Loughrea – 6
Creggs – 13
Loughrea has not been a happy hunting ground for Creggs in recent years but on Sunday a youthful Creggs side left with 3 league points and the PJ Forde trophy which is contested annually in memory of the Loughrea second row whose untimely death cast a pall over his club’s last Junior Cup success following a titanic final with Creggs in 1982. On Sunday the game was played in perfect conditions, albeit influenced by a wind which on the day appeared specific to the venue. Creggs playing into the wind were quickly forced on the defensive but Loughrea’s normally reliable full-back Padraig Burke was having an off day with his boot and having missed a number of kickable chances earlier only opened his account in the 35th met with a penalty from 30 metres. This was cancelled by a Shane Dowd penalty goal 4 minutes later. Just after the turn-around Burke added a second penalty but again Dowd, who made a most impressive senior debut, eclipsed that effort with a classic chip and chase, gathering his own kick to cross in the right-hand corner. This put Creggs ahead for the first time and that lead was increased after 22 minutes when Stephen Crehan, by then at full-back, finished off a back-line movement with a spectacular try into the left corner. The ball was flashed out the back-line, all of the three-quarters involved, Dowd contributing a neat reverse flick but Crehan still had it all to do when hitting the line at the half-way mark. Like his out-half earlier he chipped his defender, gathered the rebound and out-paced the cover to leave his side a 7 point cushion heading into the last quarter. That lead was never really threatened, Creggs controlled matters from thereon and comfortably closed out the game. Rolling substitutes are allowed in the league for the first time this season and on Sunday Creggs availed of this to good effect, in the pack, Kevin Brandon, Tom Oates and Tom Fleming stood out, of the backs, along with Dowd, Andrew Callaghan and his brother Tom put in huge shifts respectively at scrum-half and centre. Creggs have no game this weekend, league resumes the following weekend with the first home game against NUIG, time and date to be confirmed.
Creggs : R Collins, P Leetch, R O’Brollocháin, T Callaghan, S Crehan, S Dowd, A Callaghan, K Brandon, P Lohan, M Brandon, B Donoghue, T Oates, E Conlon, S O Higgins, T Fleming.
Replacements : K Rushe, A Leetch, N Walker, B Egan, J Jones.