- Result: Galwegians Firsts 16 - Sligo 31
- Venue: Crowley Park on Sat Nov 23rd 2019
- Competition: Connacht Senior Cup
Galwegians lost this Connacht Senior Cup semi-final encounter when they were outgunned by a stronger Sligo side at home on Saturday.
Played under lights on a dry and crisp autumn evening, a full-strength Sligo started strongly and served notice of their intentions by going on the attack early on. However it was Wegians who opened the scoring with an early 5th minute penalty from full-back Ewan Strang. But this was undone almost immediately when Sligo won the restart, and a strong break by centre and ex-Wegian Mark Butler created open space for winger Philip Carter to saunter under the posts for the opening try. Euan Brown landed the simple convert to put the visitors 7-3 ahead.
A relatively understrength Wegians got back into it though and they were winning a succession of penalties with Sligo getting on the wrong side of the referee. Strang then narrowed the gap to a point near the half-hour mark, after an earlier long-distance attempt fell just short of the posts. Yet the visitors were a constant threat, and Wegians captain for the day Eoin Tarmey made a great try-saving tackle in the corner to deny them. However the pressure told moments later a sweeping Sligo move down the right and some deft handling saw Carter cross near the corner to bag his second try. Brown’s conversion was mishit, but flew low and somehow incredibly sailed between the posts for a 14-6 lead. Strang did manage a third penalty to leave the gap 14-9 at the break.
In the second-half Wegians got back into it and were putting it up to the visitors, more than matching their set-piece in the process. A great break by hooker Andrew Paton and further work by the impressive skipper Tarmey almost led to a score in the corner, only for the final pass to go abegging. But just when they seemed to be gaining some momentum, the visitors struck another telling blow with a breakaway third try. It was a well-worked blindside move which saw scrum-half Ryan Feehily chip ahead, and a perfect bounce allowed kiwi winger Cal Goddard to gather and cross for a well-taken try, which Brown converted for good measure.
The Blues refused to give up the ghost, and they kept the pressure on. With the game now well into the final quarter, they were rewarded when free-scoring Mikey O’Donnell bagged his seventh try of the season when he finished from the base of powerful scrum 5. Strang’s conversion brought it back to 21-16, with the game now set up for tense finale. However all the hard work was undone almost immediately when Wegians knocked on the restart. This gave Sligo the perfect platform to attack, and they took full advantage with Butler getting over under the posts. Brown converted again, and a few minutes later he tagged on a penalty to put it beyond any doubt.
Thus Sligo there go on to face Corinthians in the Senior Cup Final in December. However there were many positives for Wegians head coach Andrew Browne to take from his side’s performance as they pushed a strong Sligo all the way despite the final scoreline.