Sligo RFC 25 Galwegians RFC 15
Sligo made it two for two with a three trys to two win over Galway rivals Galwegians RFC in round 2 of the Energia AIL Connnacht Conference 1 at Strandhill on Saturday.
Sligo’s powerful forward display combined with searing backline pace proved too much for their visitors to handle in a well-contested encounter.
With Hamilton Park in superb condition, due to trojan work from grounds chairman Brian Roche, Sligo took the field playing towards the airport end and against the slight breeze.
Euan Brown kicked off for Sligo, but it was the visitors who kept possession in the opening stages, bringing their strong runners Kieran Downey and Mark Earle into play at every opportunity.
Sligo weathered the early storm and worked their way into the game. A sweeping right to left move saw an excellent Jack Keegan line carve open up the visiting defence but the final pass failed to finish the move and Sligo had to wait for the opening score.
Pressure on the ‘Wegians lineout, with Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill to the fore, forced an error and resulted in a Sligo scrum 15 metres out. Sligo’s front row of Kuba Wojtkowicz, Matthew Earley and Pedro Bengalo took control. The Sligo scrum marched to the line and three penalties and three scrums later O’Dowd-Hill touched down at the base for Sligo’s opening score. Brown converted and Sligo were up and running.
Sligo continued to press and great work from Adrian Cummins brought Sligo back into visitors territory. A penalty was earned and Browns kick moved Sligo’s score to 10.
Sligo moved further ahead after 14 minutes. An excellent chip from scrum half Brendan Cunningham pinned ‘Wegians into the airport corner. The Sligo pack were in full flow and took full advantage by earning a penalty try from a series of attacking scrums to put 17 between the teams.
Wegians responded immediately and hit back with an well worked score in the left corner from lively scrum half Rory Gaffney before narrowing the gap to 9 with a long range Earle penalty.
Sligo again responded, with Brian West and Enda Gavin leading the defensive line, and a second successful Brown penalty, from the 10 metre line, put the half time score at 20 points to 8.
Following the resumption both teams looked to gain dominance. Sligo were on top in the scrums and the lineout was solid but too many times the final pass went astray and promising moves failed to yield a reward.
With 60 minutes on the clock, Sligo clicked into gear and produced a move worthy of winning any match. Sligo were awarded a scrum 10 metres from their own line. The ball was moved left to right where full back Guilherme Coghetto injected pace before exchanging passes with winger Calum Goddard. Coghetto continued the move before linking up with Hubert Gilvary who raced to the corner for a breathtaking score.
Galwegians again hit back with a score under the posts from Mikey O’Donnell following a sustained period of pressure in the Sligo 22. Earle converted.
Sligo hunted for the bonus point 4th try but were unable to to add to their tally and come the final whistle had to be content with 4 league points.
Next Saturday Sligo travel west to lock horns with Ballina RFC. Matches between the two clubs are always well contested and with former Sligo player Gavin Foley coaching the backline of the Mayo outfit there will be plenty of interest in the outcome. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Hefernan Park.
Sligo: Guilherme Coghetto, Calum Goddard, Jack Keegan, Enda Gavin, Hubert Gilvary, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Craig Trimble, Adrian Cummins, Mata Fifita, Brian West, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill. Reps: James O’Hehir, Ross O’Boyle, David Heath, Daire Byrne, Philip Carter.