Connacht J1A League
Creggs Rugby 8, Sligo RFC 3.
Creggs got their Connacht League campaign off to a winning start but it was a less than impressive performance and Sligo will rue a number of missed penalties which may have ultimately cost them them game.
Sligo’s first real opportunity presented itself after 10 minutes when Creggs centre James Brandon was sin binned for a mid-air collision and the ensuing penalty put Sligo 3-nil ahead and holding a numerical advantage for the next 10 minutes. They failed to capitalise, missing two further shots at goal and never looked likely to cross the Creggs line.
However the rest of the half was played within striking range of the Creggs posts and the home side attempted to bash their way out of defence against a big committed Sligo pack and the shortcomings of this policy were evident in their failure to get past the half way line in all but two brief forays in the opening half.
The Creggs playbook but the ball in hand approach was easily countered once the committed opposition worked out that they were not going to a plan B as Sligo did here.
A fourth Sligo penalty fell short just before half time and Creggs turned around fortunate to be just 3 behind.
Old stalwarts Tom Fleming, Kevin Brandon and Tom Callaghan entered the fray at half time and Callaghan in particular injected some vim into the proceedings which had been sorely lacking to that point.
A carbon copy sin binning for a tackle on Elliot Jennings saw Sligo reduced to 14 men and Creggs took the opportunity to pulverise their scrum allowing Chris Duignan to score the vital touchdown as the Sligo pack was steamrolled across their line. The try wasn’t converted.
Creggs then had the better of the late exchanges, and they were stopped just short in the right hand corner before Shane Purcell converted a penalty on the stroke of full time.
The disparity in the penalty count which went very much against Creggs will be a cause for concern as will the lack of variation in the Creggs play but team and management now have two weeks to iron out the creases, Creggs First Team has no game this weekend, so next up will be away to Castlebar RFC on Saturday week.
Creggs Rugby: Eoghan Coyle, Kevin Gavin, Elliot Jennings, James Brandon, Chris Duignan, Shane Purcell, Andrew Callaghan, Sean Og Higgins, Maurice Buckley, Aidan Leech, Ian Whittington, Tom Oates, Brian Donoghue, Peter Lohan, Brian Diffley (Capt.), Tom Fleming, Kevin Brandon, Conor Rohan, Tom Callaghan, Mark Brandon.