Creggs keep double hopes alive!

Connacht Junior Cup Semi-Final:

Creggs RFC – 22
Ballinrobe RFC – 18

Shane Dowd, pictured in action against Connemara in the recent Connacht Junior League Final, was in impressive form as Creggs overcame Ballinrobe in the Connacht Junior Cup Semi-Final last Sunday. Pic: Steve Fahey

Creggs kept their Connacht League and Cup double hopes alive with a hard-fought win over Sligo side Ballinrobe at The Green last Sunday.

The visitors took an early 3-0 lead before a converted Shane Dowd try opened the scoring for Creggs. The impressive Dowd was at the heart of it again shortly after when he accelerated through the Ballinrobe defence before off loading to Tom Featherston to score Creggs’ second try.

While Shane Purcell converted the first, he was jus to the right of the posts on the second to leave the score 12-3 in favour of Creggs.

Shane Dowd was by now getting plenty of freedom and the game appeared to be over as a contest when Danny Arnold’s try was converted by Purcell to extend the Creggs lead to 16 points.

The hosts were caught out just before half-time, however, when Ballinrobe winger Joe Burke won a kick chase to touch down and reduce the arrears to eight points at the interval.

The visitors, undaunted by a couple of yellow cards, stormed back into contention early in the second half when their pack powered over for a converted try following a lineout. They were now just four points behind and it was very much game on.

The new Connacht League champions found themselves under the cosh in the closing stages and a Ballinrobe penalty to make it a one score game ensured a nervy finish.

The Sligo side were then awarded a potential game-winning opportunity close to full-time but, fortunately for Creggs, the penalty was dragged well left of the posts, much to the relief of players, management and supporters.

Man of the match Ronan Cahill took control in what were a nervy final four minutes, carrying ball through hard-fought metres as Creggs looked to run down the clock.

The hosts’ doggedness eventually paid off when they were awarded a 43-metre penalty right on full-time. After a quick consultation with the referee, Mark Purcell decided to go for the posts and he made no mistake to send Creggs through the Connacht Cup Final for the first time since 2018 and keep their hopes of a double very much alive.

Creggs will now face Westport in the final after the Mayo side overcame Tuam 16-10 in their semi-final. All roads lead to the Sportsground on March 26th as the Maroon and White attempt to add the Connacht Junior Cup to the league title they won against Connemara last month.