Creggs celebrate promotion

Creggs ……………………… 20  Gort …………………………. 10 On a night where only the hardiest souls turned out to brave the elements, Creggs 1st XV collected the points which guaranteed promotion to the top flight of Connacht Junior Rugby for next season, when they deservedly defeated Gort in a dour struggle in the Green on Saturday night last.    Driving rain and a breeze that had to originate around Siberia made conditions EXTREMELY difficult – yet both teams concentrated on playing good rugby and served up an enthralling encounter. Gort had the aid of the elements in the first half, yet it was Creggs who started the brighter and the home side almost scored in their very first attack.    A number of forward drives were repulsed until the South Galway men lifted the siege after 10 minutes. They now exerted some pressure of their own and took the lead after 25 minutes with a sloppy try that seemed to me to have been touched down by covering Creggs defender Bernard Kilcommons. However the try stood and so Gort were 5-0 ahead. As in recent games we hit back straight away.    Ja Hughes made a marvellous catch from our kick off, offloaded to Conor Brandon and after a series of determined attacks Mark Hester burst through the Gort defence for a superb try. Noel Flynn converted to put us into a 7-5 lead with half time approaching. We turned over with the wind and rain at our backs, but it took us a while to get into our stride. However after 15 minutes Emmet Collins finished off a flowing backs movement to put some badly needed daylight between the teams. We were now 12-5 to the good and pretty much on top.    Two more tries followed with one for Peter Comiskey and a 2nd for Mark Hester before the Gort No. 8 Paul Gantley ran 50 metres for a marvellous individual score just before the end. So it left us winners by 22-10 and the goal of promotion has been achieved. Next week we wrap up the campaign with a home match with Connemara. On the day Ja Hughes, Mark Hester and Mike Fleming were excellent performers in a reasonably decent team effort.  Team – E. Collins, M. Fleming, C. Brandon, J. Hughes, B. Kilcommons, N. Flynn, G. Brennan, A. Glennon, P. Comiskey, P. Heavey, K. O’Rourke, P. Turley, K. Brandon, M. Hester, T. Fleming (capt). Subs used: M. Brandon and K. Keane.  Connacht Junior B League Creggs ……………………….. 3  West Offaly Lions ……….. 8 The recently-formed Ferbane team, West Offaly Lions, travelled to Creggs and came away with the points after a tough battle played in extremely difficult conditions at the Green on Sunday. The Lions, coached by the vastly experienced Charlie Couper, have been performing very well in their first competitive season and this was reflected by their large squad of players assembled from the Midlands Region.   Creggs mounted intense pressure in the closing stages in search of a try but the Lions defence held firm to deprive the home side of victory.    West Offaly got off to a good start with a penalty after five minutes when Creggs strayed offside, but it took them another twenty minutes to add to that score when their left-winger darted over for a well-taken try following good handling by their three-quarters.    Creggs turned around at half-time to play with the advantage of a strong downfield wind and this helped them to gain a significant foothold in opposition territory.   However, solid tackling by the very determined Offaly men limited try-scoring opportunities but a Dave Flahive penalty midway through the second half put Creggs right back into the game.    Despite the best efforts of the Creggs pack in which Larry Mannion, Barry Kilcommins and Alan Ward impressed, there was no way through for a Try as the clock ticked away in the increasingly muddy conditions. Handling became very difficult, but the West Offaly wingers and fullback coped superbly with some testing kicks as Creggs went all out in a frantic last quarter. Likewise, their tackling around the fringes was excellent, and so they held out for a win, which was hard earned against a Creggs team that also played with great spirit but lacked a cutting edge on this occasion.    Training continues on Tuesday at 8pm and Friday at 8.30 pm. Creggs: Sean Ryan, Barry Egan, Paul Mahony, Johnny Cahill, Damien Cahill, Dave Flahive, David Drury, Pat Coffey, Larry Mannion, Paul McNeill, Ken Keane, Peter Casey, Kieran Ryan, Alan Ward, Pat McDonagh, Ronan Kelly, Barry Kilcommins, Padraic McKeague, Gerry Keegan, Joel McPhilbin, Kieran Osbourne, Shane Connaughton, Paul Cahill, Robbie Keenan.