Sligo Fail To Convert Their Territorial Advantage

Sligo 7 :: Railway Union 7

Sligo and Leinster Junior club, Railway Union, played out a draw in a friendly fixture at Hamilton Park on Saturday last. The game was played in ideal conditions, and while the exchanges were always competitive, Sligo dominated territorially. Regrettably, they failed to transfer this dominance into scores on the board.

Sligo’s pack did very well, and they had their opponents in trouble in the mauls and especially in the scrums. At No.8, Simon Coulter had his best ever game in a Sligo jersey, while prop, Ronan Gillespie and second row, Peter Mullan, were others to make an impact.

Despite receiving a plentiful supply of the ball, the Sligo backs lacked the cutting edge to prise open the visitor’s defence, and this is sure to concern management as they plan for the future. With Billy Leahy, Trevor Sweeney, Andrew Williams and captain, Jamie Livingstone, all absent due to their World Cup travels, and Roger Burrows and Warner Wilders injured, Sligo fielded a depleted side, and they availed of the opportunity to empty their bench in the second half.

Sligo scored after 30 minutes, when following a scrum 10 metres from the Railway Union line, Simon Coulter picked from the base, and offloaded in the tackle to the supporting Joe Sweeney who drove over near the posts. Winger, Julian Rippon converted, to give his team a 7-0 lead. In the second period Sligo passed up on some glorious opportunities to increase their lead. With just 7 minutes remaining, Sligo’s lack of sharpness was appropriately punished, when following some very shoddy defending, Railway Union, in their only second half incursion into Sligo territory, touched down under the posts, for a converted try.

Sligo had a gilt edged chance to score the winner with just two minutes remaining, when Thomas Darcel, after a probing break, elected to go for glory himself rather than feed the supporting Julian Rippon, and he was hauled down just short of the line.

The game marked the debut for the Sligo senior side of centre, Stuart Dorran, and South African, Karl Renzburgh in the pack, and both will be happy with their performances. James Gavin was an excellent referee.

Sligo:Kakaber Machitidze, Julian Rippon, Cathal Culhane, Stuart Dorran, Thomas Darcel, Gavin Foley, Stuart O’Brien, Ronan Gillespie, Ross O’Boyle, Martin Feeney, Peter Mullan [c.], Adrian McHale, Gary Conneally, Simon Coulter, Joe Sweeney. Subs [All Used]: Joe Kelly, Philip Henry, Karl Van Renzburgh, Ralph Lucey.