What a difference an hour makes! At 3 o’clock Dungannon trailed 3-10 and the Sligo men were full value for the lead. Then at 4 o’clock the final whistle blew to send the home supporters cheering to celebrate a bonus point win with three tries scored in the final quarter!
It did not look possible in the opening minutes as the westerners with 3 Brazilian internationals in the backline looking sharp and dangerous in possession. Dungannon knocked on at the kick off and within two minutes Sligo winger, Stefano Giantorno looked set to score in the corner before a spillage spoiled the chance. Dungannon remained inside their own half for the opening 10 minutes. Then a charge down the middle per David Leyburn brought Gannon a penalty with Jordan McIlwaine obliging on 13 minutes. Five minutes later Sligo were back on the offensive and Euan Brown levelled matters with a penalty shot that went in off a post. Dungannon then broke from defence and Peter Cashel thought he was on his way for a try but the referee had spotted an infringement minutes earlier. Sligo now used the bounce into touch to good effect and when Brendan Cunningham gained possession he sent Giantorno in at the corner. Brown landed a perfect conversion to make it 3-10. Gannon bounced back and a notable run from Mark Faloon brought play close to the Sligo line. However, a penalty award allowed the visitors to clear the danger as the half-time whistle blew.
Coach, Andrew Hughes had a few choice words for his team at the break and with sun and wind on their backs they started the second half in top gear. Sligo did well to keep the hosts at bay but in the end it was Lewis McCrabbe who charged over the line. McIlwaine added the extras and the sides were level, 10-10 on 50 minutes. Gannon kept the pressure on. Several attacks were stymied by offside but the referee caught on and Dungannon moved forward with a penalty. A spillage spoiled a certain score before that storming final quarter. On 65 minutes Dungannon made the breakthrough. Centre, Sam Russell finished off a fine attacking move and Gannon took the lead 15-10. The same player completed his brace 5 minutes later and when McIlwaine fired over the conversion the hosts led 22-10. With three tries scored Dungannon went on the hunt for a fourth. The forwards created the platform and sure enough John Russell stepped inside the cover and the conversion was a formality. Shortly afterwards the final whistle sounded leaving Dungannon worthy winners at 29-10. Player of the match was Sam Russell.
Dungannon :- Andrew McGregor, Peter Cashel, Mark Faloon, Samuel Russell, Jordan McIlwaine, Richard McGregor, John Russell, Ross Stewart, Malcolm Allister, Sean O’Hagan, John Joe Kane, Stephen Todd, James McMahon, David Leyburn, Adam Milligan, James Gamble, Glen Sinnamon, Lewis McCrabbe, Caolan Mulgrew, Jack Weir.
Sligo:- Guilherme Coghetto, Stefano Giantorno, Enda Gavin, Josh Reeves, Philip Carter, Euan Brown, Brendan Cunningham, Eddie Coyle, Matthew Earley, Pedro Bengalo, Eoin Ryan, Rob Holian, Matthew O’Hara, James O’Hehir, Daire Byrne, Craig Trimble, Michael Broaders, Jake Sexton, Finn Young, Cal Goddard.