Tag Archives: Connacht Cup

Sligo U13s are Crowned Connacht Champions

Sligo U13s Connacht Champions

“Belief, ambition, community” are the words inscribed on the Connacht U13 gold medals and the Sligo team certainly reflected that ethos throughout their season.  It has been 11years since Sligo brought home the Connacht U13 Cup, but they did so with style, overcoming a 7point deficit to win by 3points against Athlone outfit Buccaneers.

U13s scrum half Jack Draper gets set to deliver the ball to his back line

Sligo were considered the underdogs, given that Buccaneers had already had a clean sweep in the non-competitive Connacht league, but it was the favourites who found themselves at the wrong end of a disciplined and decisive performance by Sligo RFC. 

The first half was dominated by Sligo, who showed flair and determination, but failed to puncture the Buccaneer defence.  The scoreboard read 0-0 at halftime, and both teams had everything to play for, but Sligo now found themselves playing into a strong headwind.

Buccaneers made the most of this advantage, breaching the Sligo defence halfway through the second half to clock up the opening score of the game.  A well-worked break resulted in a try under the posts and the conversion gave Buccaneers a 7-0 lead.

U13s Eamon Keane, Isaac Marsden and Mark Tempany in action

The large travelling support gave the Sligo lads the impetus they needed, and their heads never went down.  Jack McDaniel made a powerful break from the halfway line and was eventually chased down, preventing a certain try.  Sligo had their tails up at this stage and were finally rewarded when first centre Ronan O Connor broke from his own 22 to cross the try line and bring Sligo within 2points.  Captain Mark Tempany’s conversion lost the battle with the wind and drifted wide.

Buccaneers rallied again, but it was Sligo who were proving the more disciplined and determined in their play, epitomised by the David versus Goliath moment, when Clyde Regan, perhaps the smallest player on the pitch, put in a crunching tackle against Buccaneers’ biggest player. With only 7minutes left on the clock, Sligo’s Dean Marsden broke through on the halfway line to score out wide, much to the delight of the large, travelling crowd. The difficult conversion fell short of its mark, but more importantly Sligo had a 3point lead.

U13s powerhouse Jack Mc Daniel makes a break on the halfway line

The remainder of the game was played at a high tempo, with both sides threatening to cross the whitewash, but Sligo’s defensive line was disciplined and held strong. In the final play of the game, Buccaneers thought they had scored, but the referee deemed it a knock-on and his final whistle was greeted with relief and celebrations from the Sligo contingent.

This was a real battle of the packs, a game won and lost in the rucks. Sligo played honourable and disciplined rugby, having confidence in each other and in their own abilities.  

U13s Isaac Marsden, Cathal Lang, Evan O’Beirne and Jack Mc Daniel all focusing on the ball in the lineout

Captain Mark Tempany accepted the trophy on behalf of his team, thanking the coaches and management, supporters and his players, having given it 100% on the pitch.  Head Coach Ken Draper said that it was “very thrilling to see a bunch of players get such a result, that they really deserve”. Many impact players had only started playing rugby this year and it’s a credit to the coaching staff to have brought the players to where they are today.  The young team had got better and better as the season progressed, putting in extra training sessions, with great commitment from the players and great support from their parents.  The U13 team have players from a wide catchment area including Tubbercurry, Coola, Riverstown, Ballinafad, North Sligo, Charlestown, Ballisodare, Strandhill, Rosses Point and the greater Sligo area. 

Sligo U13s: Evan O’Beirne, Cathal Hughes, Rory Johnston, Cathal Lang, Jack McDaniel, Max O’Hehir, Dean Davey, Isaac Marsden, Jack Draper, Mark Tempany (c) Cormac Mullins, Ronan O’Connor, Eamon Keane, Abhainn Savage, Clyde Regan, Joris Rooney, Evan Gormley, Ronan Tobin, Ben O’Hehir, Aodhan Shovelin, Seamus Casey, Ultan Bree, Devon Carey, Conor Marren, Thomas Nooney, Patrick Sweeney, Christian Mc Entire          Coaching staff and management Ken Draper, Donal O’Connor, Niall Hughes, David Tobin and Emer Bree

U20s are Sligo’s 21st Team

This year, Sligo RFC boast an incredible 21 teams, from U7s in the Juvenile section to Division 2B of the All-Ireland League.  This total includes 8 juvenile and 9 youth teams of both boys and girls, three senior teams and now an U20 team, who will compete in this year’s Connacht U20 Cup.  The U20 Cup will see teams representing Ballina, Ballinrobe, Connemara, Corinthians, Creggs, Monivea/Westport and Sligo face off in a knockout series of games, with three quarter-finals before two semi-finals and a decider on the Easter weekend.  Sligo U20s will play at home against local rivals Ballina in the semi-final at 1p.m. on 7th April.

Connacht Senior Cup Final set for Hamilton Park

The Connacht Senior Cup has been played for a total of 102 times, with twelve different clubs having won the trophy during that period.  All finals have traditionally been played in Galway, either in the then Galway Grammar School, or Galway Sportsground.  However, for the first time in its 122 year history, the Connacht Senior Cup will be held in Sligo.  The date has been set for Saturday 16th December and Sligo is gearing itself for an historic day, vying to win the cup for the first time since 1914.