Clinical Creggs take the win in Development game
Creggs Development 32 Sligo 12
There was no repeat of last year's success in reaching the Connacht Junior Cup final, as the Sligo Development team fell victim to a clinical Creggs RFC last Saturday night.
The game was played on the new 3G astro turf pitch, which suited the home side's pacey back line.
There was a large home crowd in attendance, but a sizeable group of travelling support were there to cheer on the Sligo side as they took to the pitch sporting black armbands.
The match was preceded by a dignified minute's silence in memory of the late Eddie O'Hehir, prominent Sligo RFC club member and father of the Sligo Development team captain Garry.
The home side are currently in second place in the league and their tails are high after a 48-0 win over Castlebar RFC last weekend. There is no doubt that they have their sights firmly fixed on doing the cup and league double this year. Sligo were under pressure from the kick-off, with the home side's line speed causing problems, but the sides remained deadlocked until the 23rd minute, when Creggs punched through a solid Sligo defence.
This was the wake-up call the visitors needed and they enjoyed a period of dominance but were unable to get points on the board.
A turnover in the middle of the pitch gave possession back to the home side and they ran the ball down the wing to dot down in the corner and go 10points ahead after 32 minutes, with no reply.
Sligo won the ball back from the restart, with some great speed shown by winger Charlie Cooper. A cheeky grubber kick from Niall Gray caught the Creggs back line unaware and the covering fullback had to scamper to clear his line.
Newcomer Euan Browne was first to react, and his quick thinking allowed him to close down the full back, causing him to fumble his kick, and winger Robbie Ryan, in pursuit, was gifted the ball to touch down in the corner.
A swirling wind made kicking difficult and Niall Gray's conversion drifted to the right and wide, leaving the score at 10-5.
Creggs were quick to respond and worked their way back up to the pitch to crash over the line for their 3rd try, which again remained unconverted.
With only minutes left in the first half, it was the visitors who finished the strongest, with determined ball carrying by Jake Sexton and David Heath setting the pack up to work their way up to the line and send Ross O'Boyle crashing over for the visitors' 2nd try.
Gray added the extras to bring his team within 3 points, as the referee signalled the end of the first half.
The second half was a different affair, as a clinical home side ran in a further 3 tries with no reply, leaving them the deserved winners in the first round of the Connacht Junior Cup 2018/19.
Sligo Development team returns to action next Sunday in round 11 of the J1A league in Hamilton Park, when they take on Castlebar at 2.30pm.
All-Ireland League back in action
Sligo's AIL team travel to Belfast next Saturday to play Belfast Harlequins in division 2B of the All-Ireland League.
Sligo lie in 5th place in the table at the half-way mark.
A supporters' bus will be leaving for Belfast on Saturday morning.
Anyone interested in travelling can contact Jean McConnell, PRO.
Eight teams to compete in Connacht Youth Cups
The draws were made last week for the 2018/19 Connacht Youth Cups, with 128 teams from 23 different clubs throughout Connacht finding out who they will play in the first round of the cup.
Sligo RFC will compete in 8 out of the 9 Youth Cups, with the U14 & U16 girls competing for the first time in the history of the club.
The fixtures will take place in the coming weeks.
The U14 Girls got a bye in the preliminary round and are straight through to the quarter finals on 26th January against the winners of Ballina RFC V Claremorris RFC.
The U16 Girls will play their preliminary round on 26th January, a rematch of their league semi-final against Buccaneers RFC.
The U13 boys got a bye in the preliminary round of their cup and will play NUIG on the 23rd of February. Loughrea RFC or Corrib RFC will provide the opposition for Sligo on 15th February in the last 16 of the U14 cup.
Sligo U15s are also straight into the last 16 on February 23rd where they will meet the winners of the Claremorris RFC V Gort RFC game. The U16s will play Corrib RFC in their first cup game on 16th February and the U17s also meet Corrib RFC in their preliminary cup match on 3rd March. Ballinrobe RFC provide the opposition for the U18.5s in their preliminary cup game on February 17th.