Sligo RFC Development XV 24 – Monivea RFC 1st XV15
Following the nail-biting finish to last week’s game, that saw the favoured home team of Monivea beaten by 2 points, this week’s return leg promised to be a cracker, and the many home fans were not disappointed.
The Sligo Development XV took to the pitch in Hamilton Park and showed that they meant business, putting the visitors under pressure from the kick off. Sligo were the first to put points on the board after 12 minutes. Andrew Blannin capitalised on a handling error from Monivea, and broke through the defensive line to score the first try of the game, which was then duly converted by Niall Gray. A penalty by Gray only 6 minutes later brought the score to 10-0.
Sligo did well to keep the ball well away from the large, experienced Monivea pack, and continued to play a very open, flowing game, but it wasn’t until the 31st minute that Christian Nielsen, in his second senior game, crossed the line to add another 5points to the home side’s tally, confidently converted by Gray. Monivea turned up the pressure, keeping the ball in the pack and eventually broke through the Sligo defence with 8 minutes to go until half-time.
After a solid first half performance, the opening minute of the second half saw Sligo extend their lead to 19 points, as first centre Jamie Bowes drove through the Monivea line, reminiscent of his days in the second row. Gray’s conversion proved to be the home side’s final score of the game. Monivea finished strongly, scoring another two tries, but a disciplined home side remained focussed and allowed the visitors to recycle the ball but not gain ground, eventually forcing the turnover and ending the game.
Sligo were disappointed not to get the bonus point but were happy with the flowing play from the backs and solid set plays throughout the game. The future of rugby was very much on display throughout the game, with a decisive, young referee from Blackrock at the helm, Christian Nielsen showing his worth in the second row and Niall Gray’s 100% accuracy with the boot.
The Development team’s last game of 2017 is away to Westport, next Sunday, 10th December.