Dunmore – 19
Creggs – 15
Dunmore ultimately took the spoils from this fiercely contested league opener played in squally conditions on Sunday. Traditionally these derby matches have proved no place for the faint-hearted and this was no exception. The opening jousts featured a number of shuddering hits, mainly defensive on the visitors part as they struggled to neutralise their opponents physical advantage. Dunmore have a massive pack but faced with ferocious Creggs tackling they failed to impose themselves from the kick-off other than in the set pieces. The defensive effort took its toll early on when prop Mattie Corcoran who had tackled heroically left the field after 15 minutes with a torn calf. Five minutes later it was first blood to Dunmore when scrum half Martin Walsh pounced over from a five metre scrum, his half back partner Stephen O’Toole was just off target with a difficult conversion. Creggs regrouped and fought back immediately from the kick-off, impressive flanker Peter Lohan popping up twice in a move which was only stopped when Dunmore infringed within striking distance of their posts. Noel Flynn converted the penalty and shortly afterwards was afforded a second shot at goal which he failed to land but Dunmore fluffed a quick drop-off presenting Creggs with a scrum on the 22. From the scrum the ball was spun wide to the right where Sean Quinn crossed at the corner flag. On a difficult day for place kickers Flynn missed the conversion. O’Toole slotted a gimme for Dunmore after 35 minutes and that completed the scoring in a 50 minute first half. Five minutes into the second half O’Toole followed up with a second penalty goal, somewhat ominous for Creggs as Dunmore had a man in the bin either side of half time. Creggs however hit back from the kick-off, out-half Ronan Kelly splitting the defence with a delicate chip which bounced nicely for Tom Callaghan to touch down one-handed at full stretch between the posts. Flynn added the conversion but Creggs lead proved short-lived. With Creggs on the defensive from the resulting kick-off the referee issued a general warning on infringements at the breakdown and the first person penalised following this injunction was Creggs no. 8 Kevin Brandon who was yellow carded. A man down Creggs defended stoutly but their line was breached when Dunmore flanker Ryan Cummins stormed over from a lineout inside the 22. Mark Coen who had replaced O’Toole missed the conversion but made amends with 5 minutes to go when he judged the wind perfectly to land a very difficult penalty from 45 metres. In the meantime Creggs had lost prop Paul McNeill to the bin and although again reduced to 14 men they laid siege to the Dunmore line in the final minutes but could not quite close the deal. With a losing bonus point from this game Creggs continued their league campaign at home to Galwegians in The Green on Saturday night, kick-0ff 7 pm.
Creggs : B Egan, S Quinn, M Holland, T Callaghan, P Leetch, R Kelly, N Flynn, M Corcoran, P Heavy, P Corcoran, B Kilcommons, T Fleming, P Lohan, K Ryan, K Brandon.
Replacements : P McNeill, L Mannion, S Kilcommons.