Late charge secured epic win over Westport

Connacht J1A League semi-final:
Creggs RFC 27 Westport 25

Photo: Bernie O’Farrell

In front of a huge and vocal home crowd, Creggs’ first team took on Westport RFC on the 4G pitch last Sunday afternoon in the Connacht Junior League J1 semi-final. Creggs were missing a couple of players with injury for this important game, but this also gave opportunities to others to prove themselves.

  Creggs played into a strong wind in the first half, and Westport were quick to take advantage of the elements with some very good play, scoring two converted tries and a penalty to lead 17-0 after the first quarter.

  Creggs settled, scoring a good try of their own. From a five-metre scrum, back-row forward Ronan Cahill powered over in the corner from close range. The unsuccessful conversion attempt was from a very difficult angle, against the wind.

  Another penalty on the Creggs’ 22 left Westport with an easy three-pointer to give them a 20-5 half-time lead.

  Wind-assisted in the second half, Creggs changed tactics, now carrying the ball in hand. They were rewarded with a great try following a strong run by Kevin Gavin, who fended off a couple of defenders before scoring. Shane Purcell landed the conversion to make it 20-12.

  A third try was delivered a short time after. It came from scrum-half Mark Dowd, who picked from the ruck ten metres out and backed himself to get over the line. The conversion just clipped the upright. 20-17.

  Creggs pushed hard but Westport broke out and a missed tackle in midfield allowed them to get in for their third try. The conversion was missed, leaving Westport 25-17 ahead with 10 minutes left.

Photo: Bernie O”Farrell

  It was backs to the wall for a period but the pressure eased when Shane Purcell’s penalty for Creggs left just five points between the teams.

  A fitter looking Creggs finished the stronger. James Brandon broke free of a maul and with a great individual dash scored a try under the posts, Shane Purcell adding the conversion. Creggs had taken the lead for the first time in the match, at 27-25, with three minutes remaining.

  There was still more drama. A minute after the kick-off, Westport were awarded a penalty about 35 metres out. They decided it was too difficult (given the wind) to kick for goal, and instead kicked towards the Creggs five-metre line. Creggs disrupted their throw and cleared their lines.

Creggs squad: Tom Fleming, Maurice Buckley, Sean Og Higgins, Tom Farrell, Brian Donoghue, Ronan Cahill, James Brandon, Brian Diffley, Aodha Hession, Shane Purcell, Ronan Dowd, Mark Purcell, Eoghan Coyle, Kevin Gavin, Shane Dowd, Matthew Curley, Ciaran Corcoran, Tom Callaghan, Mark Dowd, Mikey Dunne, Brian Cleary, Luke Divilly, Conor Rohan.