03 Jan 2016
AIL Div 2C Sligo 7 Tullamore 10
Tullamore pulled off a nerve jangling thrilling win in a wet and windy Sligo last Saturday. With the rain tumbling down and on a very heavy pitch Tullamore showed nerves of steel and a huge amount of skill and bravery. The great result consolidates their position in second place in the League table. In very tough conditions both sides went at it from the first whistle and the result in fairness could have gone either way. We had some terrific play , incredible bravery and a real Hollywood finish. Sligo kicked off with the benefit of the wind and the slope in their picturesque ground in Strandhill. The home side got off to a dream start when a Tullamore mistake gave them a 5 metre scrum after only 3 minutes. The home number 8 picked from the base and drove over for a tonic try. The conversion made it 7-0 to Sligo and the signs were ominous for Tullamore. Against the wind Tullamore found it difficult to get out of their own half and any time they did a relieving kick by the home side pinned them right back. For the next 20 minutes Sligo dominated possession and territory but the Tullamore defence was simply magnificent. Waves of attacks were repulsed by smashing tackling by both backs and forwards. Gradually Tullamore worked their way into the game and the last 15 minutes of the first half saw them camped in the home 22. The Tullamore scrum put huge pressure on the opposition and some great driving by the pack gave them a series of close in scrums. The home side gave away 3 penalties in a row until on the stroke of half time the referee lost patience when Sligo infringed at a 5 metre scrum and awarded Tullamore a penalty try. Karl Dunne knocked over the conversion for 7-7 at the break. With the elements now in their favour Tullamore piled on the pressure and all the play was now in the Sligo half. Some clever running and slick handling by the back row was barely kept out by the home side who now defended as if their lives depended on it. Some astute kicking by Aaron Deverell and Karl Dunne and a great run by Jordan Conroy kept up the pressure and eventThisually it brought success. Sligo were penalised 30 metres out but the tough conditions made the kick extremely difficult. Karl Dunne struck his attempt as cleanly as he has done all season and the flags went up 10-7 with 10 minutes still to play. Sligo to their credit did what Tullamore had done in the first half and played their way into the Tullamore 22. They put put on enormous pressure and pounded the line. The referee played 6 minutes injury time and the large Tullamore support went through agonies as a score looked inevitable. With bodies stretched everywhere Tullamore conceded 3 penalties but on each occasion Sligo went for a winning try. The tackling and unreal bravery by the Tullamore defence had to be seen to be believed. They refused to be breached and the final whistle brought relief and pride to Tullamore and heartbreak to a gallant home side. This was a massive victory for Tullamore in this refixture and leaves them just 1 point behind leaders Old Crescent after 10 games with 8 still to play. More importantly it puts Tullamore 5 points clear of 3rd placed Bruff and 6 clear of their next opponents Wanderers. The whole Tullamore panel deserve huge credit for this result as indeed do the coaching team. In the pack Darragh Lowry, Ivor Deverell, Joe Kenny and Rob Connor were immense while Aaron Deverell, Ivor Scully, Karl Dunne and Jordan Conroy were terrific out wide. All in all, a splendid start to the New Year for.