Diffley: ‘We must seize the initiative this Sunday’

Creggs RFC captain Brian Diffley in action against Westport during a J1A League Round 4 match in 2021. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

Fresh from his side’s Connacht J1A League triumph over arch-rivals Connemara, Creggs captain Brian Diffley says excitement is building ahead of a rare Connacht Junior Cup final appearance.

“The league win was a long while coming. We had been trying to win it for five years or so since coming up from J1B League but always came up against a strong Connemara side,” he said.

“It was good to finally get one over on them and get that monkey off our backs this year.

“Now there’s a mixture of pressure and excitement ahead of Sunday’s cup final against Westport. It’s mostly excitement though because as a group we’ve only been in one Connacht Junior Cup final, which we lost to Connemara”.

Sunday’s opponents, wily Westport, have already proven to be tough opponents this year and Brian says nothing will be taken for granted in Creggs.

“We’ve won one and lost one against Westport this season. They are an older and more experienced team and would have lads who have played in the AIL. They’re a powerful side and they’ll want to turn Sunday into a dogfight and that’s something we cannot allow to happen,” he said.

“We would be confident in our own ability and as long as we play our own game we will be okay. Training has been going well and the two weeks between games has given lads plenty of time to recover.

“We also have Sligo coming down to train on the 4G pitch each Tuesday night and that has been a great help. They’re a team that would be two divisions ahead of us so it’s been good to run drills against them”.

With an All-Ireland League qualifier against Limerick side Richmond to come after Sunday’s Connacht Junior Cup decider, the Oran native believes now is the time to take the 2022/2023 season by the horns.

“We are not looking past Westport this Sunday of course but you have to take these opportunities when you have the chance so it’s important we put our best foot forward,” he said.

“There are no guarantees that we’ll win the league next year…it was tough enough winning it this year. I think our age profile suits the AIL too. There are teams that have been trying for four or five years and by the time they get up there they’re too old.

“We have a core group players now that are willing to stay on for four or five years and give it a good crack so now is the time to seize the opportunity”.

Diffley and Creggs Rugby Club will be hoping to seize every opportunity that comes their way in the coming weeks, starting this Sunday against Westport in the prestigious provincial showpiece.