Creggs – 13
Connemara – 7
Creggs advanced to the quarter finals of the Connaught Junior Cup with a deserved win against the Connemara All Blacks at The Green on Sunday. Connemara, who, two seasons ago played in the All-Ireland League now ply their trade in Division 1A, the division above Creggs so this represents a major scalp for the village side. Its sets up a mouth-watering tilt at Ballina in the quarter final fixed for Creggs on Sunday, a measure of the challenge facing Creggs is that last week Ballina put 40 points on Connemara in their League encounter. Played in difficult conditions with a tricky wind Creggs started well against the wind but first blood went to the visitors on 13 minutes when Creggs attempted a suicidal move on their own 22, handing Connemara centre David McDonagh an intercepted try which he grounded between the posts, Michael O’Toole adding the easy conversion. O’Toole had a chance to increase the lead on the quarter mark when Connemara were awarded a kickable penalty but the ball was blown over as he struck it and it was Shane Dowd who added the next score, a penalty after 29 minutes following good play from his side who were now dominating the forward exchanges, particularly the scrums although Creggs had marked difficulty getting the ball away. 7-3 at half-time looked good for Creggs but Connemara controlled the game in the third quarter and Creggs had great difficulty breaking out of defence, particularly with Sean Og Higgins sent to the bin after 11 minutes. He was followed by the Ballina no. 8 Barry Gibbons and when Creggs were restored to full capacity they clawed their way up the field, finally rewarded when replacement prop Neville Walker in an awesome display of brute force barged his way over for the decisive score after 27 minutes. Only one point separated the sides at that stage but Connemara never again established a foothold in the Creggs half and the home side added a third try one minute from time, Shane Dowd splitting the Connemara defence with a judicious cross-kick, the only question being which of Ger Heneghan or Ryan Horan would get there first with Heneghan beating his colleague to the touch-down. On a day when the wind could have undone any full-back, Kevin Gavin turned in a man of the match performance for Creggs, with captain Tom Callaghan a rock in defence, of the forwards both starting props Tom Fleming and Aidan Leech impressed, Tom Oates was a major influence at second row with one vital lineout steal and Kevin Bandon put in another serious shift at no. 8. Kick-off at The Green on Sunday is at the earlier time of 1 p. m. on account of the
Creggs : K Gavin, R Horan, G Heneghan, T Callaghan, P Leech, S Dowd, A
Callaghan, T Fleming, S O Higgins, A Leech, T Oates, B Kilcommons, A
Brandon, P Lohan, K Brandon.
Replacements : N Walker, R Cassidy, B Egan, B Donoghue, C Duignan.