Sligo 12 :: Galwegians 7
For the first time in four years Sligo overcame last years league champions Galwegians in a hard fought game in Strandhill by 12 points to 7. Sligo got off to a great start when Wegians knocked on from the deep kick off from full back Pat Hughes. From the resultant scrum just outside the 22 No 8 Aaron Spring broke down the blind side and swayed through the defence to score under the posts and Chris Nairn dropped over the conversion.
However the Galway boys regrouped well and soon had Sligo on the defensive but some excellent tacking in the back line from centres Keith Mc Golderick and Chris Nairn held them out. Sligo found it difficult to get possession and when they did it was â€œslow ballâ€? which they tried to move when a good old fashioned clearance kick was what was required. Wegians continued to exert pressure but the Sligo defence were outstanding with Enda McManuas ( Man of the Match) leading the tackle count and Mark Nairn filling in at hooker putting in some big hits.
Near the end of the first half Sligo began to come to terms with the onslaught and finally their â€œhigh riskâ€? rugby did pay dividends when a second phase ball was moved quickly and Aaron Spring broke up field and was well supported by winger James Clarke who took the ball on before being hauled down just over half way , the Sligo pack arrived in numbers with Caolan O Hehir leading the charge, the ball was secured and scrum half Donal Brady flung a long pass to outhalf Cathal Finneran who fed Chris Nairn in space and the Sligo Captain burst through the gap and galloped all of 50 yards to score in the corner for a great try. Pat Hughes missed the difficult conversion leaving the score 12 points to nil when referee Jim Gavin blew for half time.
Galwegians started the second half like a team possessed and were camped in the Sligo 22 but again stout defending and last ditch tackling with David French and Blyth McCormack kept them out , Wegians to their credit kept their patience and were finally rewarded when their No 8 burst over for a try after a number of phases near the Sligo line. Their out-half added the conversion.
With 20 mins on the clock it looked ominous for Sligo, but the Sligo Boys dug deep and raised their game another notch and remained on the offensive for the rest of the match and kept Wegians on the back foot. Again poor decision making ( attempting drop goals, kicking away good possession) resulted in Sligo not adding to their tally which meant there was always a chance that the Galway lads might get a break out try but Sligo held on comfortably in the end.
More photos from the game can be found here.