Sligo 22 Corinthians 28

Sligo’s bid to make the top four play-off positions in the Energia All Ireland league Division 2b shipped a major blow when they went down to a strong Corinthians outfit at Strandhill on Saturday. Sligo’s brave effort, scoring three excellently executed Trys, unfortunately fell just short as the visitors held a 6 point lead at the final whistle.

Sligo can take some compensation from the spirit of the performance, fighting right to the end and gaining a losing bonus point with the final kick of the match.

On a beautiful spring afternoon, with the sun beaming down around Knocknarea onto Hamilton Park, Sligo started brightly and signalled their intent by moving the ball wide and early with purpose. The home team looked to have taken an early lead when a pinpoint cross kick from full back Guilherme Coghetto was collected by Philip Carter who touched down in the corner. Unfortunately for Sligo, to the amazement of watching supporters (from both sides) , the score was overruled by the touch judge who claimed that Carter had been bundled into touch.

The early ambition was eventually rewarded with a successful penalty from outhalf Euan Brown, who made a welcome return following an extend absence through injury.

The initial lead was short lived however as Corinthians responded with a try in the left corner following a searing run from Michael O’Reilly. Cathal Forde added the extras.

Sligo knuckled down and continued to play with tempo. Donnacha Byrne and Kuba Wojtkowicz were prominent in the loose exchanges, Eddie Coyle and Craig Trimble’s power steadied the Sligo scrum and Matthew Early was connecting well with Ross Hickey and Rob Holian at the lineout set piece. James O’Hehir was tackling everything that moved.

Sligo’s retook the lead with 35 minutes gone. From a lineout on the left hand side in the Corinthians 22, Scrum half Hubert Gilvarry moved the ball quickly infield where Brown, Ryan Feehily and Calum Goddard combined to free right winger Stefano Giantorno who touch down on the right. Brown slotted the conversion to move the score to 10-7.

Unfortunately for Sligo the lead was short lived as a mix-up at the restart gave Corinthians an immediate foothold with a penalty outside the 22. The visitors went to the corner and attacked with their powerful maul to earn their first try. Forde again converted to give the visitors a 10-14 lead at half time.

Following the resumption, Sligo picked themselves up and again looked to width to attack. Giantorno and Coghetto countered a Corinthian clearance brilliantly down the right touchline resulting in an excellent second try of the day for the right winger to put Sligo ahead by the slimmest of margins.

Corinthians responded again and used their powerful maul to drive Sligo back, scoring two almost identical Trys from close in lineout mauls. Forde converted both moving the score to 15-28.

Sligo salvaged the losing bonus right at the death with a super score from Feehily and Browns excellent touchline conversion but it was a case of what might have been when for the Yeats county men when the ref blew the final whistle.

Next up for Sligo is the visit of Blackrock RFC. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Hamilton park next Saturday.

Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Calum Goddard, Ryan Feehily, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Hubert Gilvarry, Edward Coyle, Matthew Earley, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Craig Trimble, Robert Holian, Ross hickey, James O’Hehir, Donnacha Byrne.

Reps Eoin Ryan, Brian West, Sean Wynne, Brendan Cunningham, Enda Gavin

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