Creggs RFC 34, Carrick on Shannon RFC 18.
In perfect conditions for rugby Creggs Under-17’s put in their best performance of the season to qualify for the Connacht Plate Final in Creggs on Tuesday evening.
Both teams were at full strength and thought Creggs started as favourites Carrick’s big pack were going to insure that this was going to be a stern contest, and so it proved.
Creggs started well and were rewarded after just 4 minutes when Thomas O Brien powered in for the first score, which was converted by Mark Purcell.
However, as the home team looked to dominate they were guilty of giving away some soft penalties and Carrick capitalised when their outside half got in and levelled the scores on 15 minutes.
Fresh from a successful tour to Wales and England with the Connacht U-17’s scrum half and Creggs Captain Aodha Hession was picking up the tempo and showing his class moving his big pack and picking holes in Carrick’s resolute defence. Hession sniped in for the next score a try under the posts, converted expertly again by Purcell.
The village team looked to pull away when a quick tap penalty from Aodha Hession saw him in for his second try.
Mark Purcell added a penalty leaving Creggs comfortable at half time leading 22-7. They had their pack to thank for this particularly down to the hard yards from forwards with Callaghan and Tucker to the fore.
Carrick were not lying down and sustained pressure and poor discipline at the breakdown from Creggs saw Carrick convert a penalty to trail by 14.
The Creggs line out was functioning well with Roddie McGuinness having one of his best games in the hooped shirt and John McDonnell soaring into the night sky.
The excellent Kaylem Holian on the wing worked nicely with Tom Farrell to execute Creggs next try for what should have seen them home and out of sight but that proved not to be.
Carrick came back and were playing the better rugby and we rewarded with a try after good work from their pack.
Creggs however introduced their strong bench and in particular their new talent Ciaran Corcoran who in his first season of rugby showed strength and ran wonderful lines reminiscent of a seasoned player in full flight.
The defence of the Creggs backs and in particular centres Hanley and Whyte put in some ferocious tackles keeping Carrick out. Mark Purcell went over in the corner for Creggs with 8 minutes left and sublimely converted his own try to see Creggs into the final by a margin of 34-18 where they will play local rivals Buccaneers. This Final is down for Sunday week at a venue and time to be confirmed.
Creggs Rugby: Diarmuid Quinn, Micheal Beirne, Rory Callaghan, Jack Tucker, Tom Farrell, Eric O Doherty, Kaylem Holian, John McDonnell, Mark Purcell, Aaron Hannon, Lorcan Maher, Aodha Hession, Jack Hanley, Ben Finnerty, Conor Murphy, Roddie McGuinness, Thomas O Brien, Adam Donnelly, Darragh Kiernan, Jonathan Whyte, Ciaran Corcoran, Ronan Lambe, Conor McNulty, Aaron Hannon, Erin Coyne, and Ryan O’Keeffe.