Flashback to 1996: When Creggs were last league champions…

‘The biggest match in Connacht for years’ was how the Irish Times described the meeting of Creggs and Connemara in the Junior League final of February 1996.

Not only was there a Connacht Junior Cup at stake but the two rivals were facing each other for a place in the All-Ireland League too. The game itself proved to be a titanic struggle with Creggs holding firm in the face of intense All Black pressure in abysmal conditions at the Sportsground.

The final score of 9-3 tells its own story, but while it may not have been a game for purists of the oval ball, it was still compelling viewing according to those who were lucky enough to witness it.

Creggs’ victory was built on a platform of team effort but there were also a number of stand-out performances, most notably from Barry Kilcommins, Kevin O’Rourke, Kieran Canny, the Wards, and out-half Ger Dowd, who kicked all of Creggs’ points on the day.

Playing with a fierce wind at their backs in the opening half, Creggs managed to develop a 9-0 lead by the interval. The margin could and probably should have been even wider too but a number of try-scoring opportunities went amiss.

The second half proved to be one of the most nerve-wracking in Creggs Rugby history as the maroon and white were forced back into their own half where they defended their line manfully.

Connemara appeared to have lit the blue touch paper within two minutes of the restart when John Malone slotted over a penalty. Creggs’ worst fears appeared to be coming through.

From there to the full-time whistle, however, it was a tale of dogged Creggs resistance and wasteful Connemara finishing. According to the match report from Noel Fallon of The Roscommon Champion, the Creggs tackles were “of the highest order” while Connemara’s woes were summed up when Malone missed a 20-metre penalty right in front of the posts.

The final whistle was greeted with huge relief from all associated with Creggs Rugby and captain Kieran Dowd lifted the league trophy to spark huge celebrations at the Sportsground, which some say continued for many years back in the village of Creggs!


The team



The Creggs team was: Kieran Dowd (captain), Seamus Meehan, James Gavin, Sean Brandon, Paul Bradley, Ger Dowd (3 penalties), Kieran Canny, Brian Hanley, Niall Coen, Vincent Collins, Kevin O’Rourke, Barry Kilcommins, Robert Ward, Michael Ward, John Joe Kennedy.