Castlebar – 20
Creggs – 3
This was the proverbial game of two halves, in the first Creggs compensated for set piece deficiencies with ferociously aggressive defence which clearly rattled the home side, in the second however Castlebar pulverised an already creaking Creggs scrum and the game closed out with uncontested scrums and Creggs surrender in that department complete. The opening exchanges were tepid enough but the game quickly built up to a furious momentum with Castlebar unable to turn territorial advantage into scores as Creggs tacked like demons and the normally smooth back division coughed up ball in the tackle affording Creggs the opportunity to counter attack. Castlebar lost their full back Mark Conlon to injury early in the game and the Creggs back three all punctured the opposition defence before Noel Flynn landed a penalty attempt for Creggs after 20 minutes, his side having earlier opted to kick to the corner when a shot at goal might have proved more productive. The Creggs lead was quickly cancelled when James Keane replied with a penalty goal resulting from Creggs failure to deal with the kick-off. The game continued to ebb and flow, Castlebar totally in control of the scrums and line-outs but Creggs knocking them down in mid field and looking dangerous on the counter. Unfortunately for Creggs a dropped pass ended one such promising attack and the resulting scrum gave Castlebar the platform from which they ultimately scored the game’s opening try, an unconverted pushover just before the half time whistle. The second half was very different, Creggs scrum and line out both shot to pieces and without any useable possession it was testimony to their defensive efforts that they only conceded two tries, the first essentially a second pushover credited to David Staunton after 20 minutes and the second on the stroke of full time when centre Ronan Conway finished off Castlebar’s only completed back move of the game. Jason Keane landed the conversion with a drop kick on the final whistle. The main concern for Creggs must be the hammering taken in the set pieces, particularly the scrums. Castlebar are not runaway league leaders by accident, they are efficient in all departments but with a particularly impressive scrum. On Saturday the gulf between the sides in the tight neutralised any defensive heroics by the visitors and meant there was always going to be only one winner here. Creggs now take a break over the Christmas, next up a hard first round cup game away to Corrib on January 6th with the prize for the visitors a home draw almost certainly against Castlebar the following week.
Creggs : D Brandon, T Callaghan, B Kilcommons, C Brandon, K Mulligan, S Quinn, N Flynn, K Brandon, P Lohan, K Ryan, S Blake, A Glennon, T Nee, P Corcoran, L Mannion.
Replacements : S O’Higgins, E Garvey, K Morris, P Leetch, D Hoare.
Castlebar : M Conlon, M Staunton, R Conway, L Staunton, N Byrne, J Keane, D Togher, D Staunton, G Sullivan, M Staunton, D Mulgrey, B Flannery, I McDonagh, L Molloy.
Replacements : M Moran, P Fabrey, D Glacken, D Moran, S Rogan.