Cawley Cup Final
Creggs played in the inaugural Cawley Cup Final in 2003, losing to Monivea on the day. Fifteen years later however, in Crowley Park, Galway, they finally got their hands on the one major trophy which had eluded the club.
Having performed particularly well in the run-up to this game Creggs began nervously but nonetheless opened the scoring in the eighth minute when centre Elliot Jennings crossed in the corner after Brian Diffley and Eoghan Farrell had powered up the middle and Jennings had the pace and power to finish in the corner with Mark Brandon nailing the difficult conversion.
Conditions were difficult and Castlebar opted for their favoured pick and go strategy but whilst Creggs had to absorb a significant amount of pressure the defence held. The situation worsened for Castlebar after 25 minutes when their second row Ruairi Hughes saw yellow and just before he was due to resume, Creggs struck again.
Diffley made the initial break, this time supported by Kevin Brandon, and when the ball was spun out wide, full-back Ronan Dowd ran a perfect line to elude the defence, this time Mark Brandon’s conversion attempt rebounded off the post. The teams turned around with Creggs 12-0 ahead and firmly in control.
Five minutes into the second half Shane Dowd added a third try with a magnificent solo effort which effectively killed the game as a contest. From a position on the half-way Dowd jinked his way through the opposition, wrong footing the defence, leaving them in his wake with a blistering turn of pace to touch down between the posts, Mark Brandon adding the conversion.
Castlebar battled right to the end but they could not crack the Creggs defence which, as it has all season, maintained its discipline and afforded their opponents not a single shot at goal.
In the final half hour both sides had some half chances but there were no further scores and Creggs had bridged a 22-year gap since their last top level success.
This is a singular achievement for head coach Pat Cunningham (who also played in the 2003 final) and his management team, Creggs have now won promotion and claimed both the Curley and Cawley Cups in this calendar year. The team now takes a well-earned break but their quest for the league title resumes on Saturday, January 5th in Creggs, again against Castlebar.
Creggs: Ronan Dowd, Luke Meehan, Elliot Jennings, Tom Callaghan, Chris Duignan, Shane Dowd, Mark Brandon, Aidan Leech, Maurice Buckley, Eoghan Farrell, Brian Donoghue, Tom Oates, James Brandon, Brian Diffley, Kevin Brandon (captain), Sean Óg Higgins, Ronan Cahill, Edward Clinton, Michael Fleming, and Michael Feeley.
Castlebar: L Molloy, S Tonra, F Murphy, D Mulgrew, R Hughes, R Hughes, M Staunton, D Staunton, D Togher, L Staunton (captain), A Feeney, J Rowland, C Carter, F Walsh, F Casey, J Staunton, G Sullivan, P Conneally, D King, E Murphy.
Referee: D Maguire (Connacht Branch).