to be donated to the auction, should contact any club committee member.
Sligo Gulls 10 – Carrick-on-Shannon 23
Hamilton Park played host to the quarter-final of the Ard na Cregg Cup last Saturday afternoon, when the Sligo Gulls, the third senior team in Sligo RFC took on J2 League Winners Carrick-on-Shannon. The visitors were the hot favourites to win through to the semi-final and Sligo’s odds had lengthened even more with the news that several influential players were unavailable for selection due to absence and injury.
The home side took the lead after 10minutes, when fullback Eoin Mc Cormack slotted home a well-struck penalty. Carrick piled on the pressure and responded with an equalising penalty 3minutes later. The Gulls’ defence continued to be tested and strong running from the visitors resulted in two tries and a conversion to bring the score to 3-15 at half-time.
The Gulls came out fighting in the second half and gave a great display of solid rugby, with the pack securing possession and setting up the backline for some determined running. Carrick found themselves on the backfoot for the opening 20minutes and the pressure led to a succession of penalties. Sligo opted to run the ball each time, exerting even more pressure on the visitors and a yellow card was eventually issued for persistent offences. The vocal home crowd did their best to get their team over the line, but a solid Carrick defence refused to crack, and some impressive clearance kicks finally relieved the pressure and brought the play into the Sligo 22. The home side were caught offside and Carrick added another 3points from a penalty in front of posts.
The Gulls were dominant from the restart and once again piled on the pressure. Darragh Mc Elhinney controlled the pace of the game, with quick ball from the back of the ruck. Strong ball-carrying from Niall Cawley, Dermot Kiely and Gary Golden tested the Carrick defence and Sligo’s determination and never-say-die attitude was eventually rewarded when Jamie Gerrity crashed over for a well-deserved try, much to the delight of the now-raucous home supporters. Eoin McCormack added the extras to put 8points between the sides, with only 5minutes left on the clock.
Pressure from the restart, resulted in a penalty for Carrick and having been dominant in the lineout throughout the game, they kicked for touch. A strong maul from the big Carrick pack, set up a ruck on the Sligo 5m line and the pack picked the ball and drove over the line for the final score of the game.
This may have been the Gulls’ final game of the season but it marks the start of a new era in senior rugby for Sligo RFC. It has been 35years since the Club last fielded three senior competitive teams. Great credit must go to coaches Podge Johnson and Clive Morris, as well as team manager Declan Lynch. Nearly 30 players were part of the Gulls’ squad this year, a mixture of young players who have come up though the youths’ system, complete novices to the game and many experienced players, with a real love for rugby. Jamie Gerrity finished the season as top try scorer (6 tries) with David Cummins coming in second (4tries). Well done to all involved.
Sligo Gulls: Christophe Perrott, Andreas Probst (c) James Tansey, Michael Healy, Niall Cawley, Jordan Sexton, Peter Walpole, Gary Golden, Mark Harte, Darren Harte, Jean De Rouge, Sean McVeigh, David Cummins, Callum McLoughlin, Eoin McCormack, Andrew Kerr, Dermot Kiely, Thomas McBride, Vincent Reynolds, Podge Johnson
The final home game of the season takes place on Saturday 13th April, when Sligo play Sunday’s Well at 2.30p.m. The club will host a pre-match lunch at 1p.m., open to all members and friends of Sligo RFC. The two-course lunch from The Glasshouse, includes a complimentary glass of wine and entry to the match at the cost of €20 per person. Advance booking is essential, as places are limited. To book your place, text Des on 086 246 9829 before 8pm Wednesday 10th April.
This year, Sligo RFC boast an incredible 21 teams, from U7s in the Juvenile section to Division 2B of the All-Ireland League. This total includes 8 juvenile and 9 youth teams of both boys and girls, three senior teams and now an U20 team, who will compete in this year’s Connacht U20 Cup. The U20 Cup will see teams representing Ballina, Ballinrobe, Connemara, Corinthians, Creggs, Monivea/Westport and Sligo face off in a knockout series of games, with three quarter-finals before two semi-finals and a decider on the Easter weekend. Sligo U20s will play at home against local rivals Ballina in the semi-final at 1p.m. on 7th April.
Sligo RFC 50 – Our Lady’s Boys Club 7
Sligo Development Squad finished their season in fine style with an emphatic victory in the Connacht Junior Plate final at Connacht Rugby headquarters, The Sportsgrounds, in Galway on Sunday. Sligo crossed the whitewash 8 times in an all action display in a match they dominated from start to finish.
Playing towards the College Road end , with the aid of the stiff breeze, Sligo’s Euan Brown kicked off. Sligo forced the early pace and camped inside the boys club 22. Jake Sexton, Christian Nielsen and David Heath all carried powerfully before team captain Garry O’Hehir broke through wide on the right to open his and Sligo’s account.
Two minutes later Sligo struck again, an inch perfect Brown cross kick was fielded by left winger Charlie Cooper who raced in and around and touched down behind the posts. Brown added the extras.
Another two minutes and the Sligo blitz continued when a sweeping left to right move was finished by pacey right winger Robbie Ryan. Sligo were now in full flow, the front row of Craig Adams, James O’Hehir and Ross O’Boyle had the edge at the scrum. David Heath and Michael Mc Morrow brought energy from the second row and flanker Jack Gormely was carrying strongly. Centres Sean Mullin and Mark Gerrity consistently broke the gain line and Donal Brady was a live wire at full back.
With 20 minutes gone Mullin collected the ball on the half way line and burst through the first line of defence. The cover defence looked like halting the powerful centre but Mullin wasn’t for stopping and swatted away three tackle attempts before crashing over the line for Sligo’s fourth of the day. Browns conversion pushed Sligo’s lead to 26 points.
Boys Club responded and picked up a try of their own following some strong carries from their powerful pack but respite was short lived as Brown raced over the line and added the extras to move the halftime score to 33-7.
It was more of the same in the second half for Sligo, replacements Matt Kavanagh, Gary Golden Conor McElligot, Liam McElhinney and Jason East all slotted in seamlessly keeping the pressure on their Galway rivals.
Nielsen picked up Sligo’s 6th before Garry O’Hehir crossed the line twice more to complete his hat-trick and cap a memorable day for Sligo RFC.
Connacht rugby President Mossy Moran paid tribute to both teams before presenting the trophy to O’Hehir who raised it high to the cheers of the Sligo travelling support.
Sligo Donal Brady, Robbie Ryan, Sean Mullin, Mark Gerrity, Charlie Cooper, Euan Brown, Garry O’Hehir (Capt), Ross O’Boyle, James O’Hehir, Craig Adams, Michael McMorrow, David Heath, Jack Gormely, Christian Nielsen, Jake Sexton. Reps Conor McElligot, Liam McElhinney, Jason East, Matt Kavanagh, Gary Golden.
Congratulations to Alannah Gallagher who was successful in making the Connacht U18 Women’s 7s squad after competing in trials in Galway. Alannah only started playing rugby last season but is a talented all-rounder, also playing Gaelic football with Drumcliff/Rosses Point and soccer with Yeats Utd. Sligo RFC were unable to field an U18 girls’ team this year, but such was her new-found love for the game, that Alannah, and others, continued to train with the U16 and U14 teams. Sligo RFC are delighted for Alannah, who is currently training alongside the latest Irish international player, 17 year old Bebhinn Parsons, and wish her the very best of luck.
Two Sligo players are in the running for Connacht Rugby Awards on April 13th.
Scrum half Ryan Feehily has been nominated for the Connacht Senior Club Player of the Year. Ryan is an integral part of the All-Ireland League Division 2B team. He is joint captain, along with Shane O’Hehir and is the current top scorer for the season, with a total of 9 tries.
Donnacha Byrne has been nominated for the Connacht U18 Player of the Year. Captain of the U18.5 Club team and the Summerhill College senior team, Donnacha has also played for Connacht U18s and U19s and is currently training with the Ireland U18 Clubs & Schools, having earned his first Irish Cap against Italy in November.
Sligo 20 – Westport 22
The replay of the Division 2 League Final took place in Ballina RFC last Sunday. The first encounter between these two teams had been memorable. The large crowd were treated to an 8 try spectacle, with a 26-26 draw ensuring both teams would get another shot at the title.
The replay was once again a very close encounter. Westport lead 10-8 at the break thanks to a penalty and intercept try against the run of play. Sligo’s points came from a Cathal Feely penalty and a try by Josh Young.
Following the break Sligo took the lead when Callum Wall drove over from a well-worked maul. Westport however, came back strongly to take the lead with a converted try under the posts and then extended this lead out to 22-15 with a well-worked try in the corner with less than 10 mins to go. Led by captain Patrick Dixon, this Sligo U17 side have developed a great team spirit through this season and were not finished yet. U16 player Liam Candon, who had given a storming performance throughout, touched down out wide, following a period of sustained pressure, but unfortunately Cathal Feely’s conversion fell short of the mark. This proved to be the last kick of the game and a mere two points gave the league title to Westport.
Next Sunday sees Sligo play the Connacht U17 Cup semi-final against Buccaneers in Hamilton Park at 12 noon.
Sligo: P Padowski, C Wall, E Coyle, P Dixon (c), A Young, L Candon, J Mc Niffe, D Brennan, M O Hehir, C Feely, C Mc Meekin, B Reynolds, L Scott, F Young, J Carr, J Young, M Moroney, A Hunter, S Muldoon