Ballina RFC 22, Creggs RFC 38
Creggs Under-16 Girls travelled to Ballina last Friday night for the final of the Connacht Division 1 League. Having lost the toss during the week for home advantage, the home side had gathered a large home support but that didn’t deter our girls and our own big support on what was a great night under lights.
It was a good advertisement for girls rugby, and the Creggs girls second Connacht title in as many weeks as their Under-18 counterparts claimed the Connacht Under-18 trophy two weeks previously.
The first half of this game was end to end , with both sides intent on attacking and boyed on by the big crowd. The skillset by both sides was exceptional.
Creggs got out of the blocks after only two minutes when some brilliant carrying by Julie Ann Fahy, Darcey Farnon and Isabelle Quinn. Their combination carried Creggs into the 22” and once recycled Sarah Purcell used her hand off to great effect and went in the corner for a 5-0 lead.
This lead was short lived when a knock on from the Kick off, gave Ballina an attacking scrum and after some quick thinking allowed them to run in unopposed to level the scores after 7 minutes.
Less than 2 minutes later Creggs had again regained the lead when Shauna Walsh carried the ball into the Ballina half and when Sarah Purcell broke, she was hauled down just short of the line before off-loading to Siofra Hession who went in under the posts and converted herself for a 12-5 lead for Creggs.
A period of excellent defence followed with Ballina in the Creggs half and they forced a knock on and after a sustained period of attack which was initially well defended by Michaela Gillooly and Beibhinn Maher, Creggs were penalised for off-side at the ruck and a quick tap penalty gave Ballina their second score. 14 minutes gone and Creggs were leading 12-10.
The last score of a sew saw half saw excellent carries from Stacey Corbally, Grace Killian and Rachel Kilcoyne, which again gave Creggs a good foot hold in the Ballina half. And again Sarah Purcell used her hand off to great effect to get away from the defender to score in the left corner for a 17-10 half time lead.
In the second half Creggs continued to defend resolutely against a strong Ballina outfit with Shauna Mcdermott, Elizabeth Gory and Grace Mannion especially prominent and after 8 minutes of the half after a period of defending, Creggs were awarded a scrum near half way.
Jemima Adams Verling picked from the base of the scrum and while she had a lot of work to do, she somehow managed to excellently break a couple of tackles to score under the posts, which Siofra Hession converted for a 24-10 lead for the Creggs Girls.
Ballina needed the next score and attacked hard for the next 7 minutes trying to break the Creggs defence but again Gweneth Heavy,
Shauna McDermott, Katie O Connor and Ellen Jordan, all called on to make crucial tackles and were not found wanting but Ballina did find a way through after 15 minutes to reduce the deficit to 24-15, leaving the game still in the balance.
After 20 minutes of the second half, Creggs looked to have put the game to bed when a great run by Shauna Walsh was held just short for Siofra Hession to pick and dive over from close range and convert to stretch the lead to 31-15.
Creggs now started to play a territory game with some excellent kicks kept their opponents back in their half and with only 9 minutes left, one such kick by Siofra Hession had the Ballina full back under all sort of pressure and when Siofra blocked the kick she pounced on the bouncing ball to score and convert to increase the lead to 38-15.
Great credit to Ballina girls, with almost the last play of the game, they mustered up one more attack and went the length of the pitch to score under the posts which they converted to leave the final score 38-22 in favour of the Creggs girls. The final whistle sparked great and well deserved celebrations.
YOUTH and MINI Rugby teams will be notified by their individual coaches of resumption dates after the Christmas break.