Connacht Junior League
Corrib 18 Creggs 18
Creggs’ league campaign ended in a cloud of confusion with the referee initially declaring Corrib the victors based on a phantom conversion which had been clearly flagged wide by both touch judges.
The matter was clarified afterwards and in fairness to the home side their demeanour at the final whistle was relief at having snatched a draw with virtually the last kick of the game.
Played in perfect conditions Corrib were seven points to the good almost from the kick-off but Creggs clawed back the lead with two Noel Flynn penalties and no further scores ensued before half-time.
All the drama was reserved for the second half. Creggs battled well but on a rare foray into their half Corrib spread the Creggs defence and crossed in the right-hand corner. The conversion was way off target but remarkably was credited by the referee, hence the subsequent confusion.
A superb individual try from Bernard Kilcommons converted by Ja Hughes restored the lead to Creggs but almost immediately afterwards the referee reversed a penalty for dissent and Corrib slotted over to regain the lead.
Creggs fought back and following a period of sustained pressure hooker Larry Mannion crossed for a try which left Creggs three points clear with Ja Hughes unable to land the conversion.
Creggs looked set to claim the spoils but the home side landed their final penalty attempt in injury-time to secure the draw which was probably the right outcome for two evenly matched teams. This brings Creggs’ league campaign to an end, neck and neck with Corrib in a mid-table position secured by a series of victories all recorded prior to Christmas.
Since then the team has been decimated by injuries but more significantly by emigration and a number of players who featured earlier in the season are now many thousands of miles away. Forced to play three games inside a week to finish off the league, coaches Patrick O’Farrell and Nigel Glennon had to improvise in order to make the numbers but their hard work paid off with the team maintaining its league status.
On a positive note Sunday saw Conor Brandon made a welcome return following a long injury lay-off and also Ray Cassidy back in action having been sidelined due to work commitments for most of the season.
Creggs: M Corcoran, L Mannion, J Heavey, P Coffey, S Blake, R Cassidy, K Brandon, J Hughes, N Flynn, T Callaghan, N Glennon, D Flahive, B Kilcommons, P Heavey, S Quinn. Replacement: C Brandon.
Connacht U14 Cup Quarter-Final Replay
Ballinasloe RFC 17 Creggs 31
Creggs U14s came away from Ballinasloe on Monday night with a 31-17 victory in their Connacht Cup Quarter-Final replay. Missing both scrum-halves, Creggs had to bring Michael Farrell in from 10 to nine and Conor Shanagher from 15 to 10, both boys carrying out their duties admirably.
Ballinasloe spent the first ten minutes in and around the Creggs 22. This pressure told as Creggs conceded a try on the left, which was not converted. However, Creggs responded well a few minutes later. After winning a turnover in their own half and putting quick ball into the hands of Adam Whyte, he took off on a mazy run touching down on the left-hand side for a top class try which was unconverted.
For the remainder of the half Creggs had territorial advantage and just before half-time as Ballinasloe tried to clear their lines, second row Michael Feely blocked the kick and Edward Clinton reacted first to touch down. Michael Farrell converted to leave it 12-5 for Creggs at the break.
The second half saw the Creggs boys ramping up the pressure with continued territorial dominance, with strong mauling and good rucking. A try from captain and number 8, Brian Diffley as well as one from tighthead prop Ronan Cahill and a Michael Farrell conversion, left Creggs leading 24-5 with ten minutes remaining.
However, the old failing of believing that the job was done saw complacency come in and intensity going out. All of a sudden Ballinasloe got two quick tries and one conversion leaving a single score between the teams with four minutes to go.
To their credit the Creggs boys got into the Ballinasloe half and with patient rucking and mauling brought play to the right corner where a combination of lovely hands by Edward Clinton and an intelligent line by Cahill resulted in Ronan getting his second try. Farrell’s good conversion resulted in a 31-17 scoreline, which means a cup semi-final away to Ballina next weekend.
Creggs team and reserves: Breen Fallon, Daniel Butt, Adam Whyte, Mark Dolan, Conor McNeill, Conor Shanagher, Michael Farrell, Max Bannon, Rory Cunniffe, Ronan Cahill, Michael Feely, Edward Clinton, Brian Diffley, Sean Doorly, Thomas O’Byrne, Sean Raftery, Dylan Morrin, Theo McGuinness, Jack Harkins, Richard Thomson.
Supermacs Connacht U13 Cup
NUIG RFC 0 Creggs 51
Creggs U13s produced a nine-try display to advance to the quarter-final of the Supermacs Connacht Cup at NUIG in Galway on Saturday. Creggs took control of this game from early on and were getting the better of the set-pieces and of the forward exchanges from the early stages. After only three minutes Creggs put pressure on the NUIG line and when Ronan Dowd tacked his opposing number, the ball was disloged for Shane Purcell to pick up and dive in from close range.
Creggs continued to attack and after a series of five-metre scrums, NUIG tried to clear their lines and a block-down by Shane Purcell allowed Michael Conroy to dive on the ball for Creggs’ second try which was converted by Shane Purcell.
Creggs continued to move the ball wide and were rewarded after some fine work up front by Brian Maloney, James Brandon, Oisin McConn and Aaron Glennon produced great ball for Micheal Hanly who dived over in the corner for their third try, which was quickly followed by a fourth try by Eoghan Coyle in the same corner.
Creggs scored five more tries in the second half, one from Eoghan Coyle, before a hat-trick of tries by Niall Cunniffe and rounded off by a good individual score by Niall Hynes, who chased his own kick to touch down in the corner. Two of the tries were converted by Shane Purcell. Creggs now move onto a quarter-final next weekend against Sligo RFC.
Creggs team and replacements: Michael Conroy, Aaron Glennon, Thomas Hester, David O’Gorman, Brian Maloney, Oisin McConn, Eoghan Coyle, James Brandon, Micheal Hany, Ronan Dowd, Padraig Gaffey, Shane Purcell, Niall Cunniffe, Ben McGahan, Cian Gately, Hughie Daly, Michael Brandon, Brandon Hanmore, Niall Hynes, Jason Hoare, Thomas Hanly, Danny Arnold.