Creggs 13 Castlebar 8
Creggs produced an excellent performance to defeat second placed Castlebar in Saturday’s League encounter at The Green.Played in difficult conditions, the heavier Castlebar team dominated the early exchanges,providing a steady stream of quality possession which scrumhalf Paul Jennings used to good effect to keep Creggs stretched in defence. After a series of mauls close to the Creggs tryline,a cleverly placed crosskick by outhalf Robbie Cusack gave right winger Simon OMalley an easy touchdown to put Castlebar 5 nil ahead in the 12th minute. Creggs responded with some good running from deep positions eventually yielding a penalty under the Castlebar posts,which Ger Heneghan successfully goaled . Castlebar then gained a significant foothold inside the Creggs half ,applying enormous forward pressure, but staunch defensive work kept them out on a number of occasions when a try seemed inevitable.Remarkably,when a score came it was at the other end as fullback David Brandon picked up a wayward pass inside his own ‘22’ in the 33rd minute,and he took off of a tremendous run leaving several defenders in his wake as he scorched the length of the pitch for a superb score ,with Heneghan duly converting to put Creggs ahead by 10 pts to 5pts. Just before halftime,Castlebar’s fullback Ronan Conway kicked a fine penalty goal when a Creggs defender was penalised for a high tackle.
Creggs turned around to play with the elements in their favour in the second half,but Castlebar made much the brighter start,pinning Creggs deep inside their ‘22’ ,and forcing a series of scrums close to the line. However,the tackling by Creggs from positions one to fifteen was tremendous,and Castlebar could find no way through despite enjoying a monopoly of possession and territory for almost 20 minutes. It was in this period that the game was won and lost, as the Castlebar players began to drop more and more passes in the face of huge Creggs resistance . The backrow of Kieran Ryan,Peter Lohan and inspirational no.8 Kevin Brandon was immense during this period , while captain Tom Callaghan shored up the midfield in typical fashion.
Creggs finally lifted the siege and got upfield prompted by some excellent kicking by Noel Flynn and Ger Heneghan. With the Creggs club’s 40th Anniversary on the horizon,it was perhaps appropriate that two of finest scores ever witnessed in The Green should determine the outcome of this enthralling game. David Brandon’s try was a sensational effort,and so also was Ger Heneghan’s drop-goal in the 63rd minute which really rocked Castlebar to the core. Receiving a pass just a couple of metres inside the Castlebar half,Heneghan proceeded to drop a goal into a combination of strong wing and driving rain,and the ball was still rising as it sailed through the posts,clearing the crossbar with plenty to spare.It was a massive kick,and a huge psychological blow for the Mayo men,who had seen their best efforts go unrewarded on the scoreboard. At 13 -8, the Creggs lead was far from secure,but there was to be no surrender from this group of players,who played with tremendous determination to close out the game and so consign Castlebar to a shock defeat.
The final quarter was very intense,as both sides increased the tempo still further,and there were a lot of tired bodies strewn around the pitch when the referee blew the final whistle,after a considerable period of added time.
Creggs now take a break from League action,but with the momentum built up in recent weeks,it is important to hit the ground running in a similar mode for the next game,away to Corrib on January 11th.
Creggs : David Brandon, David Flahive,Tom Callaghan,Ger Heneghan,Aidan Geraghty,Conor brandon :Tom Fleming,Eoin Kelly,Kevin Rushe,Brian Donoghue,Bernard Kilcommons,Peter Lohan, Kieran Ryan,Kevin Brandon,Paul Mc Neill,Colin Canny, Chris Duignan.