Creggs finally bridged a 33-year gap when they were just too good for a Kilglass Gaels team who battled all the way to the end in this entertaining final replay at Strokestown on Saturday. Kilglass started the game well and finished it well too but in between those periods, Creggs were the much better side and they landed the title in style to spark some wild celebrations as the cup began its journey to the Galway/ Roscommon border on Saturday night.
Creggs manager, Ger Dowd, was a very happy man at full-time: “I am so thrilled for all the players and everyone in the club. We put a lot of hard work into this and thankfully it paid off today. We played some lovely football at times but it wasn’t easy against a very good Kilglass side and it was another tough battle.
“I am delighted for the younger players on the team out there today and all the great work that has gone in at underage level with St. Ciaran’s over the years is paying off now and you can see that with Fuerty and ourselves.
“We have had many disappointments in Creggs over the years and 33 years is a long time to wait for a junior title but we can enjoy this now and it is a great victory not only for the club but for the entire community as well. I also want to thank my joint manager Jonathan Conroy and everyone else behind the scenes for making this possible here today. It’s a great day for Creggs and we will celebrate it in style.”
Kilglass began well, and when they went three points up it looked like Creggs would have to wait at least another year for that elusive junior title. But once Creggs got going around the middle third of the field with James McKeague pulling the strings from centre half-back, and with Tom Fleming, Colin Canny, Shane Dowd and Enda Conneran firing on all cylinders, they dominated from the 13th minute on. Kilglass did not score for 26 minutes of play, and between the 13th and 40th minutes Creggs outscored Kilglass by 0-9 to 0-1.
Shane Dowd’s brilliant goal in the 44th minute sealed the deal for Creggs, and although Kilglass did stage a late mini-revival inspired mainly by Tommy Cox, Ger Dowd’s side had done enough and they coasted to the title with five points to spare.
Creggs had heroes in Conor Gore, Eugene Hanley, Sean Dermody and James McKeague in defence while Tom Fleming got through a lot of work at midfield. Shane Dowd showed flashes of real class up front while Enda O’Rourke and Enda Conneran were also prominent on a day that will go down in history in the Creggs club.
Kilglass were hit by a black card shown to one of their talisman Gavin Tully after only 17 minutes. For them Tommy Cox was inspired and was by far their best performer on the day. Richard Dooner, Diarmuid Connellan and Pierce Bolger also did well for Kilglass but it was Creggs’ day.