Cawley Cup Final
Creggs Rugby 29, Castlebar RFC 17.
Creggs retained the Cawley Cup by defeating Castlebar in a closely contested final in Galway.
Castlebar knocked out Junior League and Cup champions Connemara on their path to the final,so Creggs were under no illusions about the tough challenge presented by the Mayo men.
The early stages of the game were evenly balanced before full-back Shane Dowd scored a superb try for Creggs midway through the half, following a 40 metre run through the heart of the Castlebar defence. Shane Purcell added the conversion to put Creggs 7-0 ahead.
Castlebar responded with a successful penalty when Creggs strayed offside, before the Creggs backs launched a superb counter-attack with Shane Dowd’s perfectly timed pass creating an overlap for Kevin Gavin, and the winger sprinted over for another spectacular try.
Out-half Purcell added a penalty before Castlebar hit back and scored a try on the stroke of half-time, which was converted to leave Creggs ahead by 15-10.
The third quarter was a tense period for the Creggs supporters as Castlebar dominated territorially and were unlucky not to score with Creggs defending desperately. Chris Duignan’s well-taken try on a rare incursion into Castlebar territory was a vital score for Creggs, and Shane Purcell’s excellent conversion gave the defending champions a 12 point lead heading into the final quarter.
Castlebar piled on the pressure but tremendous defence deprived them of many scoring opportunities before they finally broke through for a converted try with five minutes remaining.
Creggs held their composure and captain Brian Diffley sealed victory with a powerful surge which took him under the posts for a great try, which Shane Purcell converted with the game heading into added time.
To their credit,Castlebar kept going right to the end but Creggs finished strongly and were worthy winners of a tough but sporting encounter.
Creggs resume Connacht League action with a home game against Tuam on this Saturday evening.
Creggs Rugby: Shane Dowd, Kevin Gavin, Elliot Jennings, Eoghan Coyle, Chris Duignan, Shane Purcell, Mark Brandon, Tom Fleming, Maurice Buckley, Aidan Leech, Ian Whittington, Brian Donoghoe, James Brandon, Peter Lohan, Brian Diffley (Captain), Danny Arnold, Sean Og Higgins, Ronan Cahill, Michael Feeley, Martin Quinn.