Sligo U15s continued their strong run with an emphatic, home win in the league over a physically bigger Galwegians team. Sligo began the game with Cillian O’Neill kicking the home team into the opposition 22. Galwegians, starting some new players in this game, were unfortunately guilty of a number of technical infringements, resulting in Sligo maintaining pressure in the opening minutes until mobile hooker Ryan Burrows dummied and crossed for the first score.
The pattern for the game was established with strong running from Galwegians meeting committed defence from the smaller, but cohesive, Sligo pack winning penalties. Open play, after good passing from new centre partnership Conor McGoldrick and James McGetterick, put Tadhg Murphy and Heath Jeffries in space repeatedly but they were marshalled into touch on each occasion. Incisive fullback Conor Van Rensburg capped a fine all-round display with a first half try popping between the centres to give Sligo a 10point advantage. Jake Laws at number 8 had a number of rumbles from the base of the scrum before finally getting over to make it 15-0 at half time.
The Sligo boys were certainly in a game with Galwegians’ with runners threatening to break through every time but excellent cover tackles by a committed back row of captain William Draper, Michael Cosgrove and when he came on in rotation Sean Keaney fearless all day. Scrum half Andrew Ryan had a fine all round game, nearly scoring on a number of occasions only to be held up. Props Sam Garvey and substitute Robbie Gileece got through a mountain of work and rock solid tighthead Roghan O’Neill added to a fine season when bursting through for a try under the posts in the second half. Second row pairing Naoise Fitzgerald and James Mackey were giving away a significant size advantage to their opponents, but were the pick of the forwards on defensive duties without missing a tackle all day to cap a very fine display. Ted Keyes slotted into the backrow in the second half with no change in the high quality defensive effort. Backs JD Barnicle came onto the wing in the second half getting better each game, as is new second row Kellan Pol-Wajszczak. Special mention to livewire wing/fullback replacements Mark Greer and Harry Dennison who were unlucky not to score but added great momentum to the team.
Cillian O’Neill’s weaving run contrasted with Sean Keaney’s barnstorming run down the middle with each awarded a second half try to showcase the different ways the game can be played. James McGetterick took over the kicking duties from a hamstrung O’Neill to slot 3 conversions for a final score of 36-7 which flattered Sligo. Galwegians responded with a try in the second half and were only denied by fine cover tackles on two further occasions. Galwegians had a number of injuries prior to the game and, as their new team mates bed in, will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in future. Sligo’s large squad didn’t all play due to league rules, but the season rolls on with competition for places heating up in this entertaining team.