Sligo RFC   14
NUIM Barnhall   17

Second placed high flying NUIM Barnhall snatched the match winning points with a late intercept try in a lively Ulster Bank League encounter at Strandhill on Saturday. Sligo held a three point lead going into the last quarter but tragically, against the run of play, Barnhall Winger Matthew Mellote’s took a defensive gamble when Sligo looked to have created an overlap and raced to the Sligo line, securing the win for his team.
In ideal conditions for open Rugby,it was the visitors who started strongest . The early exchanges were played predominantly in the Sligo half with the visitors profiting from an excellently structured lineout. Despite the early onslaught Sligo’s defence held firm and a Simon Gillespie penalty after 15 minutes was all that Barnhall gained from their efforts. Sligo immediately responded and Mark Butler equalised with a well struck penalty from the 22.
Both sides were moving the ball well but defences held firm and the score remained at 3 points all at the interval.
Following the restart it was Barnhall who took the early initiative. A Sligo attack was halted on the Barnhall 10 metre line. The ball was turned over and the easterners attacked down the left side. Winger Ron Mc Grath recieved the ball in space and raced away from the cover to touch down left of the posts. Gillespie added the extras to move Barnhall 7 points clear.
Sligo knuckled down and began to pressurise their visitors. Consistent infringing saw visiting hooker sent to the sin bin and Sligo opted for a scrum on the attacking 22. The ball was moved quickly to Jerome Harrimate who burst forward before being held 2 metres from the line. The ball was secured and Aaron Spring picked from the base and crashed over for a well worked score.
Sligo were now in the ascendancy and with 20 minutes left they moved in front for the first time.
Stong first up tackling forced the ball to go loose in midfield. Spring burst forward and hacked ahead. A ruck was formed 5 metres from the line. Scrum half Mickey Murphy picked and created a loop with Aidan McNulty before touching down wide on the left.
Sligo continued to press to seal the win but unfortunately it wasn’t to be their day and Barnhalls late interception meant the hosts had to be content with a losing bonus point.
Sligo’s next league action is away to Skerries RFC on Saturday March 23rd. The match kicks off at 2.30 at Holmpatrick.
Sligo: Mark Butler, Colin Keane, Jerome Harrimate, Aaron Spring, Sean Donnelly, Paddy Pearson, Mickey Murphy, Ross Mannion, Tadgh Power (capt) , Conor Mitchell, James Wilson, Peter Mullan, David Heath, Rory Kerins, Aidan McNulty. Reps Adrian McHale, Andrew Williams, Gary Conneely, Wesley Maxwell, Robbie Keegan
 
 
 
LADIES REPORT
 
Coach: Gavin Foley

Team: Karen Leydon, Muriel Casserly, Siobhan Kilcoyne, Grainne McGuire, Fleur Kinsella, Keira Kilfeather, Lisa Moore, Mairead Keane, Lauren McGee, Hannah Davey, Claire Mc Manus, Amy Gerrity, Ruth Goodwin, Carley Leydon, Jacqui mulligan.

Hanna Davey - Sligo LAdies 350The day had finally come, Saturday, March 2nd, 1.30pm. The Connacht league final. Sligo as champions 2 years running were going in with a reputation to preserve. Buccaneers going in to the match were ready to pull out the stops with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

From the very start whistle, Bucanneers ran at sligo with a physicality that let sligo know they were on the pitch and they were ready to fight for every metre. Sligo’s defense was put to serious test in the first 10 minutes. Sligo conceded a penalty within buccs kicking range and buccs went 3 -0 up.

Sligo managed to amount a response, particularly with line outs going well, sligo were confidently getting great ball to the backs via McGuire’s experienced hands and the height she gained from lifters Kilcoyne and Leydon. Unfortunately, despite strong runs from Gerrity and Keane, sligo only came within sniffing distance of the buccs try line with buccs defense ready for whatever sligo were packing. They would eventually turn over a ball from an error from sligo.

Buccs ‘take no prisoner’ style of play finally paid off from one of their scrums just within their half, and quick ball from just within their half, moved the ball to their centre who used her strength and space to skirt up the right wing for a try in the corner. With no conversion,  buccs lead was now 8-0.

Sligo managed to get their scrums together, with Moore in her new position of hooker for their scrums and with the words of wisdom and power of her props Kilcoyne and Leydon,  the second rows ever present strength and support of Kinsella and McGuire. Attacks were eventually mounted from scrums, and ball fed to back line to make the yards for sligo. Only to be shut out by buccs but it was assured from Sligo’s play going into the second half, this game was far from over and sligo weren’t out of the running yet.

There were some great individual moments from sligo, with Hannah Davey making ground from strong, determined drives, digging like a demented mole through the buccs defense, reaking havoc for them. Kilfeather and Kilcoyne setting up crash balls, mulligan, Goodwin and mcmanus making yards up the wing with their pace, the pack in support, securing ruck and minding the ball for the next phase of play. Unfortunately, Sligo would make great ground only to give away possession via an error from Sligo.

Once Buccs get a momentum going, they are unstoppable, playing to keeping the ball alive to take full advantage of their strength running at full pace, using their wings. Their pack went through a few crashing phases up in the centre to make space eventually on the right wing to allow their number 7 to crash over the line in the corner for downward pressure. Again, no conversion, brought Buccs lead to 13 -0 going into the last 20 minutes.  

Disaster did strike for sligo when their scrum half McGee had to be taken off in the final 15 minutes. She is always an asset to the team and would be a loss for Sligo with her deft footwork and safe hands. Davey moved into scrum half, Keane out to 10 and the packs dropped their number 8 from the scrum.
It was now do or die for Sligo and they woke up and played like the team that they were capable off. The line outs were Sligo’s all day, moving quick ball to the back line, Keane running a sure, straight drive for contact, sucking in Buccs defense, supported and rucked by the likes of Kilfeather, Casserly and Kinsella at the back of the line out. Quick ball got to Gerrity and Goodwin and finally Mulligan got her chance and had enough space to see where she needed to run and step to avoid the defense and showcased her speed and got the try under the uprights, running from Buccs 22. With trusty wingers, the likes of Carley Leydon and Mcmanus, Mulligan always had options if she needed with great support lines being run for this play and throughout the match. Gerrity easily converts and Sligo clip at Buccs heels with the score at 13-7.

Sligo were on a roll now, with assertive runs from the restart, Sligo made their way to Buccs defense line,only to be held up. With a Buccs 5m scrum, Sligo were determined to keep them here. Buccs managed to clinically kick the ball into space, getting buccs out of jail and get a chase on. Sligo in possession again, knowing it was the dying minutes tried to get back up the half but buccs turned over from a penalty and a kick to touch meant the match was over. Final score 13-7 to Buccaneers, who are Connacht league champions for 2013. It is assured that sligo live to fight another day. Sligo start their Connacht cup campaign versus Carrick on Shannon on 16th March venue and time tbc.
 
Under 16
Sligo U16s 23
Galwegians 6

Sligos U16s were crowned league champions when they defeated Galwegians in a strongly contested encounter at Hamilton Park On Sunday.The league win mirrors their U17 counterparts who secured their league title earlier in the season.
This was a closly fought match with Galwegians getting the better of the early exchanges and most of the play concentrated in the Sligo half of the field .The tribesmens early pressure yelded a penalty to open the scoring but Sligo achieved parity with a similar effort from TJ Forde. Sligo settled into their task and beganto put some excellent phases together.U16 Sligo 350A second Forde penalty put Sligo into the lead but ‘Wegians equalised with a drop goal prior to half time.
Sligo made some positional changes at half time and some an adjustment  to their game plan, more players were commited to the break down ensuring  a better supply of ball to their back line.These changes made an instant impact on the game and Outhalf Daragh Cummins profited by  cutting through the line to score a great try in the corner. Cummins repeated the dose moments later and Tourlestrane native Richie Lang weighed in with an excellent effort to seal the deal for the Sligo boys. A Forde conversion completed the scoring
There were numerous other occasions when Sligo almost added to thier tally! A memorable effort from Haddi Moussa, who ran nearly the length of the pitch only to be stopped before scoring and some fine runs by Shane O Hehir who was also unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet.   Team captain Dylan Gardiner lead from the front ably supported by great  performances from Neil Murray, Paul Kelly,Liam Mc Elhinney in the tight and good work by Cillain Gallagher & Yusuf Shalabi in the line outs.
The excellent hands & fine lines of running from backs ,Paul Kilcoyne,JAck Cox & Ryan Feehily, are the envy of any team.Scrum half Robert Henry got his back line moving with a crisp service and  replacements Aaron Boles, Garreth Davey, Cian Hough & Emmet Flanagan contined to apply pressure preventing the Galwegians comeback when introduced to the fray.
This team have now lifted league titles at U14 , U15 and U16 levels and if they continue to develop more silverware will not be too far away.

Coaches Jeff Gardiner, Michael O Hehir and Barry McConkey and physio Seamus Burns will be eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Connacht U16 cup to guide their charges to a potential league and cup double.
 
 
U10
The U10s had a very successful trip to the Connacht blitz hosted by Ballina RFC rewarding their coaches with an outstanding unbeaten record in what was seen as a real test for these young players.
With the high numbers travelling, the U10s were split into Sligo Red and Sligo Blue – each having three matches. Sligo Blue under the captaincy of Paul Moore first met a disciplined Cregg Blue, which saw a win for Sligo marked through successive rucking of Tynan Maxwell and a cracking run and finish by Ben Kelly. Next up was Corinthians, Coach John Martin bringing home the first 3-2 draw for the U10s in a match that saw some great tackling by Gus Bamber along with some aggressive running lines from Roarke McQuaid. Last up for Sligo Blue was Ballaghaderreen – a relatively inexperienced side that despite being beaten proved themselves worthy in a match that saw Fionn O’Hehir break through and score from the start.
Sligo U10 (Blue)

Sligo Red met up with Cregg Red in a closely fought match that saw tackle breaking runs from Canice Mulligan and scores from Jack Canning. Niall O’Connor and Finn Underwood featured heavily in the next match – a win for Sligo against Corrib. Sligo Red’s last match was against Tuam who also proved no match for a physically powerful team that saw Liam Candon and Sean Clifford, in typical fashion of the team as a whole, pushing on hard into opposition amongst a plethora of Sligo tries.
Sligo U10 (Red)

This was a great day – a clean sweep – in a very well organised blitz thanks to Ballina RFC. Praise is due to the U10s themselves, their parents and last but not least their coaches. Well done!!
 
 
 
Under 12
Last saturday Sligo U12 took on the might of mullingar at the Sligo IT.This was an eagerly anticipated match because last year when the two sides met it was a fiercely contested game which ended in a draw.It was a beautiful sunny saturday morning when referee Ger Whelan blew the whistle for kick off.Mullingar started very aggressively and nearly scored a try in the opening few minutes  but they weren’t able to ground the ball.This seemed to wake up sligo who came back strongly and led mullingar two tries to one at the end of the first half.In the second half sligo started well and scored an excellent try with great support play.Mullingar brought on subs to try and stop sligo’s momentum .It didn’t succeed as sligo upped their performance scoring two more  tries.At the final whistle sligo won out five tries to two.This was a brilliant sligo performance from both the forwards and the backs who gave everything on the pitch.The mullingar coach was very keen for sligo to play them next season in mullingar.
 
Bag Packing Fundraiser
Sligo Rugby Club will be taking over Tesco on Thursday 7th, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th March.
We will be helping shoppers to pack their bags and in turn look for a donation towards the club.  Every little bit helps towards keeping Sligo RFC running.  If you would like to volunteer with us, please email [email protected] or text 087 4114560.

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