Sligo’s much anticipated 2012/13 Ulster Bank League opening match proved a disappointment as the Yeats men fell to a four try to two defeat by Navan RFC at Strandhill on Saturday.
Following a great run of form, which positioned  Sligo as joint leaders in the Connacht senior league, The north westerners were hoping to bring their game to their visitors but were made to pay for poor accuracy and missed tackles as the Meath men punished their hosts in clinical fashion.

Untitled-3Sligo started brightly and the early exchanges were played out inside the Navan half at the Knocknarea end. The home sides early pressure earned a penalty after six minutes but Mickey Murphy’s effort drifted narrowly wide.

James Wilson and Paddy Conlon were linking well with Tadgh Power at lineout time and Sligo’s front row of Wesley Maxwell, Power and Adrian Mc Hale were solid at the scrum. Tearaway flanker Rory Kerins was proving a handful in the loose before having to retire with a shoulder injury.

Murphy and team captain Paddy Pearson were linking well at half back and Aaron Spring was carrying well in the centre.

With 12 minutes gone Sligo were awarded a penalty on the 22 in front of the posts which looked likely to yield the games opening score but an intervention from the touch judge saw the penalty reversed and the chance was lost.

Sligo continued to apply pressure but the visiting defence was on top and Navan’s hard work resulted in the opening try.

With 30 minutes gone on the clock Sligo moved the ball wide following a line out. The rush Navan defence forced a knock on and centre Dave Geraghty collected and sprinted home from the 10 metre line. 

Sligo worked hard to hit back before half time and worked their way into the scoring zone but time went against them and the referee blew the half time whistle with the locals camped five metres from the line.

After the resumption Sligo were hit with another try. Following a scrum on the Sligo 10 metre line Geraghty burst through the centre before linking up with scrum half David Delahunt who finished to the left of the posts. Jose Rodrigues added the extras to move the score to 12-0 in favour of the hosts.

Navan moved further ahead with an almost identical move. Simon Hogan burst through the centre before linking up with number 8 Leigh Jackson who crashed over on the left.

Navan2Sligo brought Mark Butler into the game in an attempt to salvage some points. The full back made an immediate impact and helped move his team into the scoring zone. A well placed pass found Robbie Keegan who pinned his ears back and raced to the corner for his teams opening score. Butler added an excellent conversion.

The try raised Sligo’s confidence and they upped the tempo and began to move the ball at pace. A flowing move looked set to yield a second try but as luck would have the ball was intercepted 5 yards from the Navan line and winger Matt Bailey went the length of the field to earn a bonus point try for his team. 

Rodrigues added a further penalty move his teams total to 27.

Sligo fought to the end and their endeavour was rewarded with a well taken try with 5 minutes remaining. A scrum 10 metres from the visitors line was driven forward, Murhpy broke quickly and his well timed pass allowed Pearson the chance to round the cover and dot down out wide on the right. 

Soon after the Referee blew the final whistle to end a disappointing day for the home side.

Next week Sligo travel to Drogheda to face Boyne RFC.  In the corresponding fixture last season it was the Louth outfit that took the spoils in dramatic circumstances with a last minute drop goal. Sligo will be looking to make amends and should not require any motivation for the challenge. Kick off is at 2.30 at Shamrock Lodge.

Sligo: David Gerrity, Chris Nairn, Aaron Spring, Gavin Foley, Robbie Keegan, Paddy Pearson (Capt), Mickey Murphy, Wesley Maxwell, Tadgh Power, Adrian Mc Hale, Jamie Bowes,James Wilson, Paddy Conlon, Rory Kerins, Aidan Mc Nulty. reps Ross Mannion, Jamie Bowes, Eoin Mathews, Mark Butler, Billy Leahy, David Heath

Navan680

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