Omagh Academicals RFC 22 – Sligo RFC 14
Sligo’s poor form on the road continued when they they lost out to Omagh Academicals with an error strewn performance at the Thomas Mellon playing fields on Saturday. As a result Sligo have now dropped to 3rd place in the Ulster Bank League division 2C 5 points behind leaders Malahide with 3 games remaining.
With an early start time of 12 noon Sligo kicked off into the teeth of the strong wind. The early exchanges looked promising with Sligo having the edge at the scrum and putting pressure on the Omagh throw at the lineout but it was the hosts that opened the scoring with a penalty after 17 minutes.
Sligo looked to immediately respond but a loose pass was intercepted by the on-rushing Omagh defence resulting in the concession of a try under the posts.
Sligo’s woes were further compounded 5 minutes later when Omagh picked up their second try of the afternoon with a flowing move down the left.
Sligo were now facing a tough task but a glimmer of hope was garnered prior to the interval. A penalty award gave Sligo an attacking position in the Omagh 22. Scrum Half Ryan Feehily tapped quickly and an extra 10 meters was awarded. Sligo opted for the scrum and worked their way close to the line. Mata Fifita, Manu Parkin and Conor Mitchell all went close before Matthew Cosgrove ran onto a well timed Feehily pass to touchdown wide on the right. Jack Keegan converted with an excellent kick from the difficult angle.
With 8 points between the teams at the interval Sligo resumed knowing the next score was vital. An excellent Mark Rooney break put Sligo into the Omagh 22 the move was carried on between Mata Fifita, Mike Wells and Feehily but an over elaboration saw the chance lost with the line at the mercy of the visitors.
Sligo continued to try to unlock the Omagh defence but their play was dogged with inaccuracies and possession was coughed up too many times.
Omagh picked up their 3rd try on 70 minutes, effectively shutting the door on a Sligo revival and although substitute hooker Ross O’Boyle picked up a second try for Sligo with 5 minutes remaining there was no way back for the visitors.
With 3 games remaining Sligo will need the maximum return to keep any hopes of a title win alive. Next up is the visit of Bruff RFC to Strandhill on March 24th, followed by a visit to table toppers Malahide RFC and the final day sees current second placed Thomond RFC come to Strandhill.
Sligo Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Mata Fifita, Calum Goddard, Mike Wells, Ryan Feehily, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir, Conor Mitchell, James Wilson, Ciaran Cassidy, Shane Boyle (Capt) Manu Parkin, Matthew Cosgrove. Reps Mark Keegan, Ross O’Boyle, Matthew Davey, David Heath, Christian Nielsen.