ON A perfect day for rugby, the Sligo 2nds team suffered a narrow 21 - 24 defeat to the men from Monivea. The Sligo team were slow out of the starting blocks, with the Monivea team more urgent to the break down and more lively around the field.
Sligo managed to weather the early onslaught and were first on the board with a well struck penalty for scrumhalf Sean Bagnell. However, in what turned out to be a feature of the afternoon, Sligo failed to deal with the subsequent re-start and Monivea struck back immediately. Two phases from kick off, the Monivea scrum half darted through the defence for a simple try.
Then began an extended period of dominance for Monivea, with the Sligo defense scrambling to contain the home team. Fullback Dermot O'Conner was called on to make several vital tackles, while in the forwards, No 8 Andrew Williams and hooker James O'Haire were getting through a mountain of work. Despite this Monivea managed to earn three points from a deserved penalty.
Almost from the kick off, Sligo kicked for territory and Monivea fumbled the catch. The loose ball ended up in the hands of Sligo outhalf Stuart O'Brien, who somehow managed to find space on the left wing. A wonderful grubber kick along the touch line beat the final defenders and O'Brien was in for a fine individual try.
The half time score at 15 - 8 in favor of the hosts.
The second half saw Sligo start with a little more venom, with the forwards beginning to match the urgency of the home team. The front row of Phillip Allen, James O'Haire and Aaron Tansey, who had been having a tough day in the scrums, began to gain a semblance parity.
Sligo attacked in waves, and like the incoming tide each one seemed to reach a little further before being repelled. Finally the defense was breached as clever running by the centre pair of Diamid Mullen and Clive Morris opened the smallest of gaps for Stuart O'Brien. The outhalf bounced of several would be tacklers like an enraged pinball, before sprinting away from the cover defense to score. Sean Bagnell converted to lock the scores at 15 apiece.
Monivea responded with a try after Sligo failed to clear from the kick off. A combination of aggressive running and simple passing put them 22 - 15 ahead. Penalties were then traded, one to Monivea and two to Sligo, to give Monivea a 25 - 21 lead entering the last ten minutes. Sligo cleared the bench, bringing Seam Mullen into the centres, David Cawley, Darren Wilson and Fabien Z into the forwards. With fresh legs on the field, Sligo launched a last series of attacks as the clock wound down. The Sligo scrum was now in bulldozer mode, while the backs were attacking at pace. But the Monivea men were tackling themselves to a standstill and doing just enough to hold the line.
With 30 seconds left to play Sligo seemed to have engineered a try, the ball carrier actually crossed the line, however heroic tackling drove him back into the field of play before the ball was grounded. Monivea cleared to touch for a well deserved victory.
Final score 25 - 21. A losing bonus point for Sligo, who face Carrick-on-Shannon next weekend.
LADIES BEAT TUAM
Sligo began by Fullback Lauren McGee kicking to Tuam, who took it a run, only to meet with Sligo defense right up in the face. Tuam would be known for their strength up front.
They adopted a style of "smash 'em, bash 'em, crash 'em", which knocked Sligo off their usual rhythm for the first 20 minutes. Tuam weren't afraid to throw their bodies like battering rams at the Sligo defense. This style of play and with some clinical kicking from the boot of their tight head prop,Tuam went up 10 – 0.
Tuam led 10-0 early on but began to tire and Sligo's fitness, speed and quick hands put Tuam under pressure.
Sligo continued with their momentum from their first try, winning rucks, with the help of newly promoted Claire McManus from the wing to the second row. Her speed and strength was a great asset to the pack.
Great crashing and passing between forwards, centres Ruth Goodwin and HannahScollan running some great lines and with the help of outhalfHannah Davey and fullback McGee combined to feed winger Rachel Gordon who took off, leaving the Tuam defense in her wake to get a try to the right of the uprights. The sides were now level at 10-10.
Then Sligo moved 15-10 ahead but Tuam weren't finishing the half on that note however and they mustered up a demolition derby with Sligo the targets and their number 8 and tight head prop their main weapons of choice, throwing their bodies on the line to eventually power over the try line and conversion from prop puts Tuam back ahead going into the half time 1715.
Sligo were the stronger side in the second half, although Tuam managed to draw level at 29 to 29. Then a great try by Goodwin and a conversion by McGee won the spoils for Sligo.