First win of the sea­son as Sligo also earn bonus point vic­tory

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - BY JOHN KANE


SLIGO picked up their first win of the 2018/19 All Ire­land League cam­paign with a bonus point vic­tory over a strong Dungannon out­fit at Hamil­ton park on Satur­day. Sligo scored five tries to the vis­i­tors’ three, se­cur­ing the all im­por­tant try bonus point and send­ing their vis­i­tors home with noth­ing to show for their ef­fort.

Play­ing to­wards the air­port end Sligo kicked off and an ex­cel­lent chal­lenge from Phillip Carter se­cured early pos­ses­sion for the hosts.

Sligo looked to move the ball through the phases with Rob Ho­lian and Ja­son Havea car­ry­ing well in the open­ing ex­changes.

But de­spite Sligo hav­ing the lion’s share of pos­ses­sion early on it was the vis­i­tors that struck first when a sweep­ing back­line move cul­mi­nated in a touch­down in the left cor­ner.

The con­ver­sion drifted wide but Dungannon in­creased their ad­van­tage with a penalty from the Sligo 22 with ten min­utes on the clock.

Sligo knuck­led down and worked their way back into the game.

Shane O’He­hir was suc­cess­fully hit­ting the tar­get at the li­ne­out,

Matt Davey was a men­ace in open play and the re­turn­ing Mata Fi­fita was lord­ing the mid­field bat­tle.

Sligo opened their ac­count with fif­teen min­utes gone.

A well worked move opened up the Dungannon de­fence and Ryan Fee­hily fin­ished un­der the posts.

Niall Gray con­verted and Sligo were within a point.

Sligo con­tin­ued to press and took the lead with twenty-five min­utes gone.

Mark But­ler ex­pertly placed a penalty into the left cor­ner.

The for­wards took over and drove for the line with Shane Boyle on hand to touch down.

Gray struck an ex­cel­lent con­ver­sion and Sligo were ahead by six.

Sligo moved fur­ther ahead five min­utes later.

An ex­cel­lent back­line left to right move­ment gave Calum God­dard the chance to use his blis­ter­ing pace to scorch the de­fence and race to the line for Sligo’s third of the day and move the score to 19-8.

With five min­utes left in the half Dungannon struck back with a con­verted try on the right from a pow­er­ful driv­ing maul to move within four of Sligo.

The vis­i­tors had their tails up and looked to take the lead be­fore the in­ter­val. A penalty award po­si­tioned play five yards from the Sligo line.

A series of scrums en­sued with the pow­er­ful Dungannon scrum putting huge pres­sure on the Sligo eight.

The home scrum stood firm how­ever, and forced the con­ces­sion of a penalty and Sligo went into the break in front.

The north­ern­ers pur­ple patch con­tin­ued af­ter the break with a try out wide with eight min­utes played, earn­ing a one point lead,

Sligo hit back im­me­di­ately when Fee­hily in­ter­cepted a long pass in the 22 and raced in un­der the posts.

Gray con­verted and Sligo were up by six and the try bonus point was se­cured.

With fif­teen min­utes re­main­ing Sligo hit again.

A penalty on the 10 me­tre line was dis­patched to the cor­ner and a well worked li­ne­out move al­lowed pow­er­house prop Kuba Wo­jtkow­icz the chance to drive over the de­fence and touch down left of the posts. Gray’s con­ver­sion pushed Sligo’s to­tal to thirty three and im­por­tantly a two score lead with ten left on the clock.

The vis­i­tors ral­lied for one last ef­fort and were re­warded with a late score out wide but it proved to be just a con­so­la­tion score as the missed con­ver­sion was the last act of an ex­cel­lent game of rugby foot­ball.

Next for Sligo is trip east­wards to take on ta­ble top­pers NUIM Barn­hall.

The Sligo con­fi­dence will be high but a huge ef­fort will be re­quired to earn suc- cess at Par­son­stown. The match kicks off at 2.30pm on Satur­day.

SLIGO RFC: Niall Gray, Calum God­dard, Ryan Fee­hily (co-cap­tain), Mata Fi­fita, Philip Carter, Mark But­ler, Bren­dan Cun­ning­ham, Kuba Wo­jtkow­icz, Shane O’He­hir, Thomas Gormely, Ja­son Havea, Rob Ho­lian, Shane Boyle, Matt Davey, Ross Hickey. Reps. Ross O’Boyle, Conor Mitchell, Ciaran Cas­sidy, Chris­tian Nielsen, Enda Gavin.

Sligo RFC took the op­por­tu­nity last Satur­day to hon­our the achieve­ments of Luke Hogge, Don­nacha Byrne, Hubert Gil­varry and Han­nah John­ston, the club’s four U18 Con­nacht play­ers, who played vi­tal roles in winning the In­ter­pro series. Don­nacha been called up to the Na­tional U18 Tal­ent Squad. Han­nah John­ston was also pre­sented with her U18 Con­nacht jer­sey by Club Pres­i­dent Des Cos­grove. Han­nah, Des, Don­nacha and Luke at the game, Hubert miss­ing from photo.

Bren­dan Cun­ning­ham in ac­tion for Sligo RFC against Dungannon. Pics: Donal Hack­ett.

Calum God­dard touches down for Sligo on Satur­day. Pics: Donal Hack­ett.

Mata Fafita in pos­ses­sion.

Mark But­ler of Sligo.

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