Connacht J1 League
Creggs Rugby 12, Tuam RFC 10.
Creggs got the new decade off to a winning start by defeating Tuam in Saturday’s home League clash on the 4G pitch. This win widens the gap to seven points between Creggs in second place and Tuam RFC in third.
Two superb tries by fullback Shane Dowd paved the way for this vital win but Tuam dominated the final quarter to reduce the deficit to a mere twi points by the end of a tough physical encounter .
Creggs remain in second place behind pacesetters Connemara following this victory, but third placed Tuam posed plenty of problems with their powerful pack of forwards gaining the edge for considerable periods of play.
However,determined defence by Creggs was a major factor in this victory, with Eoghan Coyle, Peter Lohan, Ronan Dowd and Kevin Brandon hitting some thunderous tackles to repel wave after wave of Tuam attack, while their colleagues also defended with vigour when called upon.
The early exchanges were frenetic with both sides playing at a high tempo before an excellent Cregg’s forwards and backs combined set play was executed superbly, with Shane Dowd finished in style. His try in the 15th minute gave Creggs a lead they would not relinquish despite Tuam’s best efforts.
Creggs failed to capitalise on that great start and Tuam had the better of the opening half, eclipsing Creggs in the forward battle particularly in the lineout where Creggs were notably out of sorts and it was only in the set scrum that the home side enjoyed a slight advantage.
Stalemate ensued on the scoreboard for the rest of the first half, with worsening weather conditions contributing to handling errors by both sides. Tuam were more culpable in this regard, losing possession in good attacking positions on a number of occasions.
At the other end, Creggs were right to feel aggrieved when their rolling maul was clearly brought down short of the line and no penalty was awarded.
Tuam had a player sinbinned shortly before halftime, but Creggs were unable to capitalise on this numerical advantage and had to soak up considerable pressure when the sinbin ended.
On an increasingly rare incursion into Tuam territory, Shane Dowd produced a moment of individual brilliance to glide past several Tuam defenders on a 40 metre run which took him under the posts for a superb try.
Shane Purcell’s conversion left Creggs 12 nil ahead with fifteen minutes remaining, but Tuam attacked straight from the kickoff to hit back with a try by outhalf Eoin Cosgrave, which placekicker Dave Lally converted with ease.
Creggs conceded a penalty in the 74th minute which the left-footed Lally slotted with another fine kick,to set up a grandstand finish.
There were still a couple of nervous moments for the home fans to endure before referee Shane McElwee blew the final whistle to signify the end of a closely contested game.
Creggs take a break from the Connacht League action for the next few weeks, but face a potentially difficult trip to Westport next Sunday in the first round of the Junior Cup.
Creggs Rugby: Shane Dowd, Ronan Dowd, Eoghan Coyle, James Brandon, Ryan Horan, Shane Purcell, Andrew Callaghan, Eoghan Farrell, Danny Arnold, Aidan Leech, Ian Whittington, Brian Donoghoe, Peter Lohan, Kevin Brandon, Brian Diffley (Captain), Brian Coady, Tom Fleming, Ronan Cahill, Mark Brandon, Kevin Gavin.