Sligo win in Tullamore

Tullamore RFC 11 :: Sligo RFC 19

Sligo advanced to the quarter final of the All Ireland junior cup with an eight point defeat of a strong Tullamore outfit at Spollanstown on Saturday. The visitors outscored the home outfit by three Trys to one on their way to an impressive victory.

In ideal conditions for Rugby the opening minutes were dominated by tactical kicking, with both teams trying to gain territorial advantage. Tullamore put together the first attack of note on 10 minutes when a sweeping left to right backline move broke down close to the Sligo line when the ball was dropped by winger Colin Hughes. Sligo cleared their lines following the resulting scrum.

The opening score arrived after 20 minutes when Sligo were penalized at the breakdown on their own 22. Outhalf Johnny Maloney slotted the kick to open his teams account.

Sligo responded and were almost rewarded when a Jordan Farrington drop goal attempt drifted right of the uprights.

Tullamore again turned on the pressure and began to use their off loading game to good effect. The opening try came on 25 minutes when a series of rucks in the Sligo 22 allowed Scrum half Ritchie Hughes the space to round the cover and touch down in the corner. Maloneys conversion attempt fell short.

Sligo regrouped and went looking for their opening score. A Mark Butler cross kick was chased by Jordan Farrington and as a result of the centre’s pressure the ball broke to the alert Frankie Feeney who outpaced the cover defence to touchdown in the left corner. Butler was short with a well struck conversion attempt to leave the score at 8 points to 5 in favour of the home team at the break.

Tullamore started brightly in the second half and further extended their lead with a Maloney penalty on 43 minutes following an infringement at the ruck by sligo. This score however was to be the home times last of the match as Sligo began to up the tempo and impose their game on the hosts.

Sligo’s second try came on the hour mark when a fine chase by Matele Fifita from a good tactical kick by Butler resulted in a lineout to the north-westerners. A sustained period of continuity play ensued with twelve phases being executed before scrum half Paddy Pearson made a trademark break and burst through the cover to touch down 5 yards from the right touchline. Butlers sweetly struck conversion put his team ahead for the first time in the game.

The momentum was now firmly with Sligo, the scrum was dominant and the lineout which had been shaky was now beginning to provide quality possession. Peter Mullan and Paddy Conlon were carrying well and Cathal Culhane was always on hand to snuff out any possible Tullamore danger.

Sligo went the all important 2 scores ahead on 70 minutes. In similar fashion to the second try Sligo built up the phases inside the Tullamore 22. A quick ruck folloing fine carry by the powerful Wesley Maxwell was moved to Butler who stepped inside the defence and touched down under the posts. The outhalf added the extras to move his teams total to 19.

Tullamore gamely tried to react and looked to move the ball at every opportunity but Sligo were now in control and their well organized defence forced the home team to turn over possession time after time. James Wilson and Billy Leahy both put in notable bone crunching tackles during this period. The final whistle was greeted with tremendous celebrations by the Sligo team and the large group of travelling supporters.

Sligo’s reward for this victory is a home quarter final against Armagh. The Ulster club will provide a stern test as they were narrowly beaten in last seasons final by City of Derry who are now sitting on top of division 3 of the All Ireland League. The match is fixed for Saturday November 27th.

One notable absentee from Saturdays match was Sligo’s Aaron Spring. The dynamic forward has been selected on the Ireland U20 side that faces Italy next weekend. All at Sligo RFC wish him the best of luck.

Sligo David Gerrity, Billy Leahy, Jordan Farrington, Matele Fifita,Frankie Feeney, Mark Butler, Paddy Pearson, Wesley Maxwell, Ross Mannion, Adrian Mc Hale, James Wilson, Trevor Sweeney, Cathal Culhane, Paddy Conlon, Peter Mullan. Reps Martin Feeney for Maxwell, Gary Conneely for Sweeney, Terence O Connor, James Coulter, Ciaran Stafford.

Tullamore. Michael Brazil, Mark Whelan, Ivor Scully, Aaron Deverrell, Colin Hughes, john Maloney, Ritchie Hughes, Alvin Bracken, Cathal Feighery, Steve Mc Quaid, David Hanlon, Ivor Deverrell, Cyril Cornally,David Miline, Adrian Hanley, Reps Kevin Brown, Ger Molloy, Paul Mc Niff, Daragh O’Beirne, Rory Deverrell.