Sligo Rugby News




Sligo were narrow winners over Buccaneers in a hard-fought match.

Serial Cup & League winning Sligo edged the Bank of Ireland Connacht U-18.5 Cup final at The Sportsground on Sunday. Conditions were as good as could be asked for in Galway with the breeze with Buccaneers in the first half, the game was contested in front of a notably larger Sligo crowd.

It was nip and tuck in the opening half with both teams enjoying spells dominance. Buccs began brightly and opened the scoring with a 16th minute James Clarke penalty. However, Sligo responded swiftly through a brace of Oisin O’Neill penalties on 20 and 22 minutes. Buccs just then held out after a smashing break by hooker Keelan Schoen, so Sligo led 6-3 at the interval.

Conditions were brighter and warmer following the restart and Buccs were soon on level terms, Clarke slotting over a penalty 5 minutes into the second period. Sligo applied some great pressure from kicking long with Oisin O’Neill, Robert O’Kelly Lynch & Stefan Roche in paticular. An attempted kick ahead was blocked by a Buccs defender, but an offside Buccs teammate could not resist the temptation to gather the ball. Sligo punted to the left corner where, Tom Walsh gathered another great lineout, Sligo’s pack controlled the maul well to drive over for an 11th minute try Garth Mcginty which was converted by Oisin O’Neill to leave Sligo leading 13-6 .

Sligo maintained their 7-point advantage until the last 10 minutes. Buccs were now trying relentlessly to stretch the Sligo defence to breaking point and prop Cassidy ran in for Buccs on the 26th minute for a try wide on the left. Clarke missed the touchline conversion and so Sligo were now holding on to a narrow 13-11 lead.

Sligo managed the last 10 minutes of the match very well, keeping Buccs tucked back in their own half with timely interceptions by winger Ronan O Hehir .

Notable performances for Sligo were Tom Walsh & Ambrose Bamber in the lineout where Kellan Schoen’s throwing was excellent and helped Sligo to dominate in this area, Oisin O’Neill’s place kicking & tactical play was excellent, Sligo’s defence was as strong as always, with some great tackling from Conor Creaven, Max Hunter Stefan Roche & Arran Platt.

Once again, this Sligo team showed great resolve in completing a Cup and League double. This narrow victory would give them their 5th Connacht title in a row.

SLIGO :- R.O’Kelly-Lynch; R.O’Connor, S.Roche, C.Creaven, R.O’Hehir; O.O’Neill, G.McGinty; A.Platt, K.Schoen, O.Quinn; M.Gallagher, T.Walsh; M.Cullen, M.Hunter and A.Bamber. Replacements:- Q.Moughy for Cullen, A.Gilligan for Hunter, S.Fallon, M.Ryan, C.Fernandez-Hatre, J.Kilcoyne for McGinty, I.Marsden and J.Draper.

Referee: Cathal Roddy (Connacht).

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