Late try seals Connacht Final win for Creggs
Connacht Division 1 League Final: Creggs 17 Corinthians 10. Creggs U-18.5s won the Connacht Division 1 League title last Sunday with a 17-10 victory over Corinthians RFC at Dubarry Park in Athlone. In beautiful conditions and in front of a large and vocal crowd, Creggs came out on top in a tight and exciting encounter.
Corinthians began the better and in the opening 10 minutes kept Creggs pinned back in their own 22” and had a series of scrums before taking a 5-0 lead after eight minutes.
Creggs then began to take a foothold in the game and up front Rian Biesty, Dan Butt, Ronan Cahill and Danny Arnold were now getting over the gain-line. In the set-pieces Brian Maloney and David O’Gorman were securing ball for the Creggs backs to work with.
However, it took right up to 34 minutes before the Creggs boys eventually broke through the excellent Corinthians defence when Melvin Conteh broke a tackle and made a 20 metre run before eventually being hauled down just short of the line. Eoghan Coyle moved the ball quickly out to Shane Purcell at 10 and the ball moved swiftly through all the backs for Tim Lambe to score in the corner. Purcell converted from near the touchline to give Creggs a 7-5 half-time lead.
Creggs continued to have the upperhand in the early parts of the second half but it was Corinthians who took the lead after 12 minutes from a block down kick. They kept the ball alive to score in the corner. Again, they failed to land the conversion, so it was 10-7 and advantage Corinthians.
Having lost to the same opposition in the U-17 League Final last year, it would have been understandable if the Creggs boys thought it was going to be one of those days – but they did not!
Creggs continued to their game plan and got their reward and drew level from a penalty through Shane Purcell after 20 minutes, following Corinthians being caught offside at the ruck.
Creggs continued to attack and just when it looked like a draw was the likely result Creggs were awarded a penalty with two minutes remaining, Ronan Dowd stepped up and kicked the very difficult penalty which just dropped short but the follow-up from Mairtin Quinn proved decisive when he pounced brilliantly on the loose ball and touched down under the post. Ronan Dowd converted to give Creggs a 17-10 lead with only a minute remaining and Creggs regained possession and with time up, kicked the ball out, securing the Connacht Under-18.5 Division 1 League title.
Creggs: Melvin Conteh, Danny Arnold, Dan Butt, Oisin Keenan, Amuray Duarte, Aaron Glennon, Ian Conlon, Matthew Curley, Diarmuid Collins, Cian Gately, David O’Gorman, Brian Maloney, Rian Biesty, Ronan Cahill, Edward Clinton, Eoghan Coyle (capt.), Shane Purcell, Jason Hoare, Dara Beirne, Mairtin Quinn, Tim Lambe, Ronan Dowd.
Connacht Junior League: Creggs 24 Tuam RFC 23.
Creggs overcame Tuam by the narrowest of margins at The Green on Sunday.
In perfect conditions the teams scored three tries apiece and Tuam will rue some dreadful place kicks which ultimately cost them the match.
Creggs never trailed from start to finish, albeit holding on for dear life at the death, all of their tries coming from close-in forward drives, the first to Mike Blighe, the second to Eoghan Farrell and the third a penalty try.
Full-back Kevin Gavin and out-half Shane Dowd accounted for the remaining scores from the tee.
Throughout the game the pack were in control with Blighe, Tom Fleming and Brian Donoghe especially prominent.
Behind them, Mark Brandon moved the ball impressively and further afield Luke Meehan and Gavin both had fine outings.
The pack performance however will best please Pat Cunningham and his coaching team, with both drive and discipline in evidence throughout. There is only one game left for decision in this year’s league, Creggs v Castlebar, date and venue yet to be decided.
Sligo are the outright winners and are promoted automatically with Corinthians pipping Tuam for the play-off. Creggs are safely positioned in mid-table, with Ballyhaunis relegated.
Creggs: Kevin Gavin, Stephen Crehan, Michael Farrell, Tom Callaghan (capt.), Luke Meehan, Shane Dowd, Mark Brandon, Tom Fleming, Sean Og Higgins, Aidan Leech, Michael Blighe, Alan Glennon, Peter Lohan, Kevin Brandon, Brian Donoghue, Eoghan Farrell, Brian Cody, Conor Gore, Damien Nolan.
Connacht U-16 Cup Quarter-Final: Creggs 5 Ballinasloe RFC 21. Creggs bowed out of the Connacht U-16 Cup last Saturday afternoon. Playing cup favourites Ballinasloe was always going to be a big ask for Creggs, but they have improved greatly this season and were not lacking in confidence.
This was very much evident from the kick-off when Jack Tucker put in a strong tackle on the Ballinasloe flanker and this set the tone for the afternoon. After some strong carrying from the Creggs pack, scrum-half and captain Aodha Hession snipped over for the opening try after barely five minutes.
The intensity and tackling in defence by the Creggs team got them to half-time without conceding and they well deserved their 5-0 lead at the break.
Ballinasloe responded well at the start of the second half and were rewarded when their out-half got through for a try and added the conversion to put the visitors in front.
Creggs responded well but were unlucky when two Creggs defenders collided and a gap opened for an impressive Ballinasloe centre to run the length of the pitch to score.
Creggs fought valiantly to get back into the match but gaps were appearing as players tired from the efforts and when a Ballinasloe player broke free down the wing to score, the match was over as a contest. Their out-half again converted and the visitors had survived a scare to advance to the semi-finals 21-5.
Creggs: Thomas O’Brien, Roddy McGuinness, Tom Farrell, Jack Tucker, Jack Hanley, Rory Callaghan, John McDonnell, Jack Keegan, Aodha Hession (capt.), Mark Purcell, Richard Walsh, Lorcan Maher, Jonathan Whyte, Aaron Hannon, Diarmuid Quinn, Eric O’Doherty, Kaylem Holian, Colin Walsh, Aaron Lyons, Ethan Glennon, Leigh Doyle, Micheal Beirne.
Connacht U-14 Plate: Creggs 38 NUIG 0. Creggs U-14s had a comprehensive win over NUIG last Saturday in The Green. Creggs took control of the game in the opening quarter thanks to a dominant performance from the forwards where Rory O’Brien, Shane Connaughton, Robert Colleran and Anthony Gorman were outstanding.
The half-backs Mark Dowd and Paddy Downey controlled the game very effectively while others to impress in the backline were Mark Kilcommons, Tyrice Etete, Dara Hughes and Kieran Purcell, who scored a superb hat-trick of tries.
A feature of the game was the tackling of Edimar and Darren Gately. All players in the squad played very well and showed good skills and teamwork.
The U-14 team now play Galwegians RFC in the next round of the Connacht U-14 Plate competition.
Creggs: Darren Gately, Sean O’Rourke, Tyrice Etete, Mark Kilcommons, Frankie Quinn, Paddy Downey, Mark Dowd, Shane Connaughton, Edimar Fimho, Robert Colleran, Breen Costello, James Murray, Anthony Gorman, Luke Butt, Rory O’Brien, Dara Hughes, Kieran Purcell.
Creggs’ Mini Rugby: Last weekend the Creggs U-8, U-9, and U-10 squads took part in their Connacht Blitzes.
This weekend, it is the turn of the U-11 and U-12 squads to finish their seasons at their respective Connacht Blitzes with the U-11s going to Buccaneers RFC while the U-12s will go to Loughrea next Saturday.
Youth Rugby: Creggs U-13s take on Ballinasloe RFC in the quarter-final of the Connacht U-13 Cup next Wednesday in Creggs at 7.30 pm. Please come along and support the boys.
Following their big win over NUIG in the Connacht U-14 Plate, our team will play Galwegians RFC in the quarter-final in two weeks’ time.
Creggs U-15 and U-16 squads will go on tour to Wales next weekend and good luck and safe journey to all the lads. Creggs U-15s were due to play Buccaneers RFC in the quarter-final of the Connacht U-15 Cup next weekend but that has been postponed to accommodate their tour.