Sligo RFC 52 – Omagh Accies 15
Sligo jumped back to the top of the Ulster Bank League Division 2C with an 8 try to 3 demolition of previous league leaders Omagh Accies at a well attended Hamilton park on Saturday.
Sligo’s all action high tempo game proved too much for an Omagh side that were unbeaten in the league prior to their visit to Strandhill.
On a calm but damp Strandhill afternoon Omagh kicked off towards the Knocknarea end and enjoyed the lions share of the possession for the opening exchanges. Sligo defended stoutly with flanker Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill setting the tone leading the defence with a huge tackle count ensuring that the Sligo line remained intact.
With 10 minutes elapsed Sligo made the first telling blow. A sweeping move from the Sligo half with hooker Shane O’Hehir prominent, brought Sligo into the Omagh 22. Omagh’s scramble defence slowed down the move but powerhouse prop Kuba Wojtkowicz collected and crashed over for the opening score. Jack Keegan converted and Sligo were off and running.
Omagh responded and an excellent break from number 8 James Catterson put scrum half Stewart McCain into a try scoring position but excellent defensive work from Sligo’s Callum Goddard forced the error just short and the Sligo line remained intact.
Sligo made the most of their let off and switched defence into attack. Mike Wells made a trademark break and excellent hands from the Sligo backline brought play close to the Omagh line. Veteran second row James Wilson sniffed an opportunity and drove forward to touch down at the base of the post for Sligo’s second of the day.
Sligo were now in full flow and with a half an hour gone pinned on another try. Another slick passing movement with an excellent Wells final pass gave Goddard the opportunity to show his attacking prowess and the winger made no mistake in finishing in the corner.
Sligo were now on top in every facet of play. The front row of Conor Mitchell, Shane O’Hehir and Kuba Wojtkowicz were on top at scrum time , O’Dowd Hill and Matthew Cosgrove were on top at line out time and scrum half Ryan Feehily was a constant thorn in the Omagh side.
The all important bonus point try was claimed with 35mins on the clock. A Mark Butler penalty kicked to touch positioned Sligo in the Omagh 22. The Sligo line out secured the ball and drove for the line. The maul was stopped and the ball was recycled. Kuba received and in typical fashion wasn’t going to be stopped as he drove over for Sligo’s fourth five pointer of the day.
Omagh responded and a scrum five yards from the Sligo line gave the excellent Catterson the opportunity to drive over the line for his teams opening score to put the half time score 26-5 in favour of the hosts.
Following the resumption the locals picked up where they left off. Pressure from the kick off resulted in a Sligo lineout close to the half way line. James O’Hehir found his jumper and Sligo trundled forward. The ever alert Feehily spotted a gap and darted left down the blind side. The scrum half still had work to do but brilliantly backed himself to outpace the cover to dot down in the left corner for an excellent and well deserved score.
The visitors proved their mettle and picked up their second try of the day following a scrum close to the Sligo line but the hope of a comeback was short lived as Sligo replacement Manu Parkin negated the Omagh score with Sligo’s 6th of the day.
To their credit Omagh refused to capitulate and picked up a third try with 10 minutes remaining but Sligo again hit back with the excellent Feehily picking up his second of the day before Mike Wells burst through for Sligo’s final try of the day.
Sligo’s win came from an excellent team effort but special mentions must go to Ciaran Cassidy whose physicality was outstanding throughout and Jack Keegan who kicked well throughout.
Sligo now top the table with a two point lead over second placed Bangor RFC. Following a two week break next up in the UBL is a trip to Donnybrook on Saturday October 28th to take on Bective RFC and coach Ross Mannion will be keen to keep the current good form continuing.
Sligo: Jack Keegan, Callum Goddard, Mark Rooney, Mike Wells, Graham Kerr, Mark Butler, Ryan Feehily, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir, Conor Mitchell, James Wilson, Ciaran Cassidy, Shane Boyle (Capt) Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Matthew Cosgrove. Reps James O’Hehir, Mark Keegan, Manu Parkin, Matthew Davey, Niall Gray