Sligo Fall at Final Hurdle

Corinthians RFC 19
Sligo RFC 17
Sligo’s quest to retain the Connacht Senior League title was cruelly ended with the last kick of the final match against Galway Corinthians at Cloonacauneen on Saturday. With a single point lead going into the last moments, a penalty from the locals overturned Sligo’s one point lead and ended the Yeats county’s title defence by the slimmest of margins. In greasy conditions, Sligo received the kickoff but it was the locals that made the most of the early running. A Corinthians penalty after 10 minutes followed by a converted try after 20 minutes gave the locals a 10 nil lead over the slow starting Sligo outfit. Sligo grew into the game however, and began to exert their own pressure on the home lineout and scrum. Shane Boyle and Rob Holian were the disrupting the home throw and Pedro Bengalo was a handful at the scrum. Sligo’s midfield of Enda Gavin and Jack Keegan were containing the blue threat and Philip Carter and Guilherme Coghetto were countering the Corinthians kicking game with intent.The score line remained at 10-0 until half-time.Sligo regrouped at the interval and came out strongly for the second half. The pressure was rewarded with penalties from Euan Brown in the 45th and 50th minutes to reduce the deficit to 4. With 55 minutes gone Sligo took the lead for the first time. A searing break down the right hand side set the visitors up with a two on one in the home 22. The Corinthian defender illegally knocked the attempted pass forward, to prevent the score, and although a yellow card was issued Sligo were denied what surely would have resulted in a try. From the penalty Sligo went to the corner and although the first drives to the line from the lineout were halted, Sligo’s pressure eventually resulted in Stefano Giantorno going over in the corner to put Sligo ahead by the slimmest of margins.With the match on a knife edge, the lead changed hands 4 more times with Brown and Corinthians Outhalf Dylan Keane both nervelessly dispatching penalty kicks to leave the slimmest of margins in favour of Sligo with seconds left on the clock. A final Sligo clearance was collected by the home outfit on the 10 meter line and the Sligo defenders drove the ball carrier into touch. The Sligo supporters thought that the game was over but to their disbelief, instead of the final whistle, the referee adjudged the play illegal and awarded a penalty to the home team. Keane stepped up, put the ball over the bar, and the Sligo dream was over. Sligo’s focus now shifts to the All Ireland league. Sligo’s division 2B campaign kicks off with the visit of Wanderers FC on October 2nd.Sligo : Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Jack Keegan, Enda Gavin, Phillip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Tadgh Power, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, Shane Boyle, Rob Holian, James O’Hehir, Daire Byrne. Replacements: Jack Gormely, Michael McMorrow, Cian Barden, Jacob Fleming, Joshua Reeves.

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