Connacht Junior League
Creggs 10 Buccaneers 8
Creggs survived a second-half onslaught to take full points from a gruelling encounter with Buccaneers at the Green on Sunday. Played in wild, wet conditions, Buccs exerted the early pressure and were first on the scoreboard with a penalty goal from scrum-half Gerard Fallon after 5 minutes.
The visitors launched wave after wave of attack but sterling Creggs defence kept their line intact. On a rare foray out of defence Creggs took the lead with a try on the half hour from Kevin Brandon following a good run by hooker Peter Heavey. Outhalf Emmet Collins landed the difficult conversion and 5 minutes later following Creggs only sustained period of pressure in the entire game, added a penalty to leave Creggs 10-3 ahead at the interval.
Buccs threw everything at Creggs in the second half with a number of barnstorming runs from their big no. 7 Padraig De Burca but Creggs fought a valiant rearguard action in which their back row was outstanding. Remarkably both flanker Kevin Brandon and no. 8 Ja Hughes had come direct to the Green from Hyde Park having played for the Creggs footballers in their hard-earned victory over Leitrim Gaels with Hughes picking up the Man of the Match award in the earlier game.
Brandon, Hughes and their colleague Tom Callaghan would all be serious contenders for that accolade in this match as they harried and hustled their bigger opponents, secured numerous turnovers and tackled relentlessly throughout. The Creggs backline also played its part in that regard with Kieran Ryan and Barry Egan impregnable in midfield and out half Collins stopped Buccs no. 8 Adrian Hughes dead in his tracks with a monster hit midway through the second half. Buccs eventually breached the Creggs line with an unconverted try from centre Brian Walsh but no further scores ensued.
This was a much improved performance from Creggs after their lacklustre showing against UCG the previous weekend and coaches Nigel Glennon and Patrick O’Farrell will be boosted by the return of Mattie Corcoran and Noel Flynn from their sojourn in New Zealand and Joe Heavey who impressed on his introduction after a long injury lay-off. Creggs next play Gort under lights at the Green on Saturday evening. Kick-off 7 pm.
Creggs: E Payne, M Conway, C Ryan, B Egan, B Kilcommons, E Collins, N Flynn, M Corcoran, P Heavey, K Keane, A Glennon, P Coffey (capt.), K Brandon, T Callaghan, J Hughes.