Creggs Under-18.5’s found themselves in the unusual position of having to play a second semi final to qualify for the U18.5 League Final, and overcame a strong Ballina outfit in front of a large supportive crowd in Creggs last Saturday afternoon.
It was Ballina who started the game with a very high intensity and took the initiative in the first few minutes and were making it very hard for Creggs to clear their lines and they were awarded a penalty after only 5 minutes on the 22″ when Creggs were penalised for going off their feet at the ruck, Ballina’s No 10 Craig McCormack stood up but his effort struck the post which was a let off for the home team.
Creggs soon started to match their opponents intensity and took control of the ball and upfront Rian Biesty, Danny Arnold and Ronan Cahill were taking the ball at pace but were being met be a very determined defence who were unwilling to give an inch to the home side. Creggs were getting more success out wide when moving the ball when Jason Hoare, Dara Byrne, Tim Lambe and Mairtin Quinn ran at their opponents but still the drift defence managed to snuff out any scoring attempts out wide by the home team.
Creggs did manage to get on the scoreboard after 25 minutes when Shane Purcell converted a penalty and that was the only score of the first half.
Creggs flew out of the traps in the second half when a kick off by Purcell was gathered by Cian Gately who was just stopped short of the line and that set the tone for the second half.
Creggs were doing very well in the set pieces where David O Gorman, Brian Maloney and Edward Clinton were securing good possession but the Ballina defence continued to stop Creggs when scores looked likely.
Another Shane Purcell penalty stretched the lead to 6 -0 after 7 minutes of the second half but it was Ballina who got the first try of the game when Pat Howley went over in the corner with their first visit to the Creggs 22″ in the second half, leaving the scoreline 6-5 with 14 minutes remaining..
Creggs really needed to dig deep now and it was a score 10 minutes from time that secured the victory when a training ground move from the line out worked to perfection with O’Gorman releasing Ronan Cahill who went over in the corner. Shane Purcell kicked the difficult conversion and that ensured Creggs were two scores ahead and were comfortable in the closing period.
Well done to the lads, as winning any semi final can be difficult with so much at stake but having to win two semi finals to get to the final shows the true character of this squad.
After this win, they now go forward to the Connacht Under-18.5 League Final v Corinthians RFC. It will be played on Saturday, March 4th. at 12 Noon. The venue has yet to be confirmed.
Creggs: Aaaron Glennon, Danny Arnold, Melvin Conteh, Dan Butt, Brian Maloney, David O Gorman, Oisin Keenan, Mathew Curley, Michael Kelly, Rian Biesty, Ronan Cahill, Edward Clinton, Cian Gately, Eoghan Coyle, Shane Purcell, Jason Hoare, Dara Byrne, Mairtin Quinn, Domhnail Forrest, Tim Lambe, and Amuray Duarte.