Sligo finish Senior League on a high

Sligo 37

Buccaneers 26

Sligo rounded off their Connacht Senior league campaign in the best possible fashion when they scored six trys on their way to victory over a strong Buccaneers outfit at Strandhill on Saturday. Sligo’s bonus point win, combined with a narrow victory for Corinthians over Galwegians, means that the north westerners will face Galwegians in a league final play off as both clubs finished their campaigns on 15 points.

Sligo Buccs2 350With conditions ideal for open rugby Sligo kicked off towards the mountain end and put early pressure on their visitors. Despite Sligo’s efforts it was the midlanders who opened the scoring when some loose defending saw the concession of a converted try after 8 minutes.   Sligo were stung into life and immediately hit back. Some expansive play positioned them in the Buccs 22 forcing the visitors to kick for touch. From the resulting lineout the pack drove over the line and James Wilson was on hand to touch down in the corner.  15 minutes in Sligo moved ahead when a blindside move involving Rory Kerins was moved open to Aaron Spring and the powerful youngster burst through the cover on the 10 metre line before rounding two defenders and finishing to the left of the posts to move the score to 10-5 in their favour.

Sligo looked to have scored a third try just before the interval when a sweeping left to right move released  Chris Nairn down the touchline but the centre was bundled into touch just short of the line. However, the referee had spotted an infringement earlier in the move and awarded Sligo a penalty which Mickey Murphy converted to move the score to 13-7 at the break.

Buccaneers started the second half strongly and began to bring their big running forwards into the game. With 10 minutes gone a sustained period of pressure resulted in the concession of a converted try to move the score to 13-14. Sligo again battled back and camped were awarded a penalty deep in the visitors 22. Captain Paddy Pearson opted to go for touch and positioned his team five metres from the line. Wilson secured the lineout and his pack drove forward before Murphy moved the ball to Pearson. The outhalf stepped inside the rush defences before being stopped short of the line. From the resulting ruck Murphy sniped right and reached out to score his team’s third try. The scrum half added the conversion to put Sligo ahead by 20 points to 14.   Sligo Buccs 350Again Buccaneers responded, and some slack home tackling saw the  concession of a try under the posts which was converted to move the midlanders ahead by a single score.  With 15 minutes left on the clock a determined Sligo hit back again. A  penalty in midfield was quickly tapped and moved to Robbie Keegan, the speedy winger burst into the 22 before being hauled down. The ball was quickly moved right to David Gerrity who raced away to score in the corner. Murphy struck a sweet conversion to move the score line to 27-21 in Sligo’s favour. Sligo struck again with 10 minutes left on the clock. A turnover on the halfway line was shifted right to substitute Billy Leahy. Leahy darted through the defence and made his way into the 22 before off-loading in the tackle to the ever present Rory Kerins who finished in the corner.  Another Buccaneers try looked to have set up a tense finish but there was more in the Sligo tank. Another Leahy break was stopped short, the ball was moved to Spring who was held up in the tackle before releasing to his centre partner Nairn. Nairn claimed his second of the day bringing the final score to 37-26 in Sligo’s favour.  

Next Saturday sees the resumption of All Ireland League rugby when   Sligo play host to Navan RFC. On current form Sligo will be full of  confidence going into the game and will be looking to get their Campaign off to a good start.  Kick off is at 2.30 at Hamilton Park.

Sligo David Gerrity, Robbie Keegan, Chris Nairn, Aaron Spring, Julian Ripon, Paddy Pearson, Michael Murphy, Wesley Maxwell, Tadgh Power, Conor Mitchell, James Wilson, Peter Mullan, Eoin Matthews, Rory Kerins, Paddy Conlon. Reps  Sean Donnelly, David Cawley, Billy Leahy,Phillip Allen,Aaron Tansey




Mini rugby in focus: Buccaneers RFC