- Result: Galwegians Firsts 22 - Sligo 36
- Venue: Sligo RFC on Sat Mar 4th 2023
- Competition: AIL Division 2B
Galwegians made the journey to Hamilton Park last Saturday in the AIL Division 2B clash with Sligo. With Benbulben looming above them, so was the importance of this game, to breach the gap and climb up the league table away from the danger zone.
Sligo started the game strong, forcing Galwegians to play from deep within their own half. Galwegians made every effort to exit their 22, but a clever kick return from the Sligo led to a scrum on the Galwegian’s 5-meter line. This resulted in Sligo’s first score of the afternoon out half Jack Keegan converting to extend the home sides lead to 7.
Sligo’s second try came only four minutes later, this time through centre Finn Bamber. Missed tackles from Galwegians proved costly, as they leaked precious meters before simple hands from the Sligo backs found Bamber out wide to finish in the corner.
Winger Cathal Finneran got his name on the score sheet shortly after to extend Sligo’s lead to 17. A fantastic crossfield kick was calmly gathered by Finneran, before weaving through two defenders to cross the whitewash.
Sligo were relentless in attack returning for the bonus point try straight from the kick-off. They gathered the clearance kick and broke down the line. Galwegians managed to turn the ball over but just as they thought they had escaped the danger a block down on Kelvin Langan’s kick saw Sligo’s Archie MacLean touch down in the right-hand corner. Keegan added the extras to push the home side even further in front 24-0.
Galwegians eventually found a response with fantastic individual work from winger Jack Beatty who, chased down Sligo’s fullback not only preventing a try but also winning the ball back with a great jackle. Langan cleared the danger with Waterman and Beatty following up in the chase. Great teamwork from the pair put the Sligo wingers under immense pressure. Waterman then blocked down the box kick and Beatty stole the loose ball to give the Blues a lifeline try.
But the visitors’ joy was short-lived as Sligo came in attack once again simple hands exploiting the narrow Wegians defence. Winger Callum Goddard sailed over to restore their lead before Keegan extended it by two, the scores 31-5 on the stroke of halftime.
In the second half Galwegians came out of the blocks a changed team with a point to prove, and after just two minutes they had their second of the game. This time second-row Gary Duffy found himself at the end of a great string of passes to finish in the corner.
Wegians found their third after just five minuetes, the attack coming from a scrum penalty taken quickly putting Sligo on the back foot. Great hands from the Wegians attack spread Sligo in all directions before Mark Earle broke the line, offloading to Andrew Sherlock who crashed over under the posts. Earle making no mistakes with the kick brought the score to 31-17.
With their confidence building Galwegians went in search of their fourth and they found it. A difficult grubber kick from Beatty put the right amount of pressure on Finneran, who was unable to gather the ball, allowing Beatty to regather and find the try line for his second score of the game.
But the comeback wasn’t to be for the Galway men, with Finneran redeeming himself for his mistakes, holding his without wide to dive over in the corner for Sligo’s sixth and final try of the game.
A valiant second-half effort for the Blues wouldn’t be enough when the final whistle blew. Sligo prevailed with a 36-22 victory to stretch the gap between the side to 10 on the AIL league table. This increases the importance of of our next three games only three points between Gawegians and bottom-of-the-table Enniscorthy.