Connacht Under-18 Plate Final
Creggs RFC 38, Westport – Monivea RFC’s 17.
A Connacht final featuring a combined clubs team as opposition and played in a torrential downpour was not enough to deny Creggs Under-18’s their second Connacht title in just 10 days.
The Creggs management had shuffled their cards somewhat from their league final victory with the return to the starting line-up of Jack Keegan and Cian Glennon and several positional changes no doubt influenced by the early arrival of storm “Hannah”.
Back at the Sportsgrounds Galway this stand out Creggs team put in what was one of their most impressive performances to blow away a combined Westport/Monivea 15 with a marvellous display of running rugby that defied the conditions.
Understandably the early exchanges were cagey with both teams not risking going wide and keeping the ball in the forwards working through the phases.
On 16 minutes referee Jason Croghwell penalised Westport/Monivea at the breakdown 40 meters out. Creggs Mark Purcell found an excellent touch 5 metres out and from the lineout a clever short throw put Jack Tucker clean through the gap for the first try converted by Purcell.
The rehearsed move was one straight from Connachts’s Pro 14 Team, imparted by Roscommon native and Connacht prop Denis Buckley who took this Creggs team for a recent training session and it obviously gave great satisfaction to the Creggs lads who were off themark in some style.
Creggs immediately found another gear and the half back partnership of Aodha Hession and Tim Lambe were in total control choosing the right options when required turning the opposition and playing the difficult conditions brilliantly.
John Martin the Creggs openside wing forward who was popping up everywhere broke clean through the midfield defence chipped ahead and was tackled to ground without the ball leavingReferee Croughwell to award a penalty try and a 14 nil lead after 20 minutes.
Not to be outdone Martin’s back-row partner John McDonnell was next on the scoresheet for Creggs finishing off an excellent move started with a clean line break from Lambe. An opportunist turnover from the Westport/Monivea first centre to score out wide and just keeping his team in the contest but Creggs went in at half time leading 19 – 5.
The game was over as a contest one minutes into the second half when the score of the match which was befitting of the Connacht home pitch and was scored by Tim Lambe for Creggs.
Returning the kick off at pace the Creggs forwards setthe platform and with super handling and a wonderful line taken by Cian Glennon, Lame received the ball with work to do but glided through the Westport/Monivea defence to touch down for Purcell again to add the extras.
On 50 minutes Creggs replaced number 8 Jack Keegan, Keegan is getting stronger with every game after missing almost a year out of the game with a knee injury and his able replacement Micheal Beirne slotted in with some aplomb.
Conor Rohan was next on the score sheet, unstoppable from 5 meters. At 33 -5 Irish international scrum half Hession sniped in for the Creggs final score after a strong carry from prop Tom Farrell.
Westport/Monivea were playing only for prideand they demonstrated that and some considerable heart to score two quick unanswered tries and some respectability on the scoreboard but Creggs RFC were not to be denied and a 38-17 victory. Connacht Rugby Branch president Mossy Moran presented Captain Tim Lambe with the trophy to the delight of the big Creggs support who had travelled to Galway.
Creggs Rugby: Tom Farrell, Roddie McGuinness, Jack Tucker, Thomas O Brien, Conor Rohan, John Mc Donnell, John Martin, Jack Keegan, Aodha Hession, Tim Lambe, Jack Hanley, Mark Purcell, Cian Glennon, Jonathan Whyte, Martin Quinn, Micheal Beirne, Ronan Lambe, Ethan Glennon, Ben Finnerty, Kaylem Hollian, Erin Coyne, Conor Murphy, Eric O’Doherty, and Lorcan Maher.