Two good wins for Creggs

Junior B League Sligo 0 Creggs 17 Creggs made a successful trip to Strandhill on Sunday, coming away with an excellent victory over Sligo in a game played in ideal conditions on a balmy November afternoon. Sligo looked dangerous in the early exchanges but Creggs opened the scoring after 10 minutes when out-half Ger Heneghan landed a superb penalty goal from close to the touchline, following a powerful drive by his pack. This score gave Creggs confidence and they began to stretch the home defence with some powerful running and slick handling. Gareth McElhone was very unlucky to be stopped just short of the tryline after a 30 metre burst, which took him past several opponents, while Steve Cranston was also held up after a tremendous surge. Eventually, the pressure led to a try by Johnny Cahill when he charged over from close range for a well-worked score, and Ger Heneghan’s conversion gave Creggs a 10-0 lead when he once again demonstrated his place-kicking prowess with another fine kick. Creggs were now in full flight and Paul Mahony showed some neat footwork to get over for a try in the 36 th minute, when he was up in support to link with Heneghan after the Castlerea man made the initial break. The conversion was a formality and so Creggs turned to play into the wind with a comfortable but not unassailable 17 point advantage. Remarkably, there was to be no further scoring as Creggs were forced to defend for long periods as Sligo began to play with fierce determination and no little skill.  However, Creggs’ tackling was superb and, despite Sligo’s best efforts, they just could find no way through for a score. A last ditch tackle by Kieran Ryan saved a certain try, while his back row colleagues Kieran Osbourne and Cranston also defended with great courage. Likewise, the midfield defence was top class. With Heneghan, Fergal Hester and Paul Mahony landing some big hits. Heneghan also made one sensational break from deep inside his own half, only to be denied by a fine tackle with the tryline beckoning.  This was a very encouraging performance by Creggs, following on from last week’s win over boys club. Full back Sean Ryan revelled in the open spaces and came into the line at every opportunity. Wingers McElhone and Cahill both looked sharp, while debutant scrum half David Drury formed an effective link with Ger Heneghan and he is a player with lots of potential. The forwards were unyielding despite facing a much heavier pack. The front row worked very hard as a unit, with captain Pat Coffey leading by example, while Johnny Cahill hit some serious tackles in addition to getting onto a lost of loose ball. Paul McNeill also performed solidly while second-rows Mike Kearney and Bernard Kilcommins, another player making his debut, both made significant contributions to this win. As mentioned earlier, the backrow was superb with Kieran Ryan and Kieran Osbourne punching way above their weight and their enthusiasm into the tackle was unrelenting, with Kiwi No. 8 Cranston showing guile and enterprise at the base of the scrum. The introduction of substitutes Niall Quinn, Shane Connaughton and Larry Mannion helped Creggs to maintain momentum in the final quarter of the match.  Next week, Creggs have a home league game against Tuam, which is likely to be played on Saturday evening (subject to confirmation). Creggs: Sean Ryan, Damien Cahill, Paul Mahony, Fergal Hester, Gareth McElhone, Ger Heneghan, David Drury, Pat Coffey, Johnny Cahill, Paul McNeill, Mike Kearney, Bernard Kilcommins, Kieran Ryan, Kieran Osbourne, Steve Cranston, Niall Quinn, Shane Connaughton, Larry Mannion.  Creggs 19 Ballinrobe 5 On a dry cold November evening, Creggs won their third league game in a row, when they defeated a gallant Ballinrobe team by 19 points to 5, under the lights in the Green on Saturday night.  We weathered the early storm and started to dominate, and were, in fact, unlucky not to take the lead on a number of occasions during an entertaining first half. However, despite the best efforts of both sides, half time came with the game still scoreless. We didn’t have to wait in the second half for the first score as in the 10 th minute, scrum half, Mark Brandon, too a quick penalty passed it off to Emmet Collins, who made an incisive break up to the 22, he uploaded to centre Pat McDonagh and he in turn sent winger Gary Brennan over in the corner for a really fabulous score. We were on fire now and after a concerted forward drive, Gerry Mullarkey, powered his way over for another try, Noel Flynn converted to put us into a 12-0 lead. At that stage we looked pretty comfortable, but Ballinrobe came back strongly at us and after 27 mins got a try of their own in the corner. It was now 12-5 with all to play for. Luckily we were to finish the stronger, and with only a couple of minutes left, Mark Hester made yet another break through the Ballinrobe defence. He found Mark Brandon at his elbow, and the scrum half showed a clean pair of heels to the closing in defenders to touch down beside the posts. Again Noel Flynn added the points to leave us 19-5 ahead with time almost up.  So it’s a great start to the league, 3 games and 3 wins and we look forward to our visit next Sunday to Carrick-on-Shannon. The home side will be hard to overcome but we have built up some momentum and will hopefully continue our good run. On Saturday the pack were very solid in every facet, with outstanding performances from Matty Corcoran, Mark Hester and Gerry Mullarkey. The halfbacks Mark Brandon and Noel Flynn dictated play, while outside Emmet Collins was superb at full back. The centres Pat McDonagh and Conor Brandon are playing together well, while wingers Gary Brennan and Barry Egan are both looking fit and sharp.