Ballyhaunis 13 Creggs 20
Creggs travelled to Ballyhaunis for Sunday’s vital League game,and produced their best performance of the season to date to win a tough,uncompromising encounter with the outcome in the balance right to the end. With the home team battering the Creggs line in the closing stages,it took heroic defence to keep the Mayo men out,as a series of scrums and penalties yielded nothing as Tom Callaghan and Kevin Brandon led a hugely committed defensive effort by the entire Creggs squad.
The first half produced very little exciting rugby,with both teams hammering at each other up front,and quality possession was at a premium for either backline. Ballyhaunis went ahead after 18 minutes when Creggs were penalised for offside ,but Ger Heneghan landed a penalty shortly afterwards to tie up the game. The stalemate was finally broken in the 55th minute,when a clever chip to the corner by David Brandon put the Ballyhaunis defence in all sorts of bother,and Damien Miskell was about to score when he was taken out illegally off the ball. Referee Tom Reilly had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try,which Ger Heneghan duly converted.
Ballyhaunis responded immediately from the restart with a Garry Patterson penalty to reduce the deficit to 10 – 6. Creggs were now playing with fierce determination,and capitalised on a rare mistake by dangerman Patterson,to score an outstanding try when the Ballyhaunis pivot lost possession in midfield. Clinical handling by Tom Callaghan and Ger Heneghan gave Noel Fynn a try-scoring opportunity,and he crashed over for a vital score,which Heneghan converted to leave the home side shellshocked.
However,Ballyhaunis regrouped and were now dominating the forward battle, but could find no way through,until a Creggs attack broke down and centre Mantas Smirnovas hacked downfield for the speedy Patterson to win the race to the touchdown . He landed the conversion to reduce the Creggs lead to 17 – 13, with fourteen minutes remaining.
Creggs continued to attack at every opportunity,and this positive approach resulted in a penalty under the Ballyhaunis posts in the 72nd minute,which Ger Heneghan calmly slotted to give his team a vital seven point lead.
Ballyhaunis piled on the pressure thereafter,but the superbly marshalled Creggs defence held out for a victory,which will hopefully prove to be a major turning point for the team for the rest of the season.
Creggs : David Brandon,Aidan Geraghty,Ger Heneghan,Tom Callaghan,Damien Miskell,Noel Flynn,Conor Brandon: Tom Fleming,Eoin Kelly,Aidan Leech,Brian Donoghue,Ray Cassidy,Peter Lohan,Kevin Brandon,Matthew Brandon,Paul Mc Neill,Chris Duignan,Enda Tully,Bernard Kilcommons,Steven Crehan,Kevin Rushe, Kieran Ryan