Ballinrobe 18 Creggs 26
Creggs delivered one of their best displays of the season to see off Ballinrobe’s determined challenge in the opening round of the Connacht Junior Cup on Sunday. Ballinrobe have a proud Cup tradition and they contributed enormously to this game,in which Creggs experience in key positions proved vital. Scrumhalf Mark Brandon contributed 16 points with a superb placekicking display,while winger Stephen Crehan underlined his potential with two tries. Creggs got off to a great start when a fluid backline move released Crehan on the wing,and he finished expertly in the corner for a try,which Mark Brandon converted from close to the touchline.
Ballinrobe responded with some rousing forward surges,before their powerful No.8,Jack Winters,crashed over for a try from a lineout close to the Creggs line.Creggs led 13 – 11 at halftime,after Brandon and Ballinrobe outhalf Stephen Conroy landed two penalty goals each as play moved from end to end in a rip-roaring encounter.
Shortly after halftime,Creggs scored a vital try when Stephen Crehan chased a cleverly placed chip by Mark Brandon,and he beat three despairing Ballinrobe players to the touchdown. Brandon maintained his 100 % kicking record with a magnificent conversion ,and shortly afterwards,he added a penalty to extend Creggs lead to 23-11. However,Ballinrobe hit back with a vengeance and impressive fullback Mark Nally carved his way through the Creggs defence for a superb try,which Conroy converted to reduce the deficit to a mere 5 points,with twenty minutes remaining. Ballinrobe continued to apply severe pressure ,but some of Creggs defensive work was heroic with Tom Fleming,Kevin Brandon,Emmet Collins and Tom Callaghan outstanding in the face of wave after wave of attack.
Eventually,Creggs lifted the siege and a Mark Brandon penalty from 40 metres finally put Ballinrobe
8 points adrift,and this proved too much for them,despite outstanding efforts by Nalty,Winters,captain Conor Varley and John Mannion. For Creggs,this was an important win,and one in which every player contributed to an impressive team performance. Mike Tansey gave a great display around the field,and he has been a great addition to the squad.
Creggs resume League action with a home game,scheduled for Saturday next , V Dunmore .
Creggs : Stephen Kilcommons,Stephen Crehan,Damien Miskell,Tom Callaghan,Padraig Gavin,Emmet Collins , Mark Brandon : Peter Heavey,Enda Garvey,Mike Tansey,Leo Nally,Tom Fleming,Kieran Ryan,Peter Lohan,Kevin Brandon,Paul McNeill,Declan Nee, Peter Corcoran.