Creggs battle to final place

Creggs 13 Galwegians 8

Creggs U-17s have qualified for the Division 1 Connacht League Final after a very impressive win over a very good Galwegians side in Ballyhaunis last Saturday.  

  Played in wet underfoot conditions, this was a game played in the right spirit from start to finish between two very competitive sides who drew 14-14 only two weeks ago in the league.

  Creggs began the game well and had the better of the territory and were making good ground through Dara Byrne, Rian Biesty, Melvin Conteh and Brian Maloney especially however in the early stages the Galwegians back row were very competitive at the breakdown especially when Creggs ventured into their 22” and they turned the ball over on 4 occasions in the first twelve minutes and cleared their lines.

  Creggs did manage to take the lead on 13 minutes when Galwegians were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown and Shane Purcell slotted a well-taken penalty from 30 metres out.

  On 18 minutes Galwegians scored on their first visit to the Creggs danger zone when they moved the ball wide and kicked ahead and while it looked like the ball was knocked on while grounding, the score was awarded to winger Hugh Lane and Galwegians were now leading 5-3.

  Creggs didn’t let that setback change their game plan and they were now presenting the ball faster and cleaner for Eoghan Coyle at 9 and that allowed Jason Hoare and Niall Cunniffe to gain some advantage out wide. Creggs also continued to pin their opponents back in their 22” with some very good kicks from Shane Purcell. Tim Lambe and Ben McGahon and even number 7 John Martin got in on the act with a super kick at one stage.

  After 22 minutes after some good work from Adam Finnerty, Danny Arnold and Ian Conlon, Creggs regained the lead when Galwegians were penalised in front of their posts, which Purcell converted for a 6-5 lead. Creggs did not let up and three minutes later they were rewarded from some excellent work from Rian Biesty, John Martin and Dara Byrne and Melvin Conteh dived over which Purcell again converted for a 13-5 half-time lead.

  The heavy rain at half-time, made the conditions very mucky for the second half and Creggs continued to move the big Galwegians pack around and pin them back in their own half, Creggs lost Cunniffe with an injury after 7 minutes of the half and Aaron Glennon did well on his introduction as did Brandon Hanmore who added fresh legs when introduced early in the half.

  A lot of the play was between the two 10 metre lines in this half an Galwegians were struggling to get the two scores they required and Creggs looked comfortable for most of the half until Galwegians did kick a penalty with 5 minutes remaining but Creggs never let them back down into their half to threaten their line for the try Galwegians needed and Creggs held out for the victory.

  Creggs will play the winner of the second semi-final between Corinthians and Sligo and the final is due to take place on Sunday, 21st of February.

Creggs: Ian Conlon, Danny Arnold, Melvin Conteh, Brian Maloney, Adam Finnerty, Dara Byrne, Aaron Glennon, Brandon Hanmore, Rian Biesty, John Martin, Eoghan Coyle, Shane Purcell, Jason Hoare, Niall Cunniffe, Tim Lambe, Juan De La Campa, Ben McGahon, Oisin Keenen, Mathew Curley, Emmett Quinn, Killian Higgins.

Connacht Junior Cup: Creggs 3 Ballina 10. Ballina advanced to the semi-final of the Connacht Junior Cup following a closely contested match, played in extremely difficult conditions at The Green on Sunday. However, they endured a tough examination of their credentials before seeing off the robust challenge posed by a youthful Creggs team. Ballina’s greater experience and forward power proved decisive in closing out the game, with scrumhalf Micky Murphy, No.8 Aidan McNulty and centre Michael Allen playing key roles in their victory.

  The early exchanges were fast and furious, but Ballina edged ahead in the 16th minute when full-back Dara White landed a penalty goal when Creggs were adjudged to be offside at a ruck. The concession of penalties proved to be a major problem for Creggs in the first half, with the penalty count very much against the home team. Some of the decisions appeared harsh in the conditions.

  Prop forward Conor Mason scored a decisive try for Balllina in the 23rd minute when he availed of a rare mix-up in the Creggs defence to power through the midfield for an impressive score, which Dara White converted to put Ballina 10-0 ahead.

  The loss of the vastly experienced No. 8 Kevin Brandon through injury was another serious blow for Creggs, but they quickly regrouped to carry the fight to Ballina, with out-half Shane Dowd and Maurice Buckley to the fore.

  A penalty by Dowd shortly after half-time put the game back in the melting pot, and Creggs proceeded to play some stirring rugby in the worsening conditions, but Ballina were strong and determined in defence and held out for a hard-earned victory.

  Creggs had fine displays by the Callaghan brothers, Tom Oates and the excellent Ryan Horan, but each player gave his all in a gallant attempt to overturn a Ballina team which is currently 2nd in League Division 1A .

  Creggs are due to face NUIG in the Curley Cup semi-final next Sunday at The Green.

Creggs: K Gavin, P Leech, B Egan, T Callaghan, R Horan, S Dowd, A Callaghan, T Fleming, S Higgins, A Leech, T Oates, B Kilcommons, P Lohan, K Brandon, A Brandon, B Donoghue, N Walker, M Buckley, C Duignan, R Cassidy.

MINI RUGBY: Creggs Minis Blitz against Ballinasloe RFC was cancelled last week due to the weather. Next weekend Creggs will welcome Castlebar RFC for a mini blitz. Due to the weather and the fact that Creggs’ visit to Castlebar was cancelled before Christmas due to weather also, it is suggested that Creggs will welcome Castlebar U-11s and U-12s to Creggs and Creggs will visit Caslebar at U-8, U-9 and U-10.

  Creggs Mini Girls are due to visit Ballinasloe at 12.30 pm on Saturday. Weather dependent.

YOUTH RUGBY: Creggs’ U-16 game v Oughterard in the U-16 League semi-final was called off last weekend and will take place next Saturday at 11 am in Creggs.

  Creggs U-14s and U-15s will train next Friday at 8 pm. The Cup begins for these teams over the next two weeks, so please attend training.

  Creggs U-15s are due to play Monivea next weekend in the league.