The victorious Sligo RFC U15 team, sporting their new youth jerseys, sponsored by Cosgroves Centra Maugheraboy
Local rivals Sligo and Ballina U-15s showcased rugby in Hamilton Park on Saturday. Played in excellent spirits throughout, both sides boasted talent across their respective teams. Sligo emerged with the victory on this occasion against a well-drilled Ballina team.
Jack Dennison crosses the whitewash to score the first of three tries for Sligo U15s
Man-of-the-Match Jack Dennison adopted to his new role of full back with a three try contribution and two second half tackles as the last man at the back took down rangy opponents in open play. The Ballina backs were threatening but well-marshalled by a committed Hugo Filan and an elusive Sean McLoughlin, while in the forwards, prominent displays by Allister Hill and James McDermott kept Sligo inching forward. The scores were tit-for-tat all the way, with three from Dennison and one from Filan. A conversion and penalty from all-action out half David Keyes kept Sligo’s nose in front throughout.
All the pack made big contributions with good handing from Matthew Ryan in the first half and second half substitutes Ferdia Fitzgerald, Cathal Shovlin and Eoin Mulkeen prominent with their tackling and carrying. Sligo’s bench were probably the difference in the end, as this U-15 team continues to both improve and entertain.
A novel pairing, as Oughterard and Sligo met for the first time in this age grouping. Both teams were seeking their first win of their Connacht u15 Division 1 league campaigns, following narrow losses in the previous rounds. To their credit, the two teams tried to pass the ball around early in the first half, despite the heavy mist and strong wind that closed in as the match commenced.
Boasting a very powerful pack, Oughterard tested the Sligo defence with some battering runs but they met their match, with Morahan, Kilgallon and Hill to the fore in the tackle count. Sligo edged the break down with some good turnover ball early, while the Galway men fancied their chances at scrum time but couldn’t make their size advantage count.
First blood to Oughterard with a series of short drives yielding a try in the corner on five minutes.
Keane was busy at the base of the scrum and he linked well with Keyes who mixed his game up nicely; this time a pass to his outside backs, next a probing kick through. Indeed it was the Sligo backs who provided the breakthrough, with Filan bursting through the tightest of gaps and running hard to the line. Keyes converted to bring things back to 7 to 5 in Sligo’s favour .Not long after David Keyes followed his own grubber kick, to collect and dot down. Very soon Dennison almost added to the try count, but he was well held up and escorted off the pitch by the home team before he could get an offload away to the supporting Casey. Continue reading →
For their second outing in the league, the Sligo U15s came up against Connacht Cup and League champions Corinthians. This was an epic encounter with both teams slugging it out to gain the upper hand.
Sligo U15s Sergei Donoghue (in green) stretches to put in the tackle
Sligo laid down a marker in the early minutes with Sergei Donoghue committing to a huge tackle which seemed to set the tone for Sligo. The Corinthians onslaught was met with strong resistance from both Sligo’s forwards and backs. Sam White, Sean Keane, Sean McLoughlin, Matthew Ryan, Ross Clarke and Alastair Hill just some of the standouts. Eoin Lang relishing his role as prop brought the fight to Corinthians on a number of occasions. While much of the action was in the Sligo half, the dam held, and the sides were level at 0-0 at half time.
The second half saw Cathal Shovelin come in at hooker and James McDermott into the second row as this contest began to take its toll. Sligo looked the stronger side and despite a number of penalties in their favour did not manage to alter the scoreboard. Three points from the boot of David Keyes edged Sligo into a 3-0 lead. Sligo continued to soak up the pressure but with minutes to go Corinthians scored a try to bring the score to 3-5. For the remaining minutes Sligo hammered at the Corinthians defence where a single score would have brought victory. Alas there was to be no last gasp Paris score! The game ended on the narrowest of margins.
This was a highly disciplined and tight Sligo team. This young squad showed huge improvement in a number of key areas including; tackling intensity and communications. The squad benefitted from the return of Hugo Filan who slotted in at full back.
Three youth teams were in action on Sunday in the first round of their Connacht Cup and it was a clean sweep for Sligo RFC. Hamilton Park hosted two out of the three games in brilliant sunshine. The U13s kicked off proceedings with an impressive 17-0 win in the local derby against Ballina RFC.
News soon filtered through from Clifden, that the U15s had romped home to a 62 point victory, with no reply from Connemara.
Then it was the turn of the big guns, in the form of the U17s. This was a tough match, with Sligo taking an early lead from the start.
Hubert Gilvarry puts in a big hit
Creggs kept their heads and it wasn’t long before the home side were chasing the visitors’ lead. More tries from both sides ensued, but the home side still found themselves 5 points down with only 5 minutes to go.
A determined defence from Sligo denied Creggs any further scores and indiscipline from the visitors gave possession back to the home side, which they used to the max, scoring the equalising try to the right of the points.
Gilvarry’s conversion sealed the deal for Sligo and they hung on for a well-deserved win.
Another must win for the U15s saw them matched with Castlebar. Two late tries from Castlebar who exposed a tired Sligo due to the work rate had shown distorted the score somewhat but this was a great game for both teams.
Sligo in charge at the breakdown
An unsettled start was followed by quiet confidence led by Captain Ewan Ripon and Pack Leader Leo Layden. This saw Sligo ahead on half time with hard work on the breakdown by Liam Candon and Conor Mullaney. Conal Kennedy and Oisin Diffley need special mention for their work rate and forward drive during this period. Unfortunately Eoin Ryan took an injury at this time and was taken off.
The second half saw replacements Callum Murrin and Roarke McQuaid make their mark in the wing and front row. Scrum half Niall O’Connor made it count with Out half Finn Underwood. Oisin Cregg, Ciaran Dolan and Charlie Kennedy worked hard tackling everything in their way with a concerted effort backed by a team who are coming into their own under Head Coach John Martin with James O’Hehir and Mark Rooney.
Well done ALL – the opposition, referee Mr James Galvin and the hosting committee who organised food and treats post match. Thank you. And last but not least thanks to team photographer John Kennedy.