Sligo Rugby Football Club


Ballina Prevail In Mud Bath In Heffernan Park

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:54 AM CST

Ballina 6 :: Sligo 0

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In a game played in atrocious weather conditions, Ballina emerged victorious over Sligo in the Connacht Junior 1 League, in a virtual mud bath at Heffernan Park, Ballina on Sunday last. The torrential week-end's rain had transformed the pitch into a veritable glue pot before kick-off, but following a pre-match inspection by referee Damien Eames [Carrick-on-Shannon RFC], the pitch was declared playable.

Played in such wretched conditions,the game became something of a lottery, with the team which adopted better to the inhospitable surroundings likely to make most headway. In the end it was an error strewn game, where the weather militated against ball handling, and by the final quarter conditions were extremely difficult for both teams.

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Ballina played the conditions better and kicked for territory at almost every opportunity, whereas Sligo favoured going through the phases, and despite a lot of good work at close quarters, were prone to turning over hard won possession. It was ironic that in the closing minutes, despite the rapidly deteriorating underfoot conditions, Sligo played their most inventive rugby, and two superb breaks by flying winger, Thomas Darcel, were deserving of a better fate. In the very last minute, another fine attcking move inside the Ballina ‘22′, became unstuck following a knock-on in a very favourable position, when a Sligo try looked likely.

Without the injured Peter Mullan and hooker, Gary Conneally, Sligo struggled in the line-outs, but their scrum, which featured the returning Martin Feeney at tight head, did well. However, the side was guilty on occasions of indiscipline, and the penalty count against them proved costly.

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The first 30 minutes was really a war of attrition between the packs, with the more street-wise Ballina side opting to gain territory through the boot at every opportunity. With the play now mainly in the Sligo half, and with the penalty count going against them, it was almost inevitable that the outcome would be decided by kicks at goal. When Sligo went offside at a ruck 40 metres from goal in the 30th minute, Ballina's full-back, Easkey GAA player, Simon Wade expertly slotted the kick to break the deadlock. On the stroke of half time, Sligo were guilty of yet another indiscretion 30 metres out, and to the left, and Wade again proved to be unerring to give his side a 6-0 interval lead.

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Sligo failed to take advantage of the diagonal wind in the second half, and only made spasmodic incursions into Ballina's half. As stated, they created their best chances in the closing ten minutes when they were unfortunate not to have crossed for a try. However,a telling statistic has to be that Sligo had not one penalty in the entire game in a kickable position, which was probably primarily due to their inability to establish good field positions, while Ballina's discipline at the breakdown in their own red zone was admirable. If Sligo were unlucky not to score a late try, Ballina nearly sealed the issue with four minutes remaining, but were denied by a superb last ditch tackle on their inside centre, David Newman by Sligo open side, Joe Sweeney.

In the end, Sligo secured a bonus point, which will be of minor consolation to the team. Following their impressive opening game against Corinthians, Sligo has not reproduced that type of form since then, and while the side does not lack in effort, and has been dogged by a series of injuries to key personnel, they will surely feel that their current position in the league table is disappointing.

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Sligo have a bye in the league next week, and there is then a break until January 20th, when Sligo play O.L.B.C. in Hamilton Park.

Sligo: K. Machiditze, M. Boland, S. Dorran, G. Foley, T. Darcel, R. Burrows, B. Leahy, R. Gillespie, R. O'Boyle, M. Feeney, A. McHale, A. Williams, S. Coulter, J. Livingstone [c.], J. Sweeney.
Ballina: S. Wade, P. Hackett, D. Newman, F. Kelly, D. White, A. Moynihan, M. Honan, R. O'Donnell, R. Kelly, K. Flannery, W. O'Connor, T. Tobin, C. Ford, A. McNulty, P. Timoney.

Referee:Mr.Damien Eames [Carrick-on-Shannon].

More photos from the match can be found here.

1st XV Free On Sunday Next

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:35 AM CST

Sligo's 1st team have no league game on Sunday next, as it is their turn to get the free week-end in th 11 team J1 league. Indeed all teams are given a break after next Sunday, so Sligo's league campaign does not resume until January 20th, when they are at home to OLBC.

Fixture Hon. Secretary, Eamonn McGowan is endeavoring to get a friendly fixture for Sunday December 16th. Meanwhile the next competitive outing for the club will be in the AIB All-Ireland Junior Cup, when Sligo play top Ulster side, Coleraine in Hamilton Park on Saturday January 5th at 2.30 pm.

2nd Team Squad Take On New Boys

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:33 AM CST

The Sligo 2nd XV make the long journey to Ferbane, Co. Offaly on Sunday next to play West Offaly Lions in the Connacht Junior 2 league. The midlanders are having their first season in competitive rugby, and the club was formed following the recent success of local school Gallen Community School in Connacht Senior schools competitions. If Sligo have their strongest squad available, they will be optimistic of victory.

The team bus will depart from Sligo Garda Station at 11 am on Sunday.

Alcohol Free Disco Tickets On Sale

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:32 AM CST

Tickets for the pre-Christmas alcohol-free teenage disco, which will be held in the Clubhouse, Hamilton Park, on Friday December 21st at 9 pm, have gone on sale from the usual sellers. As stated in the past two week's notes in this newspaper, this will be a strictly ticket only event, so intending patrons should purchase their tickets without delay. Parents/Guardians are advised that their son/daughter will require a ticket to gain admittance to the disco, and if they have not previously purchased one, they should not come near the precincts of Sligo RFC on that evening, as under no circumstances will cash be accepted. Once again, a top D.J.has been engaged, so another great evening's entertainment is assured.

The Event Organiser is Justin Harte, and the Chief Steward will be Niall Draper. All stewards are requested to report for duty not later than 8.30 pm on that evening.

Former Sligo Underage Star In Action Against Cambridge

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:29 AM CST

Former Sligo RFC under-age star, Paul Gillespie, who currently is a key player with Dublin University [Trinity College] in the A.I.L., recently had the honour of playing for the Micky Steele-Bodger XV against Cambridge University in the annual pre-colours ‘warm up' game. This was the 60th staging of the tie, which is a red letter date in the Cambridge fixture list.

Cambridge play Oxford University in Twickenham on December 6th in the 126th annual colours game between the sides. Since 1947, the legendary Steele-Bodger, a Cambridge graduate and a former England International, selects a special invitation side to provide fitting opposition to Cambridge a couple of weeks before the big colours game. This year, former Irish International, Kevin Maggs captained the side, which included Paul Gillespie at full-back, and two other Dublin University players. Steele-Bodger is also President of the Barbarians, who defeated South Africa in Twickenham on Saturday last.

It was a great honour for Paul to earn selection in such a prestigious game, and the unassuming Kevinsfort man is wished well in his future career from the President and everyone in the club.

Christmas Draw Tickets

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:27 AM CST

All ticket sellers are urged by the Event Organiser, Joe Burgess, to make a special effort over the next seven days to sell their Sligo RFC Christms Draw raffle allocation, and to return the proceeds to Joe. Anyone requiring an extra supply of tickets should contact Joe at 071-9177150. As stated in last week's notes, the draw is for very valuable prizes, and will take place at the club's Annual Christmas Party in the Glasshouse Hotel on Thursday December 20th.

Former Sligo Players to The Fore In AIL

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:26 AM CST

Former Sligo players enjoyed successful outings in the week-end's AIL fixtures. Mark Butler scored a try in UL-Bohemian's victory in Division 1 over Galwegians at Crowley Park, while Sean Henry came off the bench in the second half. In Division 2, Paul Gillespie scored two tries for Dublin University in their win over Suttonians, while Karl Gilligan and Niall O'Hara played for DLSP and Buccaneers respectively in their victories over Highfield and Bective Rangers.

Speaking of Buccaneers victory, the writer of these notes does not claim any extra-sensory powers, but following Buccaneers' victory over Sligo two weeks ago in the Connacht Junior league, I confidently predicted that at least three of the four from that team, who are regular 1st team players, would be regulars all season for the Buccaneers 1st team in the AIL.

In the game in Hamilton Park, all of the visitors points came from out-half, Simon Rollenson, No. 8, Adrian Hanley and hooker, Ger Halligan. There were no AIL games played on Sunday week last, so for the first AIL game after the Sligo game i.e. last Saturday, Buccaneers played Bective Rangers and won by 24-17. Their main scorers in this game were the self same trio; Simon Rollenson, a try and a conversion, Adrian Hanley, who is actually the 1st. team captain, a try, and hooker, Ger Halligan, a try. Will there be any sanction against AIL clubs which quite openly play some of their best players, including their club senior captain, in a junior league which is of the utmost importance to the eight regular junior clubs, in terms of qualification for the round robin play-offs, qualification for the AIB all-Ireland Junior Cup or relegation out of the J1 league? In a word,the answer is regrettably, no.

Sligo Under 13s V Creggs RFC Match Report

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:17 AM CST

Whilst depleted in numbers, due to the unavailability of a significant number of their established players, Sligo RFC Under 13s were still able to run out onto the pitch with a good panel of both experienced and new players. Creggs, who had a similar sized squad, had driven up from their own flooded pitches, determined to have a good game in what were cold and wet weather conditions. Unlike the last fixture against Westport, mud did not feature in what proved to be an excellent game of Rugby, watched by supporters from both clubs.

Due to the absences, various Sligo players had to play in positions they did not normally occupy, and forwards became backs, with backs becoming forwards, as the conditions worsened and the game progressed. Sligo were certainly up for the game, and by the time five minutes had elapsed the forwards put Sligo a converted try in front. The battle for possession was with the packs, and Sligo's forwards were immense in their efforts. Good ball came quickly from scrum and ruck, which Sligo dominated throughout the match, and was rapidly moved to the wings. Each phase resulted in the pack regaining or retaining possession and another converted try by the forwards for Sligo came ten minutes further in.

Defensively each team was now becoming a hard nut to crack, with Creggs defending their try-line as the waves of Sligo players came towards them, and then counter attacking at every opportunity. Sligo's defence was resolute, however, and at twenty minutes in they ran in their third try. Sligo then lost one of their key centres, who had started the match, even though nursing an injury, and Creggs finally broke through the Sligo defence to score their first try. Both teams were getting wet and cold and Sligo lost another experienced player at half time.

Ten minutes into the second half Sligo ran in another try which, unlike all their first half scores, was not converted. Five minutes later Creggs broke through and ran in their second, which they converted, and then threatened to score for a third time, having broken through the Sligo defence. Good covering by the Sligo backs and support from other players running back, left the Creggs player isolated and brought down, with possession going to Sligo, who burst through the now nearly exhausted Creggs defence to score their final converted try. Again Sligo lost another of their experienced players to injury, but a former substituted player threw of his waterproofs and ran out to replace him.

This match showed Rugby at near its best, and credit has to be given to all the players on both sides for the total commitment that they showed. All of the Sligo Panel took part, as did all of the Creggs panel, with both the experienced and new players on both sides showing those present what truly committed players can achieve. All the Sligo scores came from amongst their forwards (Matt Davey, Leigh Dunne, James O'Hehir), but no one score on either side could be claimed as an individual effort. Particular mention must be given of the new players (Karel, Gabriel, Tyrone, Kevin, Toby, and Aaron) who played with total commitment and no shortage of flair.

Under 20's away to Monaghan

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 08:15 AM CST

Monaghan 2nd XV :: 21 Sligo U-20's 17

On Sat 1st Dec, Sligo U-20's played Monaghan away. The weather left a lot to be desired, but the pitch was however in very good condition. Sligo welcomed back two players, Terence O'Connor and Colin Keane, both of whom who had very good games, and fielded two new recruits, Ciaran Reilly from Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim, and Liam Sweeney, recently signed from Castlebar. Although up against an older team Sligo were undaunted and got stuck in from the kick off. They took the lead following a break down the right, and Colin Keane scored in the corner, with Craig Cooper converting from the right touch-line, to give Sligo the lead (7-0). Monaghan however got back in the game and scored under the posts and converted (7-7). Sligo were awarded a penalty 40m out and C. Cooper slotted it over, to regain the lead (10-7).

Monaghan replied with a try and a conversion to lead 14-10 at half time. The second half was played in torrential rain. Sligo held the ball and scored a well worked try compliments of C. Keane, with C. Cooper converting. (17-14). In the dying moments Monaghan scored a try, which was converted to win the match (17-21) Team coaches, Roy Cooper and Jamie Livingstone, and the team, would like to wish Brett Whitfield the best of luck on his return to in South Africa. They would also like to thank Monaghan RFC for a good match and the after match food and beverages. Details of next week's fixture will be given at training.

Sligo: M. Conlon, K Reilly, M Drury , S O'Brien, K Carey, H Irvine, D Rynne, P O'Connell, C Keane, C Cooper, A Tansey P Allen B Whitfield, D Westby, T O'Connor, L Sweeney, N Canning, D Bergin


Gallery: HT minis – Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Corinthians and Dunmore