Connacht Junior Cup
Creggs Rugby 32, Sligo RFC 12.
Creggs maintained their recent run of results with an excellent victory over a strong Sligo team in the first round of the Connacht Junior Cup at The Green on Saturday evening.
Having launched the new 3G pitch with champagne rugby against Castlebar a week earlier,this was a much tougher encounter with Sligo asking serious questions before Creggs pulled away in the final quarter of a highly entertaining game.
Creggs dominated the early exchanges but could not break down the strong tackling Sligo defence . After a scoreless opening quarter, hooker Maurice Buckley finally broke through for a vital try following some powerful mauling by the home pack.
Shortly afterwards, a superbly placed kick by Shane Dowd unlocked the Sligo defence for winger Thomas Flynn to gather the ball at full speed and cross for a fine try in the right corner.
Sligo responded with a series of attacks which yielded a try after a defensive mix-up close to the Creggs line. With half-time looming, outhalf Shane Dowd cut through for a superb solo try to put Creggs 15 – 5 ahead but Sligo closed the half with a converted try to reduce the deficit to 3 points.
Creggs utilised the wind to good effect by pinning Sligo back with a series of well judged kicks by Mark Brandon and the Dowd brothers. Maurice Buckley scored his second try in the 54th minute following a close-in maul and Tom Oates crossed for another try in the 67th minute as Creggs gradually began to take control in the forward battle.
As both teams emptied their benches, play loosened up with Sligo attacking at every opportunity but staunch defence kept them at bay. In the final minute, Creggs scored a magnificent try with winger Chris Duignan crossing out wide after some brilliant interplay between backs and forwards. Duignan richly deserved his try as his defensive display was top class from start to finish.
Creggs advance to the quarter final of the Junior Cup following this victory where they have a home game against Monivea on the weekend of February 9th/10th.
In the meantime, Creggs resume Connacht J1 League action with two games back to back against Galwegians, one of which has been re-fixed from earlier in the season. First up is away in Glenina next Sunday, January 20th and then back to Creggs the following Sunday for the return fixture. These are two difficult hurdles which must be safely negotiated before what could be the clash of the season on February 3rd. against League leaders Connemara in Creggs.
Creggs Rugby: Ronan Dowd,Thomas Flynn,Kevin Gavin,Tom Callaghan,Chris Duignan,Shane Dowd,Mark Brandon;Aidan Leech,Maurice Buckley, Eoghan Farrell, Brian Donoghue, Kevin Brandon, Peter Lohan, Ronan Cahill, Brian Diffley, Sean Og Higgins, Brian Coady, Tom Oates, James Brandon, and Andrew Callaghan.