Creggs 19 Ballinasloe 12
Creggs had to survive a tough challenge before finally defeating Ballinasloe in extra time to qualify for the Árd na Cregg semi final. They will now face Castlebar in the semi final on Sunday next at 3 pm.
The prodigious boot of Ballinasloe outhalf Rossa Keller kept his side in contention, until Ruairi Leddy’s match-winning try in the second period of extra time gave Creggs a hard-earned victory.
Ballinasloe led 3-0 with a Rossa Keller penalty before Joel McPhilbin finished off a blindside move with a try for Creggs. Mark Hession powered over for a final try in the 25th minute to put the home team in command. Ronan Kelly added the conversion but Keller replied with a penalty from 45 metres to leave Creggs 12-6 ahead at half time.
Ballinasloe grew in confidence as the game progressed and two penalties by Keller left the sides level at full time. A late drop goal attempt by Keller just shaved the posts, with Creggs hanging on desperately.
However, somehow Creggs dug deep in extra time and totally dominated before Ruairi Leddy broke through the Ballinasloe defence for a try, which proved decisive in this evenly-matched contest.
Creggs were relieved to hear the final whistle, with Ballinasloe launching attack after attack in search of a score. Creggs will need to improve considerably on this performance in the semi final. Mark Hester was a tower of strength at No. 8, while Kieran Ryan’s workrate was impressive in the back row. Kevin O’Rourke, Peter Heavey and Kenneth Keane also worked hard in a pack led by captain Larry Mannion, who was prominent in open play. Ruairi Leddy’s tackling around the fringes was vital, while Padraic McKeague and Johnny Walsh did well in defence.
Creggs: J. Walsh, Padraic McKeague, Paul Mahony, Joel McPhilbin, Gareth McElhone, Ronan Kelly, Ruairi Leddy; Robbie Kilcommons, Peter Heavey, Larry Mannion, Ken Keane, Kevin O’Rourke; Kevin Raftery, Mark Hester, Kieran Ryan, Enda O’Rourke, Barry Kilcommons, Gerry Keegan, Dave Drury.