A minute’s silence was observed before kick off in respect of a number of recent bereavements suffered by both clubs including that of our past president Niall (Tiny ) Faloon.
Conditions were far from ideal with, frequent blustery showers coming in off the Atlantic and pockets of casual water. Sligo kicked off and early pressure gave them a brace of penalties and from the second one number 4 Ciaran Cassidy barged over with Eunan Brown converting.
The home side continued to press and on the twenty minute mark slick handling got them a try in the corner by scrum half Ryan Feehily. The fact that there was a clear case of crossing in the lead up was just one of many home infringements that went unpunished throughout the game. Brown again converted to increase the home lead to 14- 0.
Finally, late in the half the visitors got a penalty which allowed them to get good field position. Following a period of pressure, the visitors were finally rewarded with an unconverted try by John Russell. 14-5 at the interval.
While there was little to choose between the packs, one area where the home side was superior was in their kicking out of hand. This often gained them a lot of territory and allied to an increasing penalty count in their favour, was to no advantage as the Dungannon defence was generally top class.
Despite poor kicking at times, Dungannon’s play continued to improve, and were unlucky not to score on 65 minutes. Disappointingly the touch judge failed to intervene when Jordan McIlwaine was attacked off the ball by two home players.
The final few minutes saw some desperate home defence as Dungannon were camped on their line. A number of penalties were conceded with repeated lineouts and scrums and eventually Alex Gormley made it over the line for an unconverted try and an important losing bonus point.
This was a very gutsy wholehearted performance by the boys with fewer unforced errors than earlier in the season. Sadly, still without a win but at least bonus points have been picked up in the four games so far. A home win is vital next week against bottom placed Ballina.
Dungannon:- Andrew McGregor, Jordan McIlwaine, Matthew Montgomery, Andrew Weir, Johnny Toal, Adam Evans, John Russell, Glenn Sinnamon, Malcolm Allister, Sean O’Hagan, Stephen Todd, Lewis McCrabbe, David Leyburn, Adam Milligan, Alex Gormley, Daniel Maxwell, Matthew Stockdale, Cameron Steenson, Aaron Perry, Connor McGeough.