Hamilton Park played host to Round 7 of the U18.5 Division 1A league on Sunday and it was the home side who had an explosive start to the game, dominating from the kick-off, with Will Whelan showing great footwork to weave his way through the Buccaneers’ defence and ground the ball in the corner. The difficult conversion fell short and Sligo were 5-0 up. The next 25 minutes was played within the Sligo 22m as Buccaneers dominated the play. They were eventually rewarded for their efforts when they drove over for a try and the conversion put them 2 points ahead with 5 minutes to go in the half. Sligo had the chance to take back the lead with a penalty and resultant line-out on the Buccaneers’ 5m line, but the ball sailed over the back of the line out giving possession back to the visitors, a fortunate knock-on ended the half, with Sligo trailing by a mere 2 points.
Will Whelan scores his first of 3 tries
The second half was a hotly contested affair with Matthew Earley first to open the scoring, dotting down out wide to put the home side 10-7 up. Buccaneers were quick to counter and retake the lead with a try but failed to add the extras. The pace of the game was hectic, with lots of phases of play and Sligo enjoyed a period of dominance with Will Whelan getting the ball wide, spotting a gap in the Buccaneers defence and racing over the line to run the ball in under the posts. Matthew Earley stroked the conversion over and the home side were 17-12 up with 15 minutes to go. Buccs’ regained possession from the restart and went through the phases to eventually work the ball score under posts to retake the lead from the home side.
no going past the Sligo defence
Sligo maintained pressure from the restart and won the ball back through determined rucking. Will Whelan was on fire, and his sidestep carved open the Buccaneers’ defence again to clock up his third try of the afternoon to give his side a 3 point margin with 10 minutes remaining. This was quickly followed by another sweeping move across the pitch and a neat grubber kick from Hubert Gilvarry, was collected by Thomas Fox and he dotted down under the posts for his team’s fifth try of the game. Earley’s conversion added the extras and Sligo lead 29-19 with only 7 minutes left. The game still had another few twists and turns to go, as the visitors made the most of a series of calls in their favour to drive over the line from a 5 metre penalty. The conversion sailed over to bring it back to a 3 point game. Sligo defended from the restart and their defence held strong in the final few seconds of the game, as a Buccaneers drive was held up over the line. The referee awarded the 5 metre scrum and then blew the final whistle, much to relief of a large home crowd.
This epic win means that Sligo leapfrog Buccaneers into 4th position in the league. Their next game is a tough encounter away to league leaders Ballinasloe on Sunday 9th December
Sligo U18.5s took to the pitch against bitter rivals Ballina in a highly contested and tense affair. There is never any love lost between the two neighbouring sides and it was the home side who had the first opportunity to draw first blood, winning a penalty within kickable distance. Hubert Gilvarry struck the ball well, but the upright denied the home side the opening score of the game. Sligo enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the opening 15 minutes, with Ballina struggling to get out of their own half. The game remained scoreless well into the first half, but the visitors eventually settled and indiscipline in the Sligo defence gave Ballina the edge they needed to cross the whitewash and go 7 points ahead.
Sligo were quick to regroup, and a determined Sligo pack were eventually rewarded with the equalising score, when Luke Hogge made a strong run to dot the ball down. The try was converted by Gilvarry. The game continued in the same vein as before, with big hits going in on both sides, and there was nothing between the sides at half time.
The weather then took a turn for the worse, with the rain making handling difficult. A lapse in concentration in the Sligo defence allowed the big centre from Ballina to power through the gap and touch down in the corner. With only 5 minutes left on the clock, a determined Sligo team secured the ball from the restart and a well-worked move fed the ball to Donnacha Byrne, fresh from international duty in Italy, who powered over the line in the corner. The difficult conversion fell short and the two sides remained deadlocked at 12-12 right up to the final whistle.
An understrength but determined U-18.5 Sligo team took to the pitch last Sunday, in what was a do or die game for the home side. Depleted numbers have taken their toll on the talented young side but their determination gave them a deserved win in a high-scoring game at Hamilton Park. Having started off with all guns blazing, Sligo soon had a comprehensive lead on their opposition, with free-flowing rugby gaining vital yards and putting even more vital points on the board.
However it was Ballinrobe who put the foot down in the second half, scoring three unanswered tries and narrowing the gap to a mere 5 points, with only 10minutes to go. Sligo needed to re-organise the troops and dig deep. Ballinrobe were put under pressure for the last 8minutes of the game, and defended their line well, until scrum-half Hubert Gilvary spotted the narrowest of gaps and drove straight through a ruck to score a well-deserved try, his second of the game.
Sligo U18.5s kicked off against the light breeze from the mountain end in Hamilton Park Sunday afternoon when they played ‘the neighbours’ from Ballina.
The match was the last league match of the season to determine a League Semi Final place and to gain home advantage. With the win Sligo RFC finished 2nd (on level points with Creggs RFC) and will now play Corinthians at home at the end of the month.
In the first exchanges of the game Ballina saw most of the possession and through some good kicking by their number 10 they pushed Sligo into their own half. This resulted in a well taken line out on the Sligo 5 meter line and the following maul secured Ballina the early lead. The visitors missed the conversion, but they were now 5 nil ahead. Falling behind seemed to wake Sligo up a bit and although they never got to the same levels of play as they displayed against Galwegians before Christmas they did break the defensive line of Ballina on several occasions leading to a penalty to Sligo on the Ballina 22. Niall Gray Jnr, playing out half, duly kick the 3 points and the tone was set for a fairly tight match where ultimately the young men from Sligo would be the winners and as such the result never really felt in doubt. Continue reading →