Sligo Rugby Clubâ€™s U-14 team played two challenge games in the last week in preparation for the upcoming U-14 Connacht Cup. Both games were played in Hamilton Park, Strandhill. The first game was played in mid week against Monivea while the second game was played on Saturday morning against Enniskillen.
Sligo 38 :: Monivea 12
In the first game the Sligo team, captained by Kieran Blake playing at out-half, produced a powerful display of skilful rugby to control this game right from the start. The pack gave a wonderful display of forward play to deliver quality ball to the halfbacks. They scrummaged well and cleverly used driving mauls to advance the gain line. They scored one of the best tries of the day from such a movement midway through the second half. They used a â€˜pick and goâ€™ technique whenever a ruck formed and mauled their way over the tryline.
The outside backs were also presented with good quality ball and they moved it swiftly and accurately along a quickly moving backline to set-up numerous scoring chances.
Overall in this game the Sligo boys scored six tries. Sean Donnelly and Enda Roche scored two each, while James Mullen and Diarmuid Oâ€™Dowd-Hill got the other two. Kieran Blake landed four of the six conversions.
Monivea to their credit scored two good tries and one drop-kicked conversion rather than the more commonly seen placed-kicked attempt.
Sligo 15 :: Enniskillen 17
The second game arranged for Saturday morning was played on a perfect pitch that had just been rolled. Enniskillen, the opposition on this occasion, turned out a team containing some physically stronger players than Monivea. It was a stern test for Sligo, who were captained by Michael Martin at out-half for this match. Scores were hard won by both sides as no team had a major advantage over the other. The end result was a very useful challenge game for both sides with important cup games not too far away.
The opening score, a try by right winger Enda Roche, was scored after ten minutes of play. This was followed shortly afterwards by an Enniskillen try when Sligo cover at the back was breached. Enniskillen scored again before halftime to leave the score 12 – 5 to the visitors entering the second half.
After the restart we again saw some great rugby by both teams. It was end to end play by two teams playing as though this was a competitive cup game.
Sligo were first to cross the tryline in this half. After a good backline movement, David Heffernan playing at second centre, gave a good pass to the inrushing fullback, Kieran Blake, who touched down in the corner. The score was now 12 – 10 to Enniskillen and Sligo piled on the pressure and were rewarded with another fine try by Enda Roche after 20 minutes. The score now stood at 15 â€“ 12 to Sligo but Enniskillen were not finished yet. Their pack put in a determined bid to snatch this game and they were rewarded late in the game when they crossed the tryline for the third time to leave the final score 17 â€“ 15 to Enniskillen.
Both teams scored three tries in this game. Enniskillen converted one try but all three conversion attempts by Sligo fullback, Kieran Blake, came back off the woodwork. Two of those were kicked from close to the touchline.
Sligo Panel: Kieran Blake, Enda Roche, David Heffernan, Will Weaver, Barry Brennan, Michael Martin, Eddie Weaver, Patrick Saba, Martin Davey, Matthew Davey, Ben â€˜supermanâ€™ Spelman, James Mullen, Eoin Flanagan, Caomhan Lyons, Sean Donnelly, Philip Moriarty, James Rooney, David Verdon, Brian Simon, Martin Clarke, Jack Kennedy, Ross Gordon, Enda Gavin, Jonathan Draper, Karol Devanney, Diarmuid Oâ€™Dowd-Hill and James O’Hehir.