Rugby review of top year
THIS weekend sees the final game in the League for Sligo RFC when they entertain promotion-chasing Greystones RFC at home on Saturday.
John Kane writes that the team look forward to their final Ulster Bank league game of a mixed, but ultimately what must be considered successful season. The match is taking place at 2.30pm.
Having already secured their highest match points total since the club's return to the UBL league, Sligo will be looking to finish on a high and perhaps even secure a highly respectable 8th position in the final league standings.
Under the new management team of Des Cosgrove and Michael O'Hehir, this season Sligo took the step of having the first and second team train together under the mantles of Senior and Development squads .
This allowed the coaches to identify the form players and ensured that everyone was playing the same brand of rugby. This policy has ultimately proved to be successful with both squads showing marked improvements on previous seasons.
The development squad have recently secured promotion into Connacht's J1B league which will undoubtedly raise the standard of player feeding into the senior squad next season.
The senior team began the league in whirlwind fashion. Four wins and an away losing bonus point in the first five matches, including superb wins against Wanderers and Tullamore, catapulted the team to the upper echelons of the table.
Whispers of a possible promotion were heard coming from Hamilton Park, but a dismal draw against relegation-threatened Richmond followed by a heavy defeat to a mediocre Old Crescent outfit brought Sligo down to earth. Confidence was restored with a battling draw against a strong Bruff outfit but frailties were once again exposed with a big loss to Boyne in Drogheda.
Joe Walsh was handed the coaching reins in mid-season and to his credit he manoeuvred the ship back onto an even keel with a bonus point win over DLSP before an understrength outfit shipped a heavy defeat to champions elect Highfield away in Cork.
Armagh came to Sligo with an eye on promotion and a strong second half performance secured the points for the Ulster men.
Last week Sligo took to the road for their final away game to Kanturk. With one point needed to secure UBL status, the team stepped up and produced a rare, away from home, bonus point win which not only guaranteed league status but also moved the team up five places in the table.
While Greystones will be travelling to Sligo on Saturday on the hunt for a promotion place, Sligo will be looking to make their own piece of history by securing their highest ever Division 2B final league position.
Sligo have proven that when focused they are a match for any team in the division and shouldn't need any incentive to produce a final day winning performance in front of their loyal support. Club Social Secretary Jackie Cunningham has prepared an excellent day's entertainment for the last day of the season with lunch in the club at 12.30pm and a post match Cheese and Port reception and entertainment in the clubhouse after the match. Tickets for lunch are available form Jackie or Michael Storey.