Two massive weekend wins for Sligo RFC

It was a brilliant weekend for Sligo Rugby Club.

The first team ran in five tries in a bonus point 32-5 defeat of Bruff in the All-Ireland League on Saturday to keep the pressure on league-leaders Navan.

And the club’s development team wrapped up the Connacht Junior 1B League yesterday thanks to a 51-0 hammering of Loughrea in Strandhill.




Sligo v Bruff- Magic Eight


Sligo kicked off from right to left towards the airport end and into the glorious sunshine on a lovely dry afternoon in Hamilton Park. There was a large crowd in attendance and all were hoping for another victory to continue their recent winning momentum.Bruff applied some early pressure on the Sligo rearguarded and were soon awarded a penalty after two minutes.However this was to no avail as outhalf Tony Cahill failed to convert  the pressure into points.This miss sprung the home side into life .Following a dominant scrum deep in the opposition 22 Sligo were given the chance to take the lead with a penalty on the 22 metre line.Sligo sharpshooter Jack Keegan split the posts with his kick and as result Sligo went 3-0 ahead after 8 minutes. Minutes later, Sligo again applied the pressure on the visitors as winger Calum Goddard made a lovely break and then quickly recycled the ball to scrumhalf Feehily , who then found the influential Shane O’Hehir who combined well with second row Ciaran Cassidy and then moved it out through to backline.However their efforts were thwarted  with Feehily knocking on with the try line at his mercy.Sligo eventually made their dominance count as inspirational Captain Shane Boyle found a gap and then neatly offloaded to the youthful Kuba Wotkowitz and he then timed his pass to release the  fleet footed  winger Calum Goddard  who touched down in the corner.Keegan failed to add the extras with Sligo now 8 ahead.Sligo took a scrum against the head and Kerins opted to kick towards the corner to put pressure on the Bruff lineout. This proved to be a wise decision as the inspirational flanker O’Dowd-Hill stole the opposition lineout but unfortunately his endeavours led to Sligo were held up at the line.From the resulting scrum , number 8 Boyle again gave his side some go forward ball, then he fed outhalf Wells who in turn found housemate Kerins all on his own to jump in for his own 5 pointer.Keegan failed to land a difficult conversion as Sligo were now ahead  13-0.This score  brought Bruff into life as they applied a lot of pressure on the Sligo defence.However Sligo held firm with exceptional turnovers from  both flanker Simon Coulter and Ryan Feehily. Then Sligo broke from one end to the other as they worked their way towards the oppositions half  and mauled their way towards the line from a well constructed lineout.Keegan added the extras to put Sligo in command before the break.The half time score stood at 20-0.

Sligo started the second half as they ended the first on the attack, as on 43 minutes they put  together a lovely kick ahead from Calum Goddard found its way into the grateful hands of Mark Rooney who kept it alive as he was tackled 5 metres short of the line.Sligo quickly recycled and Shane O’Hehir  was unfortunate to knock it on with the  line at his mercy.The game then ebbed and flowed in a ten minute spell which was littered with errors until the visitors put together a series of phases and spread the ball out through the hands to their winger who went in untouched for the first score of the second half.Cahill failed to the add the extras as the score was now 20-5.Sligo roared back into the game as they put together some nice moves which were unfortunately to no avail as they went in search of the elusive bonus point.It wasn’t until the final few minutes of the game until they capitalised on the Bruff mistake as Michael Wells went in unopposed to grab Sligo another massive win.This wasn’t to be his final act of the game as he also touched down again in the final play of the game with a 70 metre team try to cap off a fine day for Mannion’s men.

Sligo now have three games to go and are in with a real shot of both promotion and being crowned champions. Let’s get behind this exciting side for the last stretch of games.

Sligo:Kuba Wotkowitz, Shane O’Hehir, Conor Mitchell, Ciaran Cassidy, Jamie Bowes, Diarmuid O’Dowd Hill, Simon Coulter, Shane Boyle, Ryan Feehily,Michael Wells, Calum Goddard,Daire Byrne,Mark Rooney, Conor Kerins, Jack Keegan. Replacements:Thomas Gormley, Matt Davey,Ross O’Boyle, Enda Gavin,Graham Kerr




Last Sunday the Sligo  RFC Development Squad faced Loughrea in their final league game  at home in Hamilton Park  on a beautiful warm afternoon .Sligo having lost only lost one game knew that beating Loughrea would see them crowned Jib Connacht Champions for the  2016-2017 season ,A large crowd was in attendance,  a nervous air of hopeful expectation hung over the pitch , this was understandable as Loughrea had beaten Tuam this season in a cup game,  Tuam being the only side to beat Sligo out of 14 games .

Sligo RFC kicked off towards the Knocknarea end of the ground and as with every game this season the Sligo pack immediately put  down an early marker by winning the first scrum in a powerful drive which lead to a rolling maul ,involving Craig Adams ,Ross OBoyle  David Cawley and the bruising Thomas Gormley .When the maul  crossed the Loughrea  5 meter line Sean Mullin joined and went straight through the middle ,breaking  the line to score a well earned try  putting Sligo on the score board ,5-0
The  next 10 minutes saw Sligo in complete control of the game with massive territorial and ball advantage  ,this time the well drilled backs moved the ball from left to right which involved Gary O’Hehir ,and Gavin Foley  who offloaded the ball to  set up Graham Kerr to sprint over the try line for  the second score of the afternoon which was  duly converted by Enda Gavin who has been instrumental in many of the victories this season  with his sure footed kicking .
  Loughrea  had no response to this aggressive style of running rugby  and again on 15 minutes the Loughrea  line was breached by a sniping run from Stuart Obrien ,bringing the score to 17-0 to Sligo
So far Loughrea’s  only   entry into the Sligo half was after a Sligo  score but on this occasion they  won a penalty  in the Sligo 25 only to loose the the line out  due to Jake Sexton’s athleticism bringing the ball back to a now rampant squad ,Matt Kavanagh broke out of the Sligo 25 making a great run into the Loughrea  half  where the ball was recycled at speed to finally give  bulldozer Sean Mullin his second try  of the afternoon  ,the score now Sligo 22-0 . The first half ended  with Sligo in attack mode with James O’Hehir  making a dazzling run  ,stepping inside to set up a ruck leading  to a try from Matt Kavanagh bringing the score to  27-0  on the score board .
This first half display by the Sligo squad demonstrated the absolute power of every players on the pitch and their belief in each other which has been evident all season .
The second half restarted with  all the Sligo players now  making power runs  and after only 5 minutes Sean Mullin crossed the line for his 3rd try  bringing the score  to Sligo 32-0. Coach Pearson used all his bench throughout the game bringing on Gary Conneely ,Aaron Tansey,  Clive Morris and Carl VanRensburg to maintain the tempo of the game .Throughout the season coach  Pearson has constantly emphasised the importance of all 20 players .
Now with no response from a demoralised Loughrea  side ,further  try’s  followed from David  Bergin,Matt Davey and a final try by Graham Kerr  giving the final score 51-0 .
The crowd erupted  as the Sligo RFC Development Squad were crowned League Champions of Connacht J1b
Coach Paddy pearson and Roger Burrows were full of praise for their players and thanked  them all for their commitment  this season .He said” it was a historic day for themselves as many players  during their sporting lives do not win anything , it’s not easy to win  a league ,it is also great day for the club “Man of the Match went to Sean Mullin and Graham Kerr
The Cup was presented  on behalf of the Connacht Branch  and IRFU by Adrian Leddy to Captain Michael McMorrow  who called up each player to receive their Connacht Medal.  .Mcmorrow then raised the the cup aloft and the party began .
Squad : G Kerr,Matt Kavanagh,Gavin Foley,Sean Mullin,Stuart Obrien,Enda Gavin,Garry O’Hehir,Thomas Gormley ,Ross Obrien,Craig Adams ,David Cawley,Michael McMorrow ,Jake Sexton,Matt Davey,David Bergin,Gary Conneely,James O’Hehir,Aaron Tansey,Carl VanRensburg .