Sligo 10 :: Galwegians 40
All-Ireland league beaten finalists, Galwegians, were very impressive when they defeated Sligo in the Connacht U-16 Cup final at the Galway Sportsgrounds on Sunday last.
Sligo qualified for the final following their replayed semi-final victory over Ballinrobe on Monday last, but found Galwegians to be a much tougher proposition. The winners were a very well balanced side, with no apparent weak links.
Despite this, Sligo opened impressively, and a brilliant 50 metre break by Eanna O’Donnell, almost created the game’s opening try in the 3rd minute, but the flying full-back, who seemed to have breached the cover, was brought down close to the line by a superb covering tackle. However, Galwegians gradually assumed control, and the Sligo defence had to withstand some strong pressure.
The winners back-line looked menacing when they spread the ball, and in the 10th minute, a missed mid-field tackle by Sligo, paved the way for the game’s opening try. Three minutes later, they scored again when some slipshod defensive work allowed them to touch down in the corner.
Galwegians were now attacking in waves, but a fine defensive clearance from out-half, Niall Kenneally, temporarily lifted the siege. The respite was short-lived, as the winners scored under the posts in the 21st minute, to move 17-0 ahead. Following this, Sligo enjoyed a period of dominance. Out-half, Kenneally was off target with a 30 metre penalty, but with their talisman, Rory Kerins exerting a big influence, and Donal Brady at scrum-half making the most out of a ragged service from his pack, Sligo remained on the offensive. Their efforts were rewarded in the 31st minute, when following a 5 metre scrum, Kerins secured possession, and beavered his way over for a try. When it looked as if Sligo would now further reduce their 17-5 deficit, indiscipline cost them dearly, as they conceded two needless penalties before the break to trail by 23-5.
Midway through the second half, Galwegians pack mauled forward, and then picked and drove over for a try. To their credit Sligo fought back, and were rewarded when winger, Conor Gleeson scored a fine try in the left corner. A blatant forward pass, which was inexplicably missed by the referee, gifted Galwegians another try, to the score to 33-10. The game ended when the Galwegians inside centre scored after a 40 metre run, with four Sligo players being wrongfooted as they attempted to tackle.
Sligo: Eanna O’Donnell, David McGowan, Chris Nairn, Darren McMullen, Conor Gleeson, Niall Kenneally, Donal Brady, Craig Adams, Thomas Stenson, Thomas Gormley, Michael McMorrow, Aaron Spring, Paddy Mannion, Peter Walpole, Rory Kerins [c.]. Subs: James Clarke for P. Walpole, Mark Nairn for D. McMullen.