Sligo 5 :: Corrib 10
Corrib created the upset of the season in the province on Sunday last when they defeated Sligo in the opening round of the Cawley Cup at Hamilton Park. The game was played in deplorable conditions, in continuous rain on a pitch which resembled a quagmire.
Corrib adapted much better to the conditions with their mature pack causing Sligo many problems. Sligo entered this game as favourites as this may have proved to be their undoing as they never played to their potential. For their part, Corrib who have recently being relegated to Division 2 of the Connacht Junior League for next season, were the hungrier and more determined side.
The conditions dictated that this was going to be a war of attrition between the packs and the fact that all three tries scored in the game, came from driving mauls, is testimony to this. With Sligo struggling in the forward exchanges, they found it difficult to get their back line moving. When the ball was moved wide, the home side had in winger, Julian Rippon the most impressive player on view and it was most certainly not his fault that Sligo were not victorious. Rippon handled the ball very well and was always probing for openings. He was well supported by full-back David Gerrity who had another very solid game. In the pack, Sligoâ€™s best performers were Adrian McHale, Jamie Livingstone and Martin Feeney.
Sligo were forced to line out without wing-forward Andrew Williams, who suffered a broken nose at training on Friday and he was certainly badly missed from the back row. After a very uneventful first half, Corrib led by 5-0, with their pack mauling the ball over the Sligo line after 20 minutes. They increased this lead to 10-0, twelve minutes after the resumption with another mauled try. This score stirred Sligo into action and they dominated for the remainder of the game. They reduced arrears with 15 minutes remaining, when their pack mauled over the Corrib line and loose-head prop Martin Feeney touched down. Sligo continued to press forward, but despite some valiant efforts, they could not cross the line again and Corrib held out for a surprising but deserving victory.
For Sligo, this defeat marks a rather abrupt and unexpected end to this season. Corrib play Loughrea at home in the quarter final.
Sligo: D. Gerrity, J.Rippon, C. Culhane, G. Foley, S. Connolly, R. Burrows, B. Leahy, M. Feeney, R. Mannion, J. Kelly, A. McHale, P. Mullan (C), R. Gillespie, J. Livingstone, G. Conneally. Subs: T. Sweeney.