Since being established back in 1974, Creggs Rugby Club has been one of the most foremost and unique sporting organisations throughout the region. There have been many ‘ups and downs’ throughout their 38-year history but right now the omens look extremely promising for Creggs – not least due to the recent upturn in fortunes of their underage teams.
Currently the rural rugby club is in the middle of contesting a spate of provincial underage quarter and semi-finals which further enhances their reputation as one of the up and coming forces to be reckoned in Connacht and beyond.
The U-13s, U-14s, U-15s and U-16s all qualified for the latter stages of league and cup competitions this season and have mixed it with the some of the most established and most successful clubs in Connacht recently – and more than held their own.
It is a great reflection on those serving the club that the underage structure of Creggs is now rivalling their so-called more illustrious counterparts in the rest of the province. Hopes are now high that one, if not all, of their teams will very soon make a breakthrough which will put them firmly back on the map.
Every club enjoys cycles of success but this latest upturn in fortunes has not happened overnight. It has been, instead, a product of a lot of hard work put in on the ground by many dedicated coaches and officials currently at the club.
It is also no coincidence that with the recent rise in the profile and popularity of rugby throughout the country t Creggs is now flourishing and this is underlined by the amount of players who are currently playing the sport on a weekly basis there.
On Saturday mornings, over 140 8-12 year olds converge at their grounds at The Green where experienced coaches teach the young rugby enthusiasts the basic skills of the game.
All of their competitive underage teams, which begin at U-13 level, have between 25-30 players at their disposal and hail from all parts of the country including Roscommon, Castlerea, Four Roads and Athleague – to name but a few areas.
The facilities which they have now established has also enhanced their reputation and their current clubhouse consists of five full team dressing rooms, a referee room, a shower room and a gym and flexibility area. But the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly their floodlight pitch, which allows all of their teams the opportunity to train throughout the year.
As the popularity of the sport continues to accelerate one would only imagine that with the infrastructure currently in place in Creggs, the rugby club will continue to blossom even further.
These really are positive times at Creggs, who are looking forward to an exciting year ahead where they will be hoping that their teams will make that long-awaited breakthrough. With such momentum behind them, that may happen sooner rather than later.
Club secretary’s tribute to ‘tremendous work’
When speaking to the Roscommon People at their recent press night, Sean Brandon, secretary of Creggs Rugby Club, underlined the huge amount of work which is being carried out at the flourishing rugby club.
“It’s fantastic for our underage teams to have reached the latter stages of their competitions and hopefully more success will follow through the year. It’s a great reflection on the work which has been done in recent times.”
When asked was the strides they had made this year due to a conscious decision made by the club officials to focus on their underage structure, Sean was quick to point out that Creggs always had a good emphasis on their underage set-up.
“We’ve always stressed the importance of our underage structure here and tried our best to get as many younger members into the club as possible.
“There is so much good work been done at the moment through our coaches who give up their time to come and work with our underage teams and their efforts are been rewarded this year with the performances of their teams.
“But going back in the past we had a lot of officials who placed a good emphasis on our underage structure and a lot of groundwork was done over the last number of years from people like Derry O’Dwyer, Liam Callaghan, John Cunningham, Adrian Leddy and Anthony Cunningham, amongst many others.
“The work which the current coaches are doing is a continuation of others’ efforts and there really is tremendous work being done at this rugby club by everyone involved.”
Sean also pointed out that although it was refreshing to witness the emergence of the younger teams the overall goal in the long-term is to produce players who will hopefully turn their senior team, who have struggled in recent times, into a force to be reckoned at national level.
“We’d be hopeful that sustained success at underage level would have a knock-on effect on our senior team, who would have been very badly hit with emigration of late.
“We’ve lost a lot of our younger players between 16-19 years but we’re hoping that the recent development of U-17 and U-19 teams will help bridge the gap, so we can retain as many players as possible.”
Sean concluded by paying further tribute to everyone at the club while also stating that he was looking forward to the rest of the season, and indeed the future of the club, with great optimism.
Creggs Underage management teams
U-13 Management team: Pat O’Gorman, Nigel Coleman, Dave Purcell, Tommy Gately, Gerry Coyle.
U-14 Management team: Liam Callaghan, Ken Loughrey, George Bannon.
U-15 Management team: Ger Dowd, Billy Brandon, Michael Kelly, Eamon Collins, Peter Keegan.
U-16 Management team: Dave Purcell, Vincent Collins, Aengus Oates, Aidan Farrell.
Issue dated: 30th March 2012
© Roscommon People