Narrow defeat for Sligo RFC
SLIGO suffered their second one point defeat in two weeks with a loss in their final 2018 Connacht Senior league encounter at Strandhill last Saturday. Despite outscoring their opponents by two tries to one, Sligo failed to capitalise on possession and territorial dominance and the visitors held on at the finish to take the spoils. With the drizzling rain making handling tricky, Sligo kicked off playing towards the airport end and quickly put pressure on the Tribes- men. The early endeavour provided a well-earned dividend with a penalty award from a scrum inside the Corinthians 22. Outhalf Mark Butler went to the corner and Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill secured the lineout. Sligo attempted to maul but Corinthians foiled the drive so the ball was moved infield. Jason Havea and O-Dowdhill both carried before scrum half Brendan Cunningham switched the play back to the right and Butler’s well timed pass gave centre Ryan Feehily the opportunity to crash over in the corner.
Corinthians responded with a sustained period of pressure which resulted in a well struck penalty on 25 minutes to move them back within two.
With half an hour gone Sligo extended the lead to nine. A high Corinthian punt was fielded by Matt Kavanagh on the Sligo right wing. Kavanagh linked with Feehily and the centre evaded a number of defenders before releasing Calum Goddard who raced in to touch down on the right. Butler added the extras with a well-struck effort.
Corinthians again reacted and made the most of a numerical advantage with a penalty try from a five yard scrum after two Sligo players fell foul of the referee and found their way into the sin bin in quick succession. The penalty try moved the half time score to 12-10 in favour of the locals.
Sligo held on for the reminder of the sin bin periods and picked up another Butler three pointer ten minutes into the half. Sligo tried to push on but poor discipline and unforced errors kept the visitors in the game as penalties on sixty and seventy minutes gave the Galway men the lead for the first time in the match.
With five minutes of ordinary time remaining a super drive from Sligo’s latest Ireland U20 International Kuba Wojtkowicz worked the home team into the scoring zone and a penalty was awarded under the posts but Sligo opted to run the ball without success when in hindsight three points would have been enough to win the match. Deep in injury time Sligo were awarded a penalty wide on the right but unfortunately the kick drifted wide and it was the visitors who went home with the victory.
Sligo now have a two week break from competitive action before commencing their journey in All Ireland League Division 2b with an away trip to Musgrave Park in Cork to lock horns with Sundays Well. While head Coach Paddy Pearson will be disappointed with the loss he will be encouraged coming into the AIL campaign by the fact that Sligo created many try scoring opportunities and the line was never breached by the visitors.
Sligo RFC: Calum Goddard, Matt Kavanagh, Ryan Feehily, Enda Gavin, Philip Carter, Mark Butler, Brendan Cunningham, Tom Gormley, Craig Adams, Conor Mitchell, Rob Holian, Ciaran Cassidy, Shane Boyle, Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill, Jason Havea, reps Shane O’Hehir, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Ross Hickey, Matt Davey, Christian Nielsen, Graham Kerr, Sean Mullin.
Diarmuid O’Dowd-Hill wins possession for Sligo as they faces Corinthians in Hamilton Park.
Full-back Calum Goddard. INSET: Ryan Feehily of Sligo in action. Pics: Donal Hackett.