Buccaneers – 10
Creggs – 31
The scoreline suggests an easy win for Creggs. In fact it was anything but. 24-5 ahead at the interval the visitors spent the entire second half defending their line before scoring a fourth try at the death on their sole foray into opposition territory. Played in perfect conditions Creggs struck first when out-half Mark Brandon split the defence after 5 minutes, adding the conversion for a 7 point lead. That was cut to 2 points after 13 minutes when Buccs right winger Nick Purcell crossed at the corner flag for an unconverted try. Brandon was off target with a penalty attempt after 17 minutes but made amends with his next effort in the 25th after Buccs conceded a penalty following good driving play from Padraig Gavin and Peter Lohan. Three minutes later Brandon missed a penalty attempt but was instrumental in Creggs second try with winger Stephen Crehan finishing a move began by Brandon, carried on by full-back Emmet Collins whose neat feed to Crehan was taken in full flight by the winger who scorched up the right touchline, scoring between the posts, Brandon adding the conversion.
Creggs increased their lead just before half-time, Kevin Brandon breaking from a 5 metre scrum before releasing his scrum half Ronan Kelly to score under the posts, Mark Brandon again converting. The scrum itself resulted from a spectacular run by centre Sean Quinn who was hauled down just short of the try line having left a string of defenders in his wake from a starting position on the half-way line.
The second half saw Creggs introduce powerful second row Tom Fleming who injured himself in the warm up and spent the first half undergoing running repairs by physio Gerry O’Keeffe.
Fleming’s setback handed a first competitive start to the promising young lock Leo Nally who acquitted himself well against the powerful Buccs pack. That power become more evident in the second half and for the entire half Buccs pounded the Creggs line with a series of scrums, lineouts and driving mauls but remarkably the sole return was an unconverted try from their big second row Rory Beirne after 7 minutes following a series of 5 metre scrums. Although Creggs could not get any ball to lift the siege their defence was heroic with Lohan and Tom Callaghan leading the tackle count and Kelly and Collins repeatedly clearing their lines for the next wave of attack to resume.
On 28 minutes Creggs were reduced to 14 men with Callaghan shown yellow but Buccs numerical advantage was cancelled minutes later when their full-back Glen Costello followed Callaghan to the bin. With 2 minutes remaining and Callaghan having just returned to the fray, Fleming burst out of defence, linked with Kevin Brandon who blasted up the right wing with Kelly on his inside shoulder and the scrum half capped a superb performance with his second try under the posts to secure a most unlikely bonus point for his side. Mark Brandon’s conversion meant that notwithstanding the total monopoly of possession and territorial advantage enjoyed by Buccaneers Creggs outscored Buccs in the second half.
This weekend Creggs are at home to Loughrea, kick-off to be confirmed.
Creggs : P Heavey, E Garvey, P McNeill, B Kilcommons, L Nally, P Lohan, K Ryan, K Brandon, R Kelly, M Brandon, P Gavin, T Callaghan, S Quinn, S Crehan, E Collins.
Reserves : T Fleming, N Flynn.