The Perfect Start to the New Year

Galwegians RFC 0

Sligo RFC 28

2022 has begun in perfect for fashion for the Sligo RFC senior squad as they picked up an excellently crafted bonus point win against Galwegians at Glenina on Saturday. With the four try win, not only did the Porter Ford sponsored Sligo outfit collect five valuable Energia All Ireland League division 2B points, but also booked their place in the Connacht Senior Cup semi final where they will match up to Buccaneers RFC for a place in the final.

Conditions were perfect in Galway as the teams lined up for a minutes silence prior to kickoff, in a tribute to the late Aisling Murphy and in solidarity with her family at this tragic time.

Galwegians kicked off and made the early running with some strong carrying from a solid pack of forwards and a hard press in defence using the double tackle to great effect. 

Sligo settled into the game and began to put their own patterns into play. Christian Nielsen was proving a good source of supply for hooker Matthew Earley at the lineout and Pedro Bengalo at tighthead prop was the cornerstone of a solid Sligo scrum. Eddie Coyle was a bundle of energy in the loose, carrying powerfully at every opportunity. Enda Gavin and Stefano Giantorno both made telling contributions early on. 

With 12 minutes gone on the clock Sligo struck the first blow. Earley threw to Nielsen from a lineout on the right of the halfway line. Scrum Half Brendan Cunningham collected and immediately fed outhalf Josh Reeves. Reeves stepped inside for a half break , turning the defence before offloading to powerhouse second-row Craig Trimble. Trimble carried well past the 10 metre line before been hauled down and Cunningham quickly fed Donnacha Byrne who continued the momentum with a strong drive. Sligo loaded the left hand side and Sean Wynne and Kuba Wojtkowicz handled before moving the ball to Ryan Feehily. Feehily drew the cover before creating an excellent offload to give Philip Carter the sight of the line. The winger didn’t need a second invitation and raced home for an excellent try. Reeves added the extras with a well judged strike.

The half continued with both sides being tested but defences were on top with huge commitment from both sides keeping their lines intact for the remainder of the half. 

As is often the case, good teams make the most of the third quarter, described by many as the Championship quarter, and this was certainly the case for Sligo on Saturday.

With five minutes of the half gone Sligo struck a mighty blow. A Galwegians scrum on the right hand side of the Sligo 22 was turned over by the Sligo pack. Cunningham fed Reeves, who immediately looked to counter, linking with Feehily. Feehily fed Calum Goddard who took off on a blistering run outside the ‘Wegians midfield making his way into the blues half. Goddard fed Guilherme Coghetto who raced along the touchline into the 22 before putting a perfectly weighted chip to the midfield where Feehily collected and raced over to score. Reeves again added the extras and Sligo were up by 14 to nil.

‘Wegians restarted and Sligo turned the knife. Carter collected the kick in the Sligo 22 and evaded the onrushing chasing line before racing out to the 10 metre line and linking with Feehily. Feehily was hauled down outside the ‘Wegians 22. From the recycle Cunningham moved the play to the right where Reeves and Nielsen put in long passes to release Coghetto. Coghetto stepped inside and split the cover before linking up with Cunningham who finished under the posts. Reeves kept his 100 % record intact with his third conversion of the day. 

Sligo continued to hunt for the all important fourth try but were made wait until the end for the icing on the cake. 

With two minutes left on the clock, Sligo were awarded a scrum 10 metres from the right touchline on the ‘Wegians 22. The Sligo pack produced a perfect ball for Cunningham to attack the blindside before releasing Goddard who raced to the corner for the well deserved bonus point try. Reeves completed the perfect day with a touchline conversion success. 

Next Saturday Sligo resume home action when they host table toppers Greystones RFC at Hamilton park. Sligo will be looking to continue the form shown in Galway on Saturday to overturn the Wicklow based outfit.

Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Ryan Feehily, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Josh Reeves, Brendan Cunningham, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Christian Nielsen Sean Wynne, Donnacha Byrne. Reps James O’Hehir, Robert Holian, Ross Hickey, Finn Young, Calum Goddard. 

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