Sligo RFC 40 – Tullamore RFC 22
Sligo increased their lead at the top of the Ulster Bank League Division 2C with a comprehensive victory over Tullamore at Hamilton Park on Saturday. Sligo scored 6 trys to Tullamore’s 3 to earn the maximum 5 match points which puts them 4 points clear of second placed Thomond RFC at the top of the table.
In calm conditions, Sligo kicked off playing towards the mountain end. The early exchanges were typically attritional with both sides trying to stamp their authority.
Sligo were first to work the scoreboard with the opening try midway through the first half. A sweeping left to right movement gave flanker Manu Parkin the opportunity to drive into the Tullamore 22 before being stopped 5 metres from the line. The ball was quickly recycled to dynamic prop forward Kuba Wojtkowicz and the youngster drove over to crash down out to the left.
Tullamore responded and a Karl Dunne penalty narrowed the gap to 2 points.
Sligo landed a telling blow right on the stroke of half time. A lineout on the halfway was moved quickly off the top by Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill. The ball was quickly moved infield where Daire Byrne carried with intent. From the resulting ruck the play was switched back to the left where Full back Jack Keegan hit the line at pace before linking with supporting scrum half Ryan Feehily who raced to the line for Sligo’s second. Keegan added the extras to put the half time score at 12-3 in favour of the hosts.
Five minutes into the second half Sligo further increased their advantage. A pin point Butler kick to the left corner forced a rushed clearance from the visitors. Number 8 Matthew Cosgrove collected the clearance on the 10 metre line and drove into the heart of the Tullamore defence before a well timed pass to Mark Rooney gave the centre the opportunity to race in under the posts. Keegan again added the extras to push the score to 19-3.
Sligo were now in the ascendancy and were troubling Tullamore in all aspects of play. A scrum on the half way line was moved to midfield where centres Byrne and Rooney were both involved. The ball was quickly recycled and shifted to the right where Keegan again injected pace before being stopped close to the line. From the ruck powerful prop Shane Mcguinness collected and blasted over for the all important bonus point well score. Keegans again converted.
Try number five soon followed. Cosgrove charged from a 5 metre scrum and was stopped short of the line. The pack recycled and the ball was moved left to Feehily who sniped in for his second of the day.
With 15 minutes remaining second row James Wilson added to the try tally with a well worked score following a scrum in the Tullamore 22 before the visitors staged a mini revival with scores in the 75 and 80th minutes and a final score in injury time.
Sligo now have a week off from Ulster Bank League duty before they travel to Dublin to take on Seapoint RFC on November 25th.
Sligo: Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Mark Rooney, Daire Byrne, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir, Mark Keegan, James Wilson, Shane Boyle (Capt) Manu Parkin, Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill, Matthew Cosgrove reps Ross O’Boyle, Shane McGuinness, Matt Davey, Enda Gavin, Niall Gray.