Sligo secure vital points with narrow win over Wanderers

Sligo secured a vital win in their quest for an Energia AIL Division 2B top 4 play off position with a defiant win over visiting Wanderers FC on Saturday.

he win moves Sligo up a place in the league table and just 5 points away from the coveted 4th place position.

On a dull afternoon with a tricky cross wind come from the west, the visitors kicked off with Sligo playing towards the Airport end. It was the Dublin men, however, that made the most of the early exchanges with Sligo’s early indiscipline giving the visitors an early foothold.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a try in the left hand corner from a rolling maul following a five yard lineout. The conversion attempt drifted wide.

Wanderers went further ahead 5 minutes later running in a converted try through the midfield following a scrum on the Sligo 22.

Sligo were stung into action and began to make their own inroads into the game.

Ross Hickey was carrying powerfully, ably supported by Matthew Earley and Ryan Feehily playing in his 100th AIL match was bringing the match to the visitors in midfield.

Sligo opened their account on 26 minutes.

A penalty in the visitors’ 22 was despatched to touch on the 5 by Euan Brown.

Shane O’Hehir went to Archie Maclean towards the tail of the lineout.

In a planned move Maclean fed Kuba Wojtkowicz ‘off the top’ and the powerful prop charged towards the line before being held up just short.

Rob Holian followed up and drove over to touch down for the score.

Sligo continued to press and picked up a second try right on the stroke of half-time.

A lineout in the Wanderers 22 was secured by Adrian Cummins and the maul was set and trundled towards the line.

The maul was halted short and the ball released to the Sligo backline.

A half break from centre Cathal Finneran almost made the line. The ball spilled free but Hubert Gilvarry did an excellent job in cleaning up the chaos and a perfect pass from the scrum half saw Finn Bamber crash over in the corner to put the half time score at 10-12 in favour of the visitors.

Following the resumption Sligo continued to press.

James O’Hehir, who was also celebrating a milestone 50th AIL match, was tackling everything that moved and Jack Keegan and Calum Goddard were a threat when called to the attack.

Substitutes Jason East and Daire Byrne and Brendan Cunningham were called to the fray and the impact was almost immediate.

From a scrum inside the Wanderers 10 meter line, Sligo marched the visiting pack backwards, winning a vital penalty in such a tight encounter, and Brown judged the wind perfectly to take the points and give Sligo the narrowest of leads and the match points.

Eoin Ryan and Ben Hynes were sent in to keep the energy levels up and Sligo’s determination proved insurmountable as the visitors failed to register a score in the second half.

Coaches Paddy Pearson and Jarlath Naughton will be delighted with the response from their charges , particularly with the way that Sligo finished the stronger of the two teams, no doubt a result of the strength and conditioning work put in by S&C coach Ciaran O’Connor in recent weeks.

Next up Sligo travel east to lock horns with table topping Greystones. Sligo will be buoyed by the manner of this victory and will be looking forward to continuing in the same manner in Wicklow. The match kicks of at 2.30 in Dr Hickey Park.

Sligo Jack Keegan, Calum Goddard, Cathal Finneran, Ryan Feehily, Calum Goddard, Euan Brown, Hubert Gilvarry, Matthew Earley, Shane O’Hehir, Kuba Wojtkowicz, Rob Holian, Adrian Cummins, Archie Maclean, James O’Hehir, Ross Hickey. Reps: Jason East, Ben Hynes, Daire Byrne, Eoin Ryan, Brendan Cunningham


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