Home advantage for Creggs in league semi-final

Connacht U-17 League: Creggs RFC 25 Sligo RFC 7. On a difficult day for rugby and on a pitch that was tearing up after the recent weather, Creggs U-17s guaranteed a home U-17 Division 1 league semi-final against Galwegians next weekend after seeing off the challenge of Sligo RFC on a scoreline of 25-7 in Creggs last Sunday.

  This game was always going to be decided by the team that handled the elements best and it is a credit to this Creggs team that again when questions were asked they had the answers against very determined and tough opposition.

  Creggs began the game well and were unlucky on a couple of occasions early on when Brian Maloney, Adam Finnerty and John Martin were all held up short. However, it was Sligo who took the lead after 15 minutes when on their first visit to the Creggs 22”, Christian Nielsen managed to dive over from close range which was converted to give them a 7-0 lead.

  Creggs again took the game to Sligo from the restart and took their opponents on up front with Mathew Curley, Aaron Glennon and Danny Arnold gaining good ground with ball in hand and when they got close Rian Biesty used very good technique to evade the defense and dive over to reduce the deficit to 7-5.

  Sligo were using the strong wind to pin Creggs back but Tim Lambe and Ben McGahon did very well dealing with the Sligo kicking game while Shane Purcell, Niall Cunniffe and Jason Hoare dealt with anything Sligo tried to bring through the middle and a collective defensive structure kept the score to 7-5 until half-time.

  In the second half Creggs had the benefit of the strong wind and Melvin Conteh and Rian Biesty were making considerable ground as the Sligo rearguard were having difficulty halting their progress. Shane Purcell, Eoghan Coyle and Ronan Dowd also kept Sligo retreating with some very good kicks and Sligo had no response as Creggs scored 4 second half tries, a brace each for Biesty and Conteh to leave the final score 25-7.

  Creggs will host Galwegians this Saturday at 12 pm in the league semi-final. These two teams met two weeks ago in the league in Creggs, which ended in a 14-14 draw with Creggs needing a late try to level things up. This will certainly be a difficult game for the team who will be looking to reach their fourth Connacht league final in four years.

Creggs: Mathew Curley, Aaron Glennon, Melvin Conteh, Brian Maloney, Adam Finnerty, John Martin, Rian Biesty, Danny Arnold, Eoghan Coyle, Shane Purcell, Jason Hoare, Niall Cunniffe, Juan De La Campa, Tim Lambe, Ben McGahon, Oisin Keenan, Joe Kerr, Ronan Dowd, Emmett Quinn, Cillian Higgins.

Connacht Junior Cup: Creggs 13 Connemara 7. Creggs advanced to the quarter-finals of the Connaught Junior Cup with a deserved win against the Connemara All Blacks at The Green last Sunday.

  Connemara, who were playing in the All-Ireland League two seasons ago, now ply their trade in Division 1A, the division above Creggs, so this represents a major scalp for the village side. It also sets up a mouth-watering tilt at Ballina in the quarter-final fixed for Creggs this Sunday. A measure of the challenge facing Creggs is that last week Ballina put 40 points on Connemara in their league encounter.

  Played in difficult conditions with a tricky wind Creggs started well against the wind but first blood went to the visitors on 13 minutes when Creggs attempted a risky move on their own 22, handing Connemara centre David McDonagh an intercepted try which he grounded between the posts, Michael O’Toole adding the easy conversion.  

  O’Toole had a chance to increase the lead on the quarter mark when Connemara were awarded a kickable penalty but the ball was blown over as he struck it. It was Shane Dowd who added the next score, a penalty after 29 minutes, following good play from his side who were now dominating the forward exchanges, particularly the scrums.

  7-3 at half-time looked good for Creggs but Connemara controlled the game in the third quarter and Creggs had great difficulty breaking out of defence, particularly with Sean Og Higgins sent to the bin. He was followed by the Ballina no. 8 Barry Gibbons and when Creggs were restored to full capacity they clawed their way up the field, finally rewarded when replacement prop Neville Walker barged his way over for the decisive score after 27 minutes.

  Only one point separated the sides at that stage but Connemara never again established a foothold in the Creggs half and the home side added a third try one minute from time, Shane Dowd splitting the Connemara defence with a judicious cross-kick, the only question being which of Ger Heneghan or Ryan Horan would get there first with Heneghan beating his colleague to the touch-down.

  On a day when the wind could have undone any full-back, Kevin Gavin turned in a man of the match performance for Creggs, with captain Tom Callaghan a rock in defence.

  Of the forwards, both starting props Tom Fleming and Aidan Leech impressed, Tom Oates was a major influence at second row with one vital lineout steal and Kevin Bandon put in another serious shift at no. 8. Kick-off at The Green on Sunday is at the earlier time of 1 pm.

Creggs: K Gavin, R Horan, G Heneghan, T Callaghan, P Leech, S Dowd, A Callaghan, T Fleming, S O’Higgins, A Leech, T Oates, B Kilcommons, A

Brandon, P Lohan, K Brandon. Replacements: N Walker, R Cassidy, B Egan, B Donoghue, C Duignan.

Creggs YOUTH rugby: Creggs U-15s will host Sligo in the Connacht U-15 Division 1 League this Sunday at 11.30 am in Creggs.

Connacht League semi-finals: Creggs U-16s will host Oughterard in the semi-final of the Connacht U-16 Division 2 League this Saturday at 3.45 pm in Creggs.

Creggs MINI rugby: Creggs Minis welcomed Monivea RFC to Creggs last Saturday morning for a blitz. On a cold and bright morning the players played some very good rugby and there were very competitive games on show.

  Thanks to all the players that played on the day and the parents for the support shown. Next week Creggs are due to host Virginia RFC and Ballinasloe RFC in a blitz, weather dependent.

Creggs Minis will host Ballinasloe RFC in a mini blitz this Saturday at 10.30 am in Creggs. Players to be there at 10.10 am.