Clinical Sligo get back to winning ways

Sligo RFC 45

Bective RFC 0

Sligo put their recent 3 match losing streak blip behind them in emphatic fashion as they put visiting Bective RFC to the sword with a comprehensive victory at Hamilton Park on Saturday.

Sligo scored seven tries without reply, securing the all-important bonus point, which moves the North Westerners back into second place in the Division 2C table, a single point behind leaders Thomond RFC, with only four games left to play.

On a sunny Strandhill Spring afternoon, with little or no breeze, Sligo kicked off, playing towards the airport end. Visitors Bective signalled their intent early, mmediately bringing their pacey back line into play but Sligo’s defence stood strong and the early threat was negated with strong defence from centres Mata Fifita and Mark Butler.

The Sligo pack were growing into the game and when the first scrum was called, Sligo’s front row of Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir and Conor Mitchell steamrolled their opposite numbers and set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Sligo scrum dominance earned its first reward after 7 minutes. A Bective defending scrum was turned over by the Sligo push and Matthew Cosgrove picked and drove over from close in to open his teams account. Jack Keegan added the extras and Sligo were up and running.

Sligo continued to press, and the lead was increased with a second try with 18 minutes gone. A sweeping left to right move brought Sligo into the Bective 22, scrum half Ryan Feehily switched the play back to the left. Outhalf Mike Wells and centre Mata Fifita both made inroads before Bective infringed 10 meters from the line. Feehily reacted quickest and tapped the penalty and raced into the corner for Sligo’s second try.

Sligo were now in the ascendency and picked up their third try prior to the interval. Excellent work from full back Keegan and centre Fifita positioned Sligo in the Bective 22. Dynamic Hooker Shane O’Hehir joined in and excellent interplay with prolific winger Mark Rooney resulted in O’Hehir racing to the line for Sligo’s third of the day.

Shane O' Hehir on his way to scoring a try for Sligo

Shane O’ Hehir on his way to scoring a try for Sligo.

Bective responded and attacked to attempt to pick up a score before the interval but an excellent Jack Keegan tackle ensured the visitors were kept scoreless at the break.

Following the resumption Sligo kicked on and secured the bonus point try. The visitors were struggling with the powerful Sligo scrum and when a Sligo drive heading for the line was pulled down, the referee went under the posts and the bonus point was secured for the locals.

Ryan Feehily stretches to ground the ball

Ryan Feehily stretches to ground the ball.

Sligo pushed on and another excellent Wells break positioned play near the Bective line and Cosgrove doubled his tally from the resulting scrum.

Wells further compounded the visitors’ woes by reacting quickest to a loose ball close to the line and touching down for Sligo’s 6th before the outhalf rounded of the scoring with an second excellent try following a flowing move from a scrum involving Cosgrove, Feehily, Butler and Fifita.

With four games left to play the league title is up for grabs, but Sligo will need to be at their best in all four to be in contention when the final day rolls round. Sligo’s next mission is an away trip to Omagh Accies on Saturday March 3rd. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Kilballyowen Park.

Sligo's Mata Fifita powers through another tackle

Sligo’s Mata Fifita powers through another tackle.

Sligo: Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Mark Butler, Mata Fifita, Mark Rooney, Mike Wells, Ryan Feehily, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Shane O’Hehir, Conor Mitchell, James Wilson, Ciaran Cassidy, Shane O’Boyle (Capt) Manu Parkin, Matthew Cosgrove. Reps: Mark Keegan, Ross O’Boyle, Matthew Davey, Niall Gray, Christian Nielsen.

A.I.L. match officials Niamh Toolan, Stuart Douglas and Lisa Moore

A.I.L. match officials Niamh Toolan, Stuart Douglas and Lisa Moore.