Claremorris RFC 15, Creggs RFC 21
The Creggs Under-18 girls are the Connacht Under-18 Division 1 League Champions for the first time after a thrilling encounter v Claremorris RFC in Dunmore last Saturday.
On a beautiful day for rugby both teams served up an excellent game of rugby in front of a large vocal crowd. Creggs were the better team in the early exchanges but it was Claremorris who took the lead after a break from the base of the scrum, they found a gap and made the line to take a 5-0 lead.
The Creggs girls didn’t let the set back get to them and they continued to carry hard through Roisin Maher, Ella Brady, Eabha Conroy, Gabrielle kilcommons and Emily Murray and out the backs Rachel Gormley, Aoibhinn Murray and Jennifer Morris were always dangerous and after 18 minutes.
Creggs were rewarded when Sarah Purcell made a line break and she was just caught short of the line but she off-loaded to Megan Donohue who was on her shoulder to touch down under the posts. Eabha Dowd converted for a 7-5 lead for the Creggs Girls, which they held until half-time.
After the break, Claremorris began very well and although some excellent defence from Mary Anne Jordan, Ciara Boyle, Eadaoin Walsh and Caoimhe Walsh held them out early on, they eventually got in for a score and regained the lead 12-7.
The game was certainly in the balance at this stage and the Creggs girls had the much better of the territory after that. After a period of pressure, Jemima Adams Verling got in for a try after picking from the base of the ruck and diving over from close range. Eabha Dowd again landed the conversion to put the Creggs girls 14-12 in front.
Great work from Grace Hanley, Nadine Fitzmaurice and Grace Mannion, followed the kick-off and Creggs continued to have the better of the play. However, after a long kick downfield by Claremorris they regathered the ball and only for some heroic defence from Megan Donohue and Sarah Purcell in the corner a score looked very likely. Then Claremorris were awarded a penalty from that play, which they converted for a 15-14 lead with only 4 minutes left on the clock.
The Creggs girls to their credit kept fighting and needed to regain the ball which they did after putting pressure on Claremorris from the kick off which forced a forward pass and Creggs were awarded a scrum. The girls moved the ball from side to side trying to breach the defence and with the clock now in the red they knew they needed a score.
They were awarded a penalty but it was too far out to kick so they ran the penalty and after four more phases, they were inside the Claremorris 22, and Jemima Adams Verling picked from the back of the ruck and powered her way past what seemed to be 6 defenders to score beside the posts, which Eabha Dowd converted.
The conversion signalled the end of the game and joyous scenes for the girls and the big Creggs support. Congratulations to all concerned, and sincere commiserations on this occasion to a good Claremorris team.