Creggs U17’s have qualified for the Division 1 Connacht League Final after a very impressive win over a very good Galwegians side in Ballyhaunis last Saturday. Played in wet underfoot conditions, this was a game played in the right spirit from start to finish between two very competitive sides who drew 14-14 only two weeks ago in the league.
Creggs began the game well and had the better of the territory and were making good ground through Dara Byrne, Rian Biesty, Melvin Conteh and Brian Maloney especially however in the early stages the Galwegians back row were very competitive at the breakdown especially when Creggs ventured into their 22″ and they turned the ball over on 4 occasions in the first twelve minutes and cleared their lines.Creggs did manage to take the lead on 13 minutes when Gawegians were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown and Shane Purcell slotted a well taken penalty from 30 metres out. On 18 minutes Galwegians scored on their first visit to the Creggs danger zone when they moved the ball wide and kicked ahead and while it looked like the ball was knocked on while grounding, the score was awarded to winger Hugh Lane and Galwegians were now leading 5-3.
Creggs didn’t let that setback change their game plan and they were now presenting the ball faster and cleaner for Eoghan Coyle at 9 and that allowed Jason Hoare and Niall Cunniffe to gain some advantage out wide. Creggs also continued to pin their opponents back in their 22″ with some very good kicks from Shane Purcell. Tim Lambe and Ben McGahon and even number 7 John Martin got in on the act with a super kick at one stage.
After 22 minutes after some good work from Adam Finnerty, Danny Arnold and Ian Conlon, Creggs regained the lead when Galwegians were penalised in front of their posts which Purcell converted for a 6-5 lead. Creggs did not let up and three minutes later they were rewarded from some excellent work from Rian Biesty, John Martin and Dara Byrne and Melvin Conteh dived over which Purcell again converted for a 13-5 half time lead.
The heavy rain at half time, made the conditions very mucky for the second half and Creggs continued to move the big Galwegians pack around and pin them back in their own half, Creggs lost Cunniffe with an injury after 7 minutes of the half and Aaron Glennon did well on his introduction as did Brandon Hanmore who added fresh legs when introduced early in the half. A lot of the play was between the two 10 metre lines in this half an Galwegians were struggling to get the two scores they required and Creggs looked comfortable for most of the half until Galwegians did kick a penalty with 5 minutes remaining but Creggs never let them back down into their half to threaten their line for the try Galwegians needed and Creggs held out for the victory.
Creggs will play the winner of the second semi final between Corinthians and Sligo and the final is due to take place on Sunday 21st of February.
Creggs Ian Conlon, Danny Arnold, Melvin Conteh, Brian Maloney, Adam Finnerty, Dara Byrne, Aaron Glennon, Brandon Hanmore, Rian Biesty, John Martin, Eoghan Coyle, Shane Purcell, Jason Hoare, Niall Cunniffe, Tim Lambe, Juan De La Campa, Ben McGahon, Oisin Keenen, Mathew Curley, Emmett Quinn, Killian Higgins