SLIGO EARNED their first points of their 2012/13 Ulster Bank League campaign when they overcame Clonakilty by the narrowest of margins in an absorbing battle at Strandhill on Saturday.
In an all action game, Sligo's powerful pack coupled with keen tactical nous from outhalf Mark Butler, paved the way for an important victory for the home outfit.
Having been relegated from Division 2a last season, Clonakilty were determined to impose their high tempo game on their hosts and skilfully moved the ball wide at every opportunity during the opening exchanges. The southerners ambition was rewarded early in the match when a lineout close to the Sligo line was mauled forward before the ball was quickly moved right to left. Full back James Deasy joined the line and beat the cover to touch down left of the posts. Deasy's conversion attempt drifted wide.
Sligo responded immediately. A penalty awarded on the half way line was kicked to touch inside the visitors 22. Tadgh Power found James Wilson in the lineout and Sligo drove forward. The ball was fed to scrum half Billy Leahy who released Aaron Spring on the blind side and the youngster powered home from 20 metres for a well taken score. Butler expertly added a superb conversion to move his side ahead.
Clonakilty retook the lead after 15 minutes. Sligo opted to take a quick lineout on the half way line but the southerners were quick to react and intercepted the throw in. The ball was moved quickly infield and hooker Stephen Cotter was on hand to crash through the cover and put Clonakilty back into the lead. Deasy added the extras to move the score to 12-7 in favour of the visitors.
Butler and Deasy exchanged penalties before Clonakilty struck again. another sweeping right to left move put Sligo on the back foot and when the ball was moved back into midfield number 8 Ger Mc Carthy Made no mistake in finishing right of the posts. Deasy added the conversion to move his team into a twelve point lead.
Sligo refused to lie down and began to use their maul to good effect. Conor Mitchell and Ross Mannion were getting the upper hand in the scrums and Second Row David Heath and number 8 Peter Mullan were carrying well. Rory Kerins was covering the ground well and centres Gavin Foley and Chris Nairn were coping with the midfield threat. David Gerrity was countering well.
Butler added two more penalties to bring Sligo within touching distance at the interval.
Sligo resumed with purpose and moved into the lead 5 minutes into the second half. A scrum ball inside the Clonaklity 22was moved from right to left. From the resulting ruck the play was switched back and Butler expertly cut through the defence to dot down left of the posts. The outhalf converted to move Sligo into the lead.
Clonakilty again responded, and retook the lead with another Deasy penalty.Sligo, however,were not going to be outdone and more good work by the pack earned another penalty opportunity for Butler who made no mistake with another well judged kick.
The locals were now in the ascendancy and were on top in all facets of play. The southerners gamely tried to chase the game but Sligo had the edge and positioned themselves inside the opposition half nullifying any threat before the referee blew the long whistle.
Sligo now have a week break before their next Ulster Bank League outing against Armagh RFC at Strandhill on October 27th. Coach Simon Galvan will be looking to build on the momentum gained from this win to move his side further up the table. The match kicks off at 2.30pm. SLIGO: David Gerrity, Robbie Keegan, Chris Nairn, Gavin Foley, Aaron Spring, Mark Butler, Billy Leahy, Ross Mannion, Tadhg Power, Conor Mitchell, David Heath, James Wilson, Paddy Conlon, Rory Kerins, Peter Mulllan. Reps: Wesley Maxwell, Eoin Matthews, Daragh Cox, Colin Keane, Sean Donnelly.
The juveniles had a very successful training session on Saturday last with over 120 kids participating. This Saturday Enniskillen RFC travel to Sligo with their U10s and U12s , games kick off in Sligo IT at 10am, there will training for all other groups.
On Saturday 6th October last we hosted a very strong Ballina club in all age groups in our annual fixture. Ballina is one if the biggest clubs in the province fielding 3 teams in each age group , over 250 kids took part in the event which provided a fantastic display of rugby in all
Age grades especially in the U11s. Thanks to Ballina for the challenge and to Sligo IT for their wonderful facilities , thanks also to the Glasshouse Hotel for their generous sponsorship of the after match refreshments.All players must be registered before end of October to be eligible to play, All new kids are always welcome to join , please contact Hugh.email@example.com for more details.
The next teenage Disco is on Friday October 26th - All vounteers are asked to be in attendance by 8.45.
The Sligo Ladies RFC have had great recent successes on the pitch, winning the Connaght League two years in a row and organising a hugely successful 'Take me Out ' evening for the Sligo Rugby Club, the team decided that a calendar was definitely next on the list and so the ladies rugby team have come up with a unique way to raise funds for the North West Hospice and the Sligo Rugby Club! The brave ladies team have put together a 2013 calendar to bare all for this worthy cause! Their cause, the North West Hospice is dedicated to helping people with life limiting illness improve their quality of life and find relief from symptoms, pain and stress.
The calendar launch night will be on Friday 19th October in Suzy McCanny Studio, Wine Street Sligo at 8pm with an after party in McHughs. Calendars can be purchased in stores around Sligo soon making them an excellent Christmas present so make sure you get yours early!
The Ladies calendar will also be available to purchase from the Sligo Rugby Club website www.sligorfc.ie and the Northwest Hospice website and www.northwesthospice.ie just log on to buy yours! For more information on the North West Hospice email, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 071 - 91 43317.