Corinthians RFC 12
Sligo RFC 16
Sligo made it three wins from four Energia All Ireland League division 2B matches with a well crafted victory over Galway rivals Corinthians at Cloonacauneen on Saturday. The win pushes Sligo to joint fourth in the league, with 12 points, sharing the position with Dublin rivals Blackrock College.
Sligo kicked off playing with the aid of the breeze and looked to immediately put pressure on the home side. Corinthians looked to play their way out of the danger zone but the relentless Sligo pressure forced a penalty out wide on the left and Euan Brown struck an excellent kick to open his teams account.
Sligo continued the excellent start and a Josh Reeves line kick again pinned the locals back in their 22.
From a lineout on the 22, Matthew Early combined with Daire Byrne and the ball was moved quickly off the top. Scrum Half Hubert Gilvary moved the ball to midfield where Brown made a half break into the Corinthians 22. Sligo continued to build the phases with Guilherme Coghetto, Donnacha Byrne and Eddie Coyle all making significant contibutions before the ball made its way to Calum Goddard who fought his way over to score in the right corner. Brown added the conversion with another excellent strike.
Corinthians looked to respond, and forced a penalty which was dispatched to touch inside the Sligo 22. The lineout looked a perfect opportunity to attack but Sligo’s Matthew O’Hara superbly claimed the throw and the danger looked over. Unfortunately for the visitors the attempted clearance was blocked and a kind bounce allowed flanker Cathal Evans touch down at the right post. Dylan Keane added the conversion to move the score to 7-10 in favour of the visitors.
Sligo again looked to re-establish their dominance and positioned themselves in the home 22. Pressure forced the award of a Sligo 5 metre scrum and the front row of Pedro Bengalo, Earley and Coyle marched towards the line, unfortunately control was lost at the base and Corinthians were awarded a relieving scrum. The relief was short lived however, as Sligo were awarded a penalty from a scrum on the 10 meter line which Brown again slotted between the uprights to put the half time score at 7-13 in favour of the visitors.
With the game on a knife edge, the second half began with both sides looking for the all import next score. A super Ross Hickey break opened up the defence before linking with James O’Hehir who was halted by desperate defence just short of the line. The relentless Sligo pressure eventually told and Brown added another 3 points with his third penalty of the day.
Corinthians again responded and a driving lineout maul resulted in a try bringing the score to 12-16 setting the scene for a tense finish.
Sligo remained in control however, denying the home team any meaningful possession, particularly at the lineout where O’Hara was outstanding, and come the final whistle it was the travelling faithful that were celebrating.
Next Saturday sees round 5 of the All Ireland league, with Sligo hosting nearest neighbours Ballina, resuming an age old rivalry between the two clubs. With league points at a premium an intense encounter and atmosphere is guaranteed. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Hamilton Park.
Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Enda Gavin, Josh Reeves, Calum Goddard, Euan Brown, Hubert Gilvary, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Craig Trimble, Rob Holian, Matthew O’Hara, Daire Byrne, Donnacha Byrne. Reps: Ross Hickey, James O’Hehir, Michael McMorrow, Jake Sexton, Finn Lynch Young