Creggs – 10
Ballyhaunis – 9
For the second week running Creggs ground out victory by the narrowest of margins, this win over second place Ballyhaunis bolstering their position in the league following the fall-out from Monivea’s late withdrawal from the competition. Bottom of the table Monivea withdrew from the league with all their results declared null and void and Creggs who had garnered 9 points from their two encounters with Monivea slipped two places as a result. This win restores Creggs to mid-table although they need to get something from the last two away games to steer clear of the relegation zone. On Saturday night at a wet and windy Green Creggs dug deep in the second half to defend a perilous half time 10-3 lead courtesy of two first half tries from number 8 Mike Blighe and right winger Stephen Crehan. On a horrible night for kickers Mark Brandon was marginally off with two difficult conversions but just before half time Ballyhaunis opened their account with an easy penalty from out-half Gary Patterson.
Facing the elements in the second half the odds were very much against Creggs successfully defending their lead but they did just that with a ferocious rearguard action confining Ballyhaunis to two further Patterson penalties and on the break out from defence Creggs came tantalisingly close to stretching their lead with the Ballyhaunis line threatened on a number of occasions in a gripping second half. Most of the action however was at the other end and in a monumental defensive effort Creggs had heroes all over the park. The scrum pulverised the much heavier Ballyhaunis pack, Owen Kelly’s accurate throwing ensured a consistent return from the line-0ut, the flankers Peter Lohan and Kevin Brandon contested everything with their trademark intensity and between them Blighe was quite simply a force of nature. Further out the field David Brandon brought off a number of crucial tackles and both Stephen Kilcommons and Sean Quinn turned defence into attack with decisive interventions in the second half. It was however a collective effort that saw Creggs hold on and a losing bonus point from their two remaining games, away to Loughrea this week and Corrib the following week will be sufficient to secure their position in the league.
Creggs : C Cawley, O Kelly, M Tansey, T Nee, T Fleming, K Brandon, P Lohan, M Blighe, M Brandon, D Brandon, D Miskell, S Quinn, C Canny, S Crehan, S Kilcommons.
Reserves : M Corcoran, P Leetch, E Nally.