News, Seniors - Firsts

Connaught Junior League round 3

21

Creggs – 32

Monivea – 25

Twenty minutes into the second half and Creggs suddenly found themselves in a strange place. With four tries already in the bag and the bonus point secured the home team was now on the ropes. Influential scrum-half Ronan Kelly who had struck up a promising partnership with Mark Brandon was forced to leave the field through a combination of injuries. At outhalf Brandon too was struggling with a hamstring which eventually forced his early exit, and first centre Tom Callaghan who with Sean Quinn formed a most effective mid-field pairing was despatched to the sin bin for what seemed an unusually long 10 minutes. With a bench comprised entirely of forwards Creggs 11 point lead now looked fragile and Monivea appeared intent on extracting maximum advantage. That they failed to do so is testimony to a magnificent rearguard action in which all involved played their part with some stand out contributions. In defence flankers Kieran Ryan and Peter Lohan along with outside centre Quinn were quite heroic and in taking the fight to their opponents number 8 T0m Fleming, second row Bernard Kilcommons and full back Emmet Collins made the hard yards which ultimately lifted the siege and afforded Brandon a final penalty chance which, badly hobbled at this stage, he duly converted. That gave Creggs a 14 point margin and although a late Kevin Higgins try converted by Jack Burke brought the visitors into losing bonus territory that was all they had to show for a game effort.

Creggs began well with Kelly and Brandon dictating the play and Brandon landed a penalty after 5 minutes. The first try a couple of minutes later began with Collins breaking out of defence, carried on by Callaghan and Kilcommons and from the ensuing ruck, Kelly fed Quinn on the blind to cross for a try which Brandon failed to convert. The next 10 minute period was dominated by Monivea who pounded the Creggs line but, having thrown up a couple of penalty chances, finally settled for a 3 pointer from Burke as the Creggs defence held. A notable feature of Creggs game was the quality of Kelly’s re-starts and Creggs hit back immediately securing the ball from a perfectly judged drop-off, Fleming and Kilcommons carrying forward for Lohan to score left of the posts, Brandon adding the conversion. Burke replied with a second penalty and again Creggs pulled away immediately from the re-start, this time Kilcommons splitting the defence for a try which Brandon converted. Following a period of sustained pressure scrum half Matthew Myles scored an unconverted try for Monivea to leave Creggs 11 points ahead at the interval. Fifteen minutes into the second half and Creggs looked to be out of sight as Ryan somersaulted spectacularly over the line to finish a move began by Mike Tiley, carried on by Quinn and Brandon’s conversion established what now looked an impregnable 18 point lead. Monivea again struck back however and a well taken try from flanker Cathal O’Brien converted by Burke left the score 29-18 as the game entered its dramatic final quarter. The drama was interrupted by a lights failure which held up play for several minutes and added a slightly surreal aspect to the closing stages. This is a rest weekend for Creggs, badly needed with a mounting injury list, the league campaign resumes on Saturday week away to Buccaneers.

Creggs : P Heavey, E Garvey, P McNeill, B Kilcommons, M Tiley, K Ryan, P Lohan, T Fleming, R Kelly, M Brandon, S Crehan, T Callaghan, S Quinn, P Gavin, E Collins.

Replacements : E Tully, A Leetch, L Nally.

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