Sligo 5 ::Buccaneers 20
Sligo’s U-14 side a very spirited display in last Saturday’s Connacht U-14 Cup final against Buccaneers in the Sportsgrounds ,before losing by a 15 point margin [20-5].
When these sides met in the league final on February 18th last, Buccaneers scored a runaway 50-10 victory, but on this occasion they were made to fight hard to gain the spoils. Great credit for this goes to coach, Michael O’Hehir, and his assistants, Tony and Eddie O’Hehir, who worked very hard over the past two months in resolving some defensive problems. Indeed had two very influential players for Sligo, Jonathan Byrne and John Healy, not been unavailable due to injury, they could well have pulled off a major upset, against a side which is regarded as amongst the best in the entire country.
Sligo took the game to their opponents directly from the kick-off, and led by 5-0 after 3 minutes. A huge upfield punt from centre, Killian Cox was poorly dealt with by the Buccaneers full-back, and when the ball was spilled, the alert Sligo centre, Keith McGoldrick was on hand to pick up and dart over in the corner to give his side a 5-0 lead. This score inspired Sligo, and their pack was in tremendous form, with David Heath having the game of his life at No.8, wing forward, Gerard Keaney creating mayhem in the Buccaneer ranks with his marauding runs, and second row, Caolan O’Hehir dominating at the front of the line-out and also doing very well in the loose. However, despite a plentiful supply, the backs could not prise open the winners defence. When Buccaneers did attack, the Sligo defence was outstanding.
In a rare incursion into Sligo territory, in the 17th minute, Buccaneers,took the lead. Following a line-out inside the ’22’, Sligo’s defence was caught by a well rehearsed move, and their No.8 crashed over for a try, which was converted by out-half, Jack Carty. Still reeling from this set-back, Sligo conceded another try 3 minutes later, and now trailed by 12-3. To their credit, the side regained its composure, and were back in Buccaneers’ territory, but could not penetrate their defence. A penalty from Carty just before the break gave the winners a flattering 15-5 interval lead.
Sligo played with passion and tremendous spirit in the second period, and camped in Buccaneers’ territory, but their defence held firm. Indeed the only score in the entire second half was a break out try from the winners with 15 minutes remaining.
It was a very plucky performance from Sligo.This squad has made great progress all season,with the entire panel making an input, and players who did not feature in Saturday’s line-out, will surely have big contributions to make in the future. This group of players will relish meeting this outstanding Buccaneers side in the future.
Sligo:Jack Roberts, James Clarke, Keith McGoldrick, Killian Cox, David Burke, Cathal Finneran, Robbie Keegan [c.], Blythe McCormack, Donal Rooney, David French, Caolan French, Sean Conlon, Enda Connolly, David Heath, Gerard Keaney. Subs: Martin Clarke for J. Roberts, Enda Cawley for D. Burke, Cathal Burke for M. Clarke [inj.], Ben Lynch for J. Clarke [inj.], [Not Used]: Gary O’Hehir, David Giblin, Errol Flanagan, Jack Maye.