Nar­row de­feat for Sligo RFC

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - BY JOHN KANE

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.

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