Galwegians RFC 10
Sligo RFC 42
Sligo’s impressive return to action continued with a well constructed 6 try to 2 victory over a powerful Galwegians outfit at Crowley Park on Saturday. The bonus point win put Sligo in pole position in the Connacht league table, equal on league points with Ballina RFC but with a superior points difference.Sligo won the toss and elected to play towards the road end into the fresh breeze for the first half. The hosts kicked deep and tried to dominate the early exchanges with some powerful tackling and equally powerful carries. The first chance to open the scoring came to the hosts with a penalty attempt from the 10 metre line but Adam Cunningham’s effort drifted wide. ‘Wegians continued to press and with 10 minutes played a gap in the Sligo defence was exploited by Cunningham who stepped inside the cover at the half way line and raced to the line for the opening score. The conversion attempt drifted across the face of the posts.Wegians continued to press and a Mark Earle break look set to yield further reward but the Sligo defence, with James O’Hehir and Sean Wynne tackling with ferocious intensity, held firm and Enda Gavin secured a turnover to relieve the pressure.Sligo regathered their composure and seeked to impose their own game on their hosts, moving the ball to the edge where the pace and footwork of Philip Carter and Stefano Giantorno was troubling the blue defence. Sligo continued to grow and with twenty minutes gone the account was opened with a well struck penalty from Euan Brown who repeated the dose on 35 minutes to edge Sligo into the lead by the narrowest of margins going into the interval.It’s often said that the third quarter or ‘Championship Quarter’ is where many games are won or lost and that was certainly the case in Crowley Park. Following the resumption Sligo raised the intensity level and wrestled control of proceedings with a three try blitz before the clock had reach 60 minutes.Jack Keegan positioned Sligo in the ‘Wegians 22 with an excellent kick taking full advantage of the new 50:22 law which ensured that Sligo were awarded the resulting lineout. Hooker Matthew Earley threw to Rob Holian and Sligo trundled forward. Wegians illegally halted the charge and Sligo opted to go to the corner. Earley again combined with Holian and this time when the drive was halted scrum half Brendan Cunningham moved it to the backs. Three recycles later the defence was breached and Giantorno was over wide on the left. Sligo smelled blood and ruthlessly went for the jugular. Holian collected the restart and raced infield through the first line of defence before linking with Gavin who superbly kept the move alive. Keegan and Wynne combined before O’Hehir popped up to round off a breath-taking score. Keegan added the extras and Sligo were heading out of sight.Try number three arrived on the hour. Giantorno collected a ‘Wegians defensive clearance on the half way line and immediately linked up infield with full back Guilherme Coghetto. Coghetto fed Carter, who stepped two defenders before returning the pass to the looping fullback. The overlap was created and the ball was given to Brown who timed his pass to release Gavin to dive in at the corner and move the Sligo total to 23, an 18 point advantage. In full flow, a rampant Sligo were now on top in all phases. Pedro Bengalo and Eddie Coyle had the edge at the scrum and Tadgh Power added his physicality and experience when called to the fray. The ball from touch was rock solid with Matthew O’Hara seamlessly stepping in to marshal the lineout after replacing the excellent Holian. Craig Trimble was putting in his customary physical shift and Michael McMorrow continued the fight when he was introduced. Ross Hickey was leading his back row with intent. Luke Hogge replaced Carter and showed his pace and power when the play came to his wing.With 10 minutes remaining Sligo struck again. Cunningham darted through a gap at the base of a ruck on the 10 meter line before linking with Giantorno who showed a clean pair of heels and raced to the line for the bonus point try.Wegians picked up a consolation score when Daragh Kennedy made the most of a slip in the Sligo defence but Sligo immediately negated any thoughts of a comeback when Wynne intercepted a Wegians offload on the halfway and set up the ruck. Cunningham fed brown on a close in line and the outhalf raced to within 5 yards before linking with Coghetto to finish. Brown added the extra.Stephen Doyle made his first team debut replacing the hard working O’Hehir and Sligo pushed on. A clearance kick was collected on half way by Hogge who immediately looked to counter. The outside backs combined to bring play back into the 22. McMorrow made a strong carry from the resulting ruck and the ball was shifted left to Coghetto who made no mistake in finishing the last score. Next week Sligo take a break from league action before resuming the age old rivalry with neighbours Ballina in a top of the table clash. The match kicks off at 2.30 on September 4th at Hamilton Park Strandhill.Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Jack Keegan, Enda Gavin, Phillip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham (Capt), Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, James O’Hehir, Sean Wynne, Ross Hickey. Reps: Tadgh Power, Michael McMorrow, Matthew O’Hara, Luke Hogge, Stephen Doyle.