Creggs – 0
Castlebar – 12
In biting cold at the Green on Sunday Creggs were up against not just Castlebar but the reality that to have any chance of winning a game you must get some possession. Had this game a possession graph it would have been so skewed in favour of the visitors as to belie the relatively small points margin between the teams and until Castlebar’s open side Gavin Sullivan scored his second try in the 65th minute the game was delicately poised at 5-0. This was due to a number of factors, not least of which was heroic defence on the part of Creggs but Castlebar were profligate with the chances which came their way, missing five kickable penalties and at times their back play was surprisingly inept in the face of a consistently aggressive Creggs defence. Castlebar’s defence was however also very tight and quickly snuffed out any threat from Creggs strike runners, invariably on the counter attack. The match was won and lost in the set pieces, from the off Creggs struggled to get a footing in the game and having squandered a number of penalty chances Castlebar opened the scoring when Sullivan crossed in the left hand corner after 20 minutes. Ronan Conway missed the conversion and shortly afterwards Creggs reshuffled their backline, bringing in Enda Gavin at scrum half, Noel Flynn moving to out half and Sean Quinn to the right wing. The home side were however surviving on scraps of possession with the game played almost exclusively in their half. They managed to make a couple of forays out of defence but these yielded no return, Creggs best chance falling to Flynn who was narrowly wide with a long range penalty after 35 minutes. In the second half the scrum was critical with Creggs losing five successive put ins. This was not akin to the pre-Christmas game between the sides in Castlebar when the Creggs scrum was pulverised but nonetheless it kept Creggs on the back foot for the third quarter and building on that platform Sullivan pounced for the decisive score from a 5 metre scrum, replacement kicker Stephen Rogan adding the conversion. After that the Creggs scrum improved but it was too little too late and although Creggs finally threatened their opponents line in the closing stages with replacement hooker Sean Óg Higgins stopped just short Castlebar never looked likely to be deprived and now advance to the quarter final with Creggs entering the Plate. Next league match is this Sunday in Dunmore, kick-off 2.30.
Creggs : D Brandon, E Gilleran, B Kilcommons, C Brandon, B Egan, S Quinn, N Flynn, L Mannion, E Garvey, M Hester, R Cassidy, P Turley, T Nee, C Ryan, K Brandon.
Replacements : E Gavin, P McNeill, S O’Higgins.
Castlebar : M Staunton, D Moran, L Staunton, N Byrne, E Thornton, R Conway, D Togher, L Molloy, I McDonagh, B Flannery, D Mulgrew, R Hughes, M Staunton, G Staunton, D Staunton.