U17 league Connacht rugby title for Sligo RFC

Sligo RFC 26     Buccaneers RFC 10

Sligo RFC U17s produced a classy team performance in seeing off the spirted challenge of a Buccaneers U17 team.  Captained, and lead superbly by Ambrose Bamber, Sligo set about their task imposing a robust defence from the kick off. The teams aggressive defence led to a superb intercept try by Sligo’s flying winger Ronan O’ Hehir within three minutes of the start with Oisin O’Neill’s conversion leaving the score 7-0 to Sligo.

Buccaneers, playing with the aid of breeze, attacked Sligo thereafter, kicking for position. The Sligo defence was firm and break out runs by Oisin O’Neill and Ronan O’Hehir continued to test the Buccaneers’ line. Sligo’s excellent game management established a foothold in the Buccaneers 22. Sligo dominated possession and went close to extending their lead on several occasions only thwarted by desperate Buccaneers’ defence and a penalty awarded against Sligo. Five minutes from the end of the first half, Buccaneers made a rare foray into the Sligo 22 and were awarded a penalty, which their out half converted to leave the score, Sligo leading at half time 7-3.

Sligo continued their high pressure game once again in the second half.  The Sligo lineout was now in total control stealing several Buccanneers’ throw-ins.  A searing break by first centre Conor Creaven, followed by a series of pick and go efforts, led to a try 12 minutes into the second half for the industrious hooker Keelan Schoen with the hard yards earned by Max Hunter, Matthew Gallagher, Garth Mc Ginty and Aran Platt. Once again Oisin O’Neill converted to leave Sligo leading 14-3. Oisin O’Neill used the backing breeze to maximum advantage pinning Buccaneers in their own 22 with dazzling kicking for position.  On the 20minute mark, Ambrose Bamber no.8, picked and drove to the Buccaneers try line.  An excellent clear out of the ruck led to hooker Keelan Schoen diving over the try line over to score Sligo’s third try. Once again Oisin O’Neill converted to leave Sligo in control leading 21-3.

Buccaneers, to their credit, rallied and, despite a superb turnover over steal from Aran Gilligan, scored a consolation try by Sean Rohan 5 minutes from time, converted by out half Andrew Quinn, to leave the score 21-10 to Sligo.Sligo were not done yet, Robert O’Kelly-Lynch ran ball back powerfully at Buccaneers, slick passing and an offload from Gerard Murtagh, led to a try from Ronan O’Hehir.  Final score Sligo 26—Buccaneers 10

This was an overall team performance with strong scrum anchored by front row of Aran Platt, Keelan Schoen, Oisin Quinn. The lineouts, marshalled by Tom Walsh and Matthew Gallagher, were a continued source of clean and quick ball, as well as steals of the Buccaneers’ throws.  The back row of Malachi Cullen, captain Bamber and powerhouse Max Hunter dominated their opposite numbers. Robert O’Kelly-Lynch was safe and secure at full back ably assisted by Alex Harte on the wing, centres Conor Creaven and Stefan Roche were rock solid and carried ball too great effect.  Half back Oisin O’Neill and Garth McGinty controlled the pace and tempo to great effect.

This team has now won has now won two Connacht League titles, U15 and U17, and has constantly improved, having lost out narrowly in finals at U13 and U14 level.

Sligo RFC U17s: Aran Platt, Keelan Scheon (2t),Oisin Quinn, Matthew Gallagher, Tom Walsh, Max Hunter, Ambrose Bamber (c), Malachi Cullen , Garth McGinty, Alex Harte, Oisin O’ Neill ( 3 conv), Conor Creaven, Stefan Roche, Ronan O’ Hehir (2t), Robert O’Kelly-Lynch, Jordan Haven, Aran Gilligan, Gerard Murtagh, Matthew Quinn-Gorman , James Crawford, Lochlann Jordan, Luke McNamee, Michael Honeyman , Ben Hayden, James Horan, Jack Deegan, Senan Fallon, Max McKenna, Colm McGonagle

Coaching and management team: Joe Walsh Head Coach, assisted by Stanley Hunter, Brian Roche and Team Manager Sean Creaven.

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