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Seanie Mac calls time on Roscommon career

 

 

Roscommon footballer Seanie McDermott officially announced his retirement from inter-county football last Sunday following a Roscommon career which spanned 17 years from minor level through to senior, and saw him winning two senior Connacht titles in the process.

  He made his inter-county debut against Leitrim in 2005 and his championship debut against London in the Connacht Championship the following month. Seanie captained Roscommon in 2008, and won his first Connacht title in 2010 and his second in 2017. In 2014 he was a member of the Connacht team that won the Railway Cup for the first time in 45 years and was also a member of the Irish Compromised Rules team in 2010. In addition, he has two Sigerson Cup winners’ medals from 2004 and 2005 when he played with Sligo IT.

  Seanie released a statement last Sunday bringing the curtain down on a stellar career which included 178 senior appearances in the Primrose and Blue and saw him face every county with the exception of Derry and Waterford: “Today I officially announce my retirement from inter-county football.

  “It has been a great honour to play for Roscommon over the past 17 years, from minor level through to senior, and I have been privileged to have met, and played with, some great people along the way.

  “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all players and management teams, past and present, whom I have been involved with and wish them all good health and success in the future.

  “I would also like to sincerely thank my club Western Gaels for all their help and support throughout my time with Roscommon, and I look forward to playing with them for many years to come.

  “To the Roscommon supporters; a massive thank you for all the support over the years, through good times and bad.

  “Finally, to my family. I will be forever grateful for everything you have done for me. Your support, loyalty and understanding allowed me to play for Roscommon at the highest level, and for this, I thank you sincerely.

  “I am looking forward to my next chapter in life, as I build on the success of the business I have recently started in Ballaghaderreen, and which allows me to channel my passion and skills as a barber.

  “It was a huge honour to play for Roscommon for so long and I have nothing but great memories.

  “I am now looking forward to becoming a great supporter in the years ahead”.

  Seamus Sweeney, Chairman of the Roscommon GAA said: “Seán’s retirement today brings an end to the phenomenal inter-county playing career of one of our best servants, the longevity of his career is a testimony to his preparedness and attention to detail.

  “An exceptional leader on and off the field he helped many new players become settled members of the Roscommon senior panel. Sean only ever wanted to play for Roscommon and made 178 appearances in the Primrose and Blue, a magnificent achievement”.

  Gary Jordan of Western Gaels GAA Club stated: “Seanie is the benchmark for all players, his career was so long with unbroken service. (He was) never injured and always available for his club. It’s hard to think that there will be many more like him”. 

 

The sporting brief - January 11th

 

 

Handball

Curraghboy Doubles

Curraghboy’s Seamus McHugh masterminded another very successful and hugely entertaining New Year Doubles tournament in his home court last Sunday.

  Twelve teams from seven different counties competed and when the dust settled the Connemara partnership of Diarmuid Mulkerrins and Cian O’Conghaile won an incredible final where they recovered from a 23-30 defecit to win 31-30 against their neighbours Seamus Conneelly and Conor Noone.

  The Plate competition for first round losers was won by the young Claremorris pair of Niall Joyce and Patrick Murphy who proved a little too fit for Crinkle veterans Conor O’Brien and Kevin Cooke, winning 25-20.

  Elsewhere, the Carthy brothers, Rory and Eoghan, made the long journey to Liscarroll, Co. Cork over the Christmas period to take part in the annual 40x20 juvenile tournament there at U-13 grade.

  Rory was impressive throughout and reached the semi-final where he lost a very good match to eventual winner, Cork’s experienced Hayden Supple 9-15, 9-15.

  Eoghan, who will be underage again next year, was beaten in the first round by Wexford’s Nathan Sheehan-Conna in a tough encounter.

Darts

Christmas number 1!

Thomas Concannon won his first Christmas Singles title last Sunday after beating Mick Egan 7-6 in a thrilling final.

  Thomas emerged from a field of 24, beating John McDermott, James Sharkey, David Concannon and Paul Carton on his way to the final.

  Egan saw off Ken Turkington, Wayne Harries, Tony Connolly and Martin Fleming on the other side of the draw.

  There was nothing between them in an excellent final and Concannon was forced to recover from a 5-3 deficit at one point to take a narrow win in dramatic circumstances.

   With Mick sitting on 52, Thomas looked like he needed to take out 102 and nearly done so, narrowly missing double 16. But his chance wasn’t gone, two more missed match darts from Mick left Thomas with three darts at double 16, but he only needed one to clinch victory and his first Christmas Singles title.

Golf

Christmas Scramble

We begin the first round-up of the year in Boyle where the club’s Christmas Scramble was won by Terry Canning, John Joe Carty and Jim Callery.

  Patrick Egan’s 40 points was enough to win the final competition of 2018, an 18-hole Stableford while Tommy King won the 18-hole Stableford on January 6th with 41 points.

  To Athlone next where Frank McGowan Jnr’s team tops the gent’s Winter League with 572 points with Gerry Brennan’s team (562) in second place and Tom Boland’s (557) in third.

  Recent winners in Athlone included Ray King (AWGS), Eoin Sheehy and Maeve Holmes (Gent’s and Ladies’ Christmas/New Year Opens), and Mark Conneely (Wednesday Open).

  We finish in Carrick where Michael Foley won the Christmas competition with 26 points, just seeing off Kevin McDermott in second with 24.

 

Dooner's weekend predictions - January 11th

 

 

The Premier Division’s top two could not be separated in Boyle where St. Peter’s and Boyle Celtic played out a 1-1 draw. It’s hard to tell who will be the happier of the two after that encounter because as we’ve seen already this season, the top five are capable of taking points off each other home and away. A fascinating title race in prospect as just four points separates Peter’s and Boyle at the top and Ballinasloe Town who are in fifth, albeit with games in hand.

Friday, January 11th

Killeen Sports Grounds Division 2

Glen Celtic v Shiven Rovers B. 8 pm

Glen narrowly beat Shiven away from home earlier in the season and will be confident of completing the double this weekend.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Saturday, January 12th

Joe’s Bar RDFL Challenge Cup Round 1

Castlerea Celtic B v St. John’s Athletic. 7.45 pm

St. John’s the favourites here.

Prediction: St. John’s Athletic

Raftery’s Oakland Hotel Premier Division (7.45 pm)

Ballinasloe Town v Skyvalley Rovers

Ballinasloe will be looking to gain some momentum with a win here.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

Shiven Rovers v Castlerea Celtic

The visitors will be favourites.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

Sunday, January 13th

Joe’s Bar RDFL Challenge Cup Round 1

Ballaghaderreen FC v Manor United. 11 am

Manor will take heart from Ballaghaderreen’s pre-Christmas form but the hosts should come through.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC

Roscommon United v Cam Celtic. 11 am

The hosts will provide tricky opposition but Cam are favourites.

Prediction: Cam Celtic

Ballymoe FC B v Skyvalley Rovers B. 2 pm

Away win.

Prediction: Skyvalley Rovers

Rahara Rovers v Dunmore Town. 2 pm

Rahara to advance.

Prediction: Rahara Rovers

St. Cuan’s United v CP Ajax. 2 pm

The visitors should prevail.

Prediction: CP Ajax

Raftery’s Oakland Hotel Premier Division (2 pm)

St. Peter’s FC v Kilkerrin United

Peter’s were impressive away to Boyle last weekend and should return to winning ways this weekend.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

Cloonfad United v Moore United

Hard to separate these two.

Prediction: Draw

Norio’s Takeaway Division 1

Ahascragh United v Ballinasloe Town B. 11 am

Home win.

Prediction: Ahascragh United

 

Clann youngsters wrap up more silverware

 

 

 

Dermot Hughes Cars Roscommon U-20 Division 1 Championship Fina

Clann na nGael 0-15

St. Brigid’s 1-10

 

Clann na nGael had to withstand a second half St. Brigid’s revival before edging home in this very enjoyable U-20 Division One final played on Friday evening last.

  With Ciarán Lennon, Sea Henry and Dylan Sumner dominating, the home side cruised into a 0-10 to 0-2 lead at half-time but Brigid’s brought on Donnacha Gately, Brian Derwin and Robbie Dolan as subs, and in the second half their fortunes were transformed as they chipped away at the Clann lead coming up just short in the end.

  It was 0-5 to no score after only ten minutes with Henry (2), Callum O’Brien, Paul McManus and Lennon on target. Eddie Nolan’s pointed free in the 12th minute was brief respite as Clann powered forward. Ciarán Lennon’s free taking was sublime, and by half-time Clann were eight points to the good with Brigid’s’ only other point a free pointed by Shane Cunnane.

  The opening ten minutes of the second half saw the exchanges evenly matched but there was far more urgency to Brigid’s play.  By the 37th minute Clann led by 0-13 to 0-3, but after that Brigid’s assumed control. Ciaran Sugrue, Shane Cunnane (free) and Brian Derwin pointed without reply. Henry lifted the siege with a fine point for Clann, but the goal that Brigid’s needed came in the 49th minute.

  Hesitancy in the Clann defence was punished by the quick-thinking Brigid’s attack before Tom O’Carroll finished well. Indeed Brigid’s kicked a couple of wides from scoreable positions just after the goal and those misses were to prove costly.

  Ciarán Lennon then pointed a whopper of a free from 45 metres in the 52nd minute but Brigid’s were not finished, and with three minutes to go Donnacha Gately fired over another super point.

  Shane Cunnane was on target with a free in the 59th minute to reduce the margin to four with four minutes of injury-time left. In the 62nd minute Cunnane pointed another free and a minute later the gap was down to two when Cunnane was again on target. But Shane Curran’s men simply ran out of time and Clann had survived.

  For a Clann side (managed by Johnny Dunning) who were impressive for three quarters of this final Sean Fallon, Oisin Lennon, Dylan Sumner, Paul McManus, Ciarán Lennon and Sea Henry were outstanding with Henry pipping Lennon for the ‘man of the match’ award after a super individual display.

  Brigid’s will be disappointed that they didn’t get their revival underway earlier in the game but this is a young side that will be back no doubt. Pearse Frost, Eddie Nolan, Ciaran Sugrue and subs Donnacha Gately and Brian Derwin were their best performers.

 

Clann na nGael: David Finneran; Damien Duff, Sean Fallon, Michael McManus; Niall Connaughton, Oisin Lennon, Darragh Kildea; Dylan Sumner (0-1), David McManus; Paul McManus (0-1), Sea Henry (0-3), Fearghus Lennon (0-1); Ian Naughton, Ciarán Lennon (0-7, 6 frees), Callum O’Brien (0-2).

Subs: Darren Duff for McManus (35), Liam Donnolly for Naughton (53), Oisin Rock for Connaughton (57), Robbie Hardiman for Kildea (62).

 

St. Brigid’s: Seamus Smith; Kealan Connor, Shane Furey, Pearse Frost; John Leonard, Darren Carroll, Ian O’Rourke; Eddie Nolan (0-1, free), Billy McDonnell; Gavin Byrne, Shane Cunnane (0-5, all frees), Colin Daly; Ciaran Sugrue (0-1), Tom O’Carroll (1-0), Kealan Byrne.

Subs: Donnacha Gately (0-2), for Daly (26), Robbie Dolan for Leonard (h/t), Brian Derwin (0-1) for K Byrne (h/t), Eoghan Derwin for G Byrne (45), Ruari Smith for O’Carroll (55).

 

Referee: Padraig Tiernan

Seamus Duke on sport - January 4th

 

 

 

 

Duke's New Year predictions

 

A new year and a new dawn which means it’s prediction time again! Each year I can only hope that people forget the predictions I make about sport but every year I am reminded just how wrong I have been! It is a bit of fun though and I have to say that I am really looking forward to the new year in so many sports. So here goes…

Gaelic football

Unless there is a dramatic collapse, Dublin should become the first team to win five in a row All-Ireland senior football titles. I can’t see anyone there to beat them. Kerry will be back in time, but Tyrone, Donegal, Mayo or Galway don’t look well enough equipped to dethrone them. I hope it’s a better championship than the one we saw in 2018. If there is no improvement in the quality of the football then the inter-county game will be in serious trouble.

  Here in Roscommon it would be a huge achievement if our senior footballers survive in Division One, and with a really tough draw in Connacht it could be a tough year ahead for Anthony Cunningham and his players. Hopefully there will be a few good wins along the way. Expectations will be low and the fans will have to have patience.

  On the club scene, Clann na nGael will be the team to beat once again, but if they have all their players available, it might be Roscommon Gaels’ year. They have been the bridesmaids on several occasions in recent years and after 15 years without a title it could be their turn in 2019.

  In ladies’ football there is no reason why Roscommon cannot repeat their 2018 success in Connacht. It is very positive that Michael Finneran is still there as manager. An All-Ireland final appearance is very possible for this talented bunch of players. On the national scene, Dublin look set for three in a row of senior titles.

Hurling and Camogie

The biggest problem that hurling has is that the championship of 2019 could never be as good as 2018 – or could it? There are at least six teams that can win the MacCarthy Cup in 2019. I have a fancy for Cork this time. They were really unlucky in 2018 and they have a marvellous squad of players. Limerick will have something to say about that and with Liam Sheedy back at the helm, Tipp will surely be a factor and you can never write off Galway. But it’s Cork for me in 2019.

  It’s a positive step that Ciaran Comerford is back again as Roscommon senior manager. Hopefully they can make progress in league and championship.

  On the club scene, Four Roads will always be there but Athleague for back-to-back titles in 2019. If their players retain their enthusiasm they can do it under Seamus Qualter.

  On the camogie scene the performance of Four Roads in the recent junior club All-Ireland final will give the game in the county great hope. Hopefully there will be a major title coming back to the county this year.

Soccer

On the international scene, the Mick McCarthy reign part two will begin and there is sure to be a bounce in results as a consequence but I’m not so sure if it will be the solution to our problems. The facts are that the quality of player is simply not there any more. Qualification for the Euros in 2020 would be a great achievement. Our chances are 50/50.

  It looks like Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a Premier League title will come to an end in May. I know I predicted earlier in the season that City would win it easily.

  Regardless of the result of the game tonight between City and The ‘Pool, there is a swagger and purpose to Liverpool’s play this year that we haven’t seen before. If Van Dijk and Salah stay fit it’s their title this time around. United fans will have to emigrate in May as it looks like Leeds United will be back in the Premier League too!

  Here at home it will be interesting to see how Dundalk react to the loss of Stephen Kenny as manager. I met Johnny Caulfield at the weekend and he told me he is working hard recruiting players in the close season for Cork City. It looks like the title will be between those two again.

Rugby

It’s a terrible pity that the World Cup was not in September and October of 2018 because Ireland looked at their peak at that stage. The big question is can they keep their flying form up in 2019? A lot can happen in the space of 12 months. Key players can get injured or lose their form. All we can do is hope.

  We have Joe Schmidt as manager and that’s a plus in anyone’s book. It’s vital we play well in the Six Nations, and when we get to Japan it is very important that we win the group we are in. If we do then we can get to a semi-final and anything is possible after that.

  Leinster are looking good again in Europe, however their lack of discipline last weekend against Munster will be a worry for Leo Cullen going forward. Connacht have a great chance in the Challenge Cup and Pro14. There could be silverware coming the The Sportsground this year.

  Speaking of silverware, Creggs are looking good too and they have a superb team at the moment. They are going well in the league and a title would crown a great season.

Golf

Despite the thrilling win for Tiger Woods in the Tour Championship at East Lake, 2018 was the year of Brooks Koepka who won two majors and was in contention in another. The big question is whether Tiger can win another major this year. On the evidence of his improving form in 2018 the answer has to be yes. He was in contention in three majors in 2018 and another small improvement will see him get over the line this year.

  It’s a huge year for Rory McIlroy. He has undoubted talent but he needs to win a major soon or he will slip down the rankings. Hopefully Shane Lowry can be more consistent in 2019. He has the game to be at the very top.

Boxing

Hopefully 2019 will be the year of Katie Taylor and Michael Conlon. Katie Taylor produced her best performance as a professional in her latest title defence before Christmas and hopefully she can win more titles in 2019. Michael Conlon is also making the progress that many predicted he would make in the paid ranks. Hopefully he will get a shot at a world title in 2019.

Other sports

In horse racing Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott look like they will dominate Cheltenham once again although it would be nice to see an Irish winner of one of the big races which did not happen in 2018. Aidan O’Brien is sure to be back on top on the flat again too.

  Here in the county, we are looking forward to another great year at Roscommon races and the opening of the new facilities which are under construction at Lenebane at the moment.

  The World Swimming Championships would never have been of much interest here over the years but now there are several top class swimmers in Ireland and the possibility of medals at the championships are now high.

  In hockey, hopefully the Irish women’s team can build on their remarkable success in 2018. In cricket (yes cricket!), Ireland are now a full member at the very top level of the game and this summer they play England in a full test match for the very first time.

  Finally in Athletics, the World Championships will be in September in Doha and potential medallists like Thomas Barr will be hoping to do well in those championships.

 

The Lead Story: Looking back on the year that was 2019

 

 

 

 

It’s December 2019 and I’m sitting in the baking sunshine just outside my new home in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where news of Liverpool’s recent double of Premier League and Champions League still hasn’t reached the general population. Time to take a look back on the other sporting events of 2019 with tongue firmly planted in cheek…

 

In Gaelic football, Dublin completed their ‘drive for five’ with a narrow win over a David Clifford-inspired Kerry at Croke Park. Jim Gavin circumvented the ‘three hand pass’ rule by encouraging his half-forwards to keep the ball on the ground following long kick-outs to Brian Fenton, who won 100% of his aerial duels this summer.

  Elsewhere, Roscommon raised a number of eyebrows by maintaining their Division One status and once again reaching the Super 8s. A number of young starlets also came to prominence and 2020 looks extremely promising for Anthony Cunningham’s youthful team.

  In hurling, a super-fit Wexford side shocked everyone following a winter of ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family’ style training sessions. They repelled down from the top of the Hogan Stand to collect the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

  In boxing, Katie Taylor ran out of willing opponents halfway through the year so made the switch to UFC where she is currently undefeated.

  In soccer, Liverpool won a league and champions league double before Jurgen Klopp left for Manchester United, whom he described as “a much bigger club”. He was subsequently sacked two weeks into his contract after it emerged his role as Opel brand ambassador conflicted with United’s deals with Chevrolet and a Korean tractor firm. Klopp had finalised the signing of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk before leaving his post.

  Finally to rugby where Ireland claimed yet another Grand Slam which included a 60-point mauling of England. Joe Schmidt’s side later went on to claim the World Cup in Japan following a last-gasp drop goal from Joey Carbury in the final.

Dooner's weekend predictions - January 4th

 

 

This Saturday’s Challenge Cup game between Castlerea Celtic B and St. John’s Athletic has been called off as a mark of respect to St. John’s player Trevor Brennan, who tragically passed away last Sunday. A loyal member and supporter of both St. John’s Athletic and St. Dominic’s GAA, Trevor will be sorely missed by teammates, officials and his many friends. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at People Sport are with Trevor’s family and friends at this very difficult time. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, January 5th

Glen Celtic v Ahascragh United. 7.45 pm

Difficult one to call. Ahascragh narrowly?

Prediction: Ahascragh United

Raftery’s Oakland Hotel Premier Division (7.45 pm)

Boyle Celtic v St. Peter’s FC

Move over Liverpool and Man City! The top two in Roscommon meet this Saturday in what could be a crucial showdown in terms of the title race.

Prediction: Draw

Strokestown United v Castlerea Celtic

Celtic face a difficult trip to Strokestown this Saturday as they attempt to keep pace at the top. The hosts will be hoping to continue the form they showed before Christmas.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

Sunday, January 6th

Joe’s Bar RDFL Challenge Cup Round 1

Cloonfad United B v Moylough ’79. 2 pm

Difficult to look past the visitors.

Prediction: Moylough ‘79

Raftery’s Oakland Hotel Premier Division

Ballymoe FC v Kilkerrin United. 11 am

Ballymoe are well placed at the start of the year.

Prediction: Ballymoe FC

Dysart FC v Ballinasloe Town. 11 am

Both sides will be desperate for the three points.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

Skyvalley Rovers v Shiven Rovers. 2 pm

Shiven should edge this.

Prediction: Shiven Rovers

Creggs entertain Castlebar this Saturday!

 

 

 

Senior Rugby

After a very successful first half of the season, Creggs’ first team resume Connacht League action against Castlebar in Creggs this Saturday night at 7.30 pm.

 Having defeated Castlebar in their inaugural Cawley Cup Final win before the Christmas break, the Mayomen will be out for revenge, under the lights on the new all-weather pitch. 

  The Creggs development team are away to Corinthians in the Connacht J1C League at 2.30 pm this Sunday.

 

Youth Rugby

Connacht U-16A League: Creggs 50 Sligo 5. Creggs U-16s took on Monivea on December 20th in a historic match which saw the first ever game played on an approved artificial surface in Connacht.

  Creggs’ performance lived up to the excitement as they put Monivea on the back foot from the off. Creggs’ Shane Connaughton was first to touch down on the new surface as he converted the momentum that his side had built up in the opening period.

  More tries followed from the likes of Mark Kilcommons, Edimar Filho, Dara Hughes, Tyrese Etete and more. Darren Gately added the extra points from the tee as Creggs continued to a well-earned victory. A great performance from the home team that fittingly honoured the development of the new 4G pitch.

  The U-16s travel to play Corinthians on Saturday in Galway, where a win would put them in the running for the fourth Connacht 1A League semi-final slot. Tuam and Sligo the other teams in contention.

  Connacht U-15A League: Creggs 34 Sligo 31. Creggs qualified for the Connacht U-15A League semi-finals with a hard-fought victory over Sligo on the new 4G pitch just before Christmas.

 This recently opened surface certainly allowed for a fast game with both teams running in five tries each on the day.

  Creggs began the game very well with a try from Noah Fallon converted by DJ Hession but it was Sligo who were in the ascendancy for a large period in the first half and after two tries of their own they led 14-7 before Oisin O’Beirne scored a penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-10 after 18 minutes of the opening half. Sligo scored another try before  Creggs responded through another Noah Fallon try, converted by DJ Hession to leave the half-time score, Sligo 19 Creggs 17.

  Creggs were the better team in the second half with Lee Kilcoyne, Michael McAteer and Ciaran Purcell pominent up front and Cormac Dolan controlling things well at 9. The home team scored tries from Josh Verling, Edimar Fimho and Noah Fallon after good work from Jack Fleming and Senan Lambe and were leading 34-26 into the final play when Sligo got in for a try to reduce the deficit to 34-31 in Creggs’ favour.

  Creggs will play Oughterard in the U-14A Connacht League next Saturday in Creggs at 12 pm.

 

Mini Rugby

Creggs Minis will return after the Christmas break with all ages playing in a blitz in Creggs next Saturday morning from 10.30 am to 11.45 am.

 

Creggs: Back to the future!


 

 

 

 

The GAA may have a particularly high profile, but many other sports are blossoming in this region, including rugby, with Creggs Rugby Club enjoying a sparkling renaissance on and off the pitch. The good times are back in Creggs, where current success is being matched with superb, strategic medium and long term planning. As the senior team celebrates last weekend’s Cawley Cup success, and on the occasion of the commencement of training at their new facilities, we asked Creggs Rugby Club President PADRAIC DEANE for an end-of-season report on an ever-evolving success story…

 

 

 

Creggs Rugby Club enjoyed a glorious first couple of decades after it was formed in 1974, but this great opening era was followed by a 20-year period (give or take) of relative stagnation. However, in recent years, Creggs has been undergoing a renaissance and matters are now looking very upbeat in the village both on and off the field. Padraic Deane is the current Club President, the man who has been in the hot seat during the amazing period of transformation. The Roscommon People caught up with Padraic earlier this week to get an update on all that’s happening in Creggs Rugby…

  There have been major developments with regard to the club’s facilities, as well as a focus on growing player participation levels from U-7s up to the recently formed Over-35s touring side. Creggs teams are back winning cups, heralding a return to the good days, with much more to come, hopefully!

  “We have been working on a sustainable model for the last three years. We started putting development structures in place under my predecessor Kieran Dowd’s presidency. This encompasses the full player development route from Mini rugby – starting with seeing U-7s having fun while they learn basic skills – through to producing very competitive senior squads,” said Mr. Deane.

  It’s 44 years since a few lads from the village and environs had the good foresight to get together to form the club. Amazingly, within four years, Creggs had won the Connacht Junior Cup, the blue riband of rugby in the province. And there were so many great days in that era…with a great first team, a very good second team, and a great women’s team. It was a wonderful vibrant period in the club’s history, with an annual expectation of winning leagues and cups. But it wasn’t just about competing and winning – the members and players were fully committed and enjoyed every aspect of the experience. The craic was great in Creggs! 

  Fast-forward to nowadays and thankfully the club has recovered from a long barren period and is a force again, with very competitive teams at all levels. The craic is back too, with adult teams and all the boys and girls on the youth teams really enjoying their rugby.

  Padraic Deane: “I’d like to acknowledge, and give a massive overdue thanks to, the club leaders and players who got us through those tough and lean times”.

  He continued: “Dave Purcell has been and remains the key figure in organising the development of the Mini, Youth and Schools structures that today are resulting in benefits at all levels. Dave has been supported by many other great coaches and parents. In addition, the arrival last season of Micheal Glennon as new Connacht and Creggs Rugby Club Regional Development Officer (CRDO) was very significant. We appreciate the support of Connacht Rugby and Roscommon County Council with this appointment.

  “Following promotion last year, our First Team and Development squads are both going well. The Firsts won the Cawley Cup last Sunday and are second in the top division of the Connacht League. Under Head Coach Pat Cunningham, fellow coaches Ger Dowd and Liam Callaghan, Kevin O’Rourke (manager), Berney Higgins (assistant manager), and Club Captain Kevin Brandon, this squad has progressed very well, with more to come from this team.

  “Following promotion last year too, our Development squad coaches Mattie Corcoran and Paul Turley, plus Sean Brandon (manager), have built up a large squad. The team are mid-table and with more training in the second half of the season, they should be in contention at the business end of the season.

  “Our U-18s follow the teams of the last two years in being top of the league. The U-17s qualified for their Connacht League Semi-Final last Sunday. The U-16s and U-15s are also in contention in their respective leagues. And our U-14s and U-13s continue to develop. We have record numbers of Mini rugby players at U-7s through to U-12s, and they are all looking forward to a special club blitz on Sunday, December 30th on the new artificial all-weather pitch. Well done to Shane Fleming and Graham Curran, plus all the parents and coaches who do great work helping develop skills with all the Mini players.

  “Last but not least is the very welcome return of Girls rugby. The U-14s have been a revelation since they started last August. Their endeavours have been well rewarded – the girls have been chosen to play at half-time in an Ireland Women’s Six Nations game in March. There will also be an U-16 Girls team playing in the Cup in the New Year”.

  The Club President said that Creggs Rugby will develop new Girls’ dressing rooms in advance of the start of next season.

  Also on facilities, he added: “After many years trying to negotiate the purchase of adjoining land, we finally did so three years ago under the stewardship of Kieran Dowd, who as Immediate Past President remains central to all that is happening in the club.

  “The additional land has allowed us to develop two new sand-based grass pitches and also the first full-sized International Rugby Board approved artificial pitch in Connacht. Just opened for training and Youth team games last Friday, this will remove the necessity to cancel games in very wet weather in our Irish winters. We had a very strong and hard-working pitch committee looking after the development of the three pitches, with a club founding member, Kieran Brandon, acting as site foreman for the duration of the work.

  “Many club members and friends of the club gave a lot of their time and materials doing great work, firstly with the clubhouse upgrading, where central heating was added and latterly with the pitch development works. Without this generous donation of their time by so many, we couldn’t have stayed within budget for such a large project”.

  Padraic concluded by wishing all Roscommon People readers a very Happy Christmas on behalf of everyone at Creggs Rugby Club.

Creggs claim a historic first ever Cawley Cup victory!

 

 

Cawley Cup Final

Creggs 19

Castlebar 0

Creggs played in the inaugural Cawley Cup Final in 2003, losing to Monivea on the day. Fifteen years later however, in Crowley Park, Galway, they finally got their hands on the one major trophy which had eluded the club. 

  Having performed particularly well in the run-up to this game Creggs began nervously but nonetheless opened the scoring in the eighth minute when centre Elliot Jennings crossed in the corner after Brian Diffley and Eoghan Farrell had powered up the middle and Jennings had the pace and power to finish in the corner with Mark Brandon nailing the difficult conversion.

  Conditions were difficult and Castlebar opted for their favoured pick and go strategy but whilst Creggs had to absorb a significant amount of pressure the defence held. The situation worsened for Castlebar after 25 minutes when their second row Ruairi Hughes saw yellow and just before he was due to resume, Creggs struck again. 

  Diffley made the initial break, this time supported by Kevin Brandon, and when the ball was spun out wide, full-back Ronan Dowd ran a perfect line to elude the defence, this time Mark Brandon’s conversion attempt rebounded off the post. The teams turned around with Creggs 12-0 ahead and firmly in control.

  Five minutes into the second half Shane Dowd added a third try with a magnificent solo effort which effectively killed the game as a contest. From a position on the half-way Dowd jinked his way through the opposition, wrong footing the defence, leaving them in his wake with a blistering turn of pace to touch down between the posts, Mark Brandon adding the conversion.

  Castlebar battled right to the end but they could not crack the Creggs defence which, as it has all season, maintained its discipline and afforded their opponents not a single shot at goal.

  In the final half hour both sides had some half chances but there were no further scores and Creggs had bridged a 22-year gap since their last top level success.

  This is a singular achievement for head coach Pat Cunningham (who also played in the 2003 final) and his management team, Creggs have now won promotion and claimed both the Curley and Cawley Cups in this calendar year. The team now takes a well-earned break but their quest for the league title resumes on Saturday, January 5th in Creggs, again against Castlebar.

Creggs: Ronan Dowd, Luke Meehan, Elliot Jennings, Tom Callaghan, Chris Duignan, Shane Dowd, Mark Brandon, Aidan Leech, Maurice Buckley, Eoghan Farrell, Brian Donoghue, Tom Oates, James Brandon, Brian Diffley, Kevin Brandon (captain), Sean Óg Higgins, Ronan Cahill, Edward Clinton, Michael Fleming, and Michael Feeley.

Castlebar: L Molloy, S Tonra, F Murphy, D Mulgrew, R Hughes, R Hughes, M Staunton, D Staunton, D Togher, L Staunton (captain), A Feeney, J Rowland, C Carter, F Walsh, F Casey, J Staunton, G Sullivan, P Conneally, D King, E Murphy.

Referee: D Maguire (Connacht Branch).

 

 

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