U16s take home Connacht crown
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.A 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 and fine lines of running from backs ,Paul Kilcoyne, JAck Cox and 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.