LAST Saturday at a sunny Navan Sligo kicked off their AIL Dib 2b campaign, losing by a narrow margin of four points and in the process they picked up a very valuable losing bonus point.
In near perfect conditions Sligo kicked off to their opponents and for the first fifteen minutes it was real cat and mouse stuff. Sligo did very well in this period with new out half Stefan Moir finding excellent field position with some beautiful long touch kicks. However Sligo even at this stage were showing that their set play was not good enough with scrums under pressure and line outs going astray.
However the team as a whole defended superbly and never allowed Navan capitalise on their superiority up front.
Sligo were the first to score after 16 minutes with a well struck penalty from Moir who had a good day from place kicks. With half an hour gone Navan upped the tempo and in a ten minute spell before half time managed an unanswered ten points, a converted try and a penalty to leave the score 10 3 at the interval.
The second half continued in the same vein with tight defence and a major forward battle up front. Navan scored just three points in the second half to Sligos six with Moir again the provider for Sligo,one effort from the left touchline being especially good.
Sligo during this half showed some real grit with some heroic defending near their own line especially when they were down to fourteen players after James Wilson was carded for an infringement at a ruck. With some six minutes remaining Sligo broke out of defence and attacked up field. At this stage anything could have happened and Navan were very glad to hear the final whistle and secure a win.
Overall Sligo can be happy with this start against one of the stronger sides away from home.
Up front on the day Rory Kerins was prominent around the pitch and Sligo managed to turn over quiet a few balls at ruck time . No 8 Eoin Matthews also had a good outing.
Mark Butler at full back put in a very polished performance and looked dangerous every time he came forward. Colin Keane on the right wing showed also that he has the speed to do damage while Stefan Moir the out half had a real steady game.
SLIGO: Mark Butler(C) Colin Keane Chris Nairn Aaron Spring Gavin Foley Stefan Moir Paddy Pearson Ross Mannion Gary Conneely Wesley Maxwell James Wilson David Heath Dave Green Rory Kerins Eoin Matthews
Subs: Enda Gavin Tadgh Power Conor Mitchell Dave Cawley David OConnor. Sligo Scores: 3 pens. Stefan Moir
Navan: John Davis Maurice McAuley David Geraghty Simon Hogan Thomas Geraghty Alan Kingsley David Delahunt Eoin King Jimmy Mulcahy david King Evan Culhane Paul Feeney John Jackson Bernard Smith Leigh Jackson. Subs: David Clarke Jacob Gianoli Shane Dawson Mark Harrington Oliver O'Reilly. Scorers: Alan Kingsley Pen Con. Leigh Jackson Try