Connacht Junior Cup
Westport RFC 9, Creggs Rugby 16.
Creggs advanced to the quarter-finals of the Connacht Junior Cup following an absorbing game away v Westport RFC on Saturday evening last.
Conditions weren’t bad, despite incessant overnight rain swept in off the coast before clearing mid afternoon. It was heavy underfoot, which did slow the play for periods, but it proved a right good Cup game.
Creggs opened in determined fashion and led by 6 nil after 15 minutes,thanks to two fine penalty goals by out-half Shane Purcell. The Creggs pack tore into their bulkier opponents from the start, and excelled with their speed and mobility around the park.
Gradually, Westport got to the tempo of the game and centre Kevin Corcoran showed his intent with a barnstorming 50 metre run which Creggs halted with difficulty. The introduction of experienced prop-forward Tom Geraghty after 25 minutes was greeted with enthusiasm by the home fans, and he made his presence felt in the scrum while also becoming prominent in open play.
Creggs maintained their lead until half-time, but two well-struck penalties by Westport out-half Tom McHale levelled the contest before a third Shane Purcell penalty edged Creggs ahead once more.
Westport mounted some determined attacks and came close to scoring on a number of occasions but excellent defensive work by Creggs kept them out.
With the game delicately poised entering the final quarter, a well placed clearance by Mark Brandon bounced favourably for flying winger Kevin Gavin who caught the ball at top speed and he sprinted 60 metres for what would prove to be the game’s decisive moment. Shane Purcell’s conversion gave Creggs an invaluable 10 point lead.
Westport’s reply was to pile on the pressure, and they were rewarded with another McHale penalty to reduce the deficit to 7 points.
Creggs survived a nervous last five minutes of additional time when Mark Brandon was sin-binned and were relieved when the referee blew for full-time, much to the disappointment of a Westport team which had thrown everything into the contest . This was typical Cup fare, with both teams enjoying periods of supremacy in a contest which tested the character and commitment of this young Creggs’ team.
The quarter-final draw was not particularly kind to Creggs, resulting in an away tie against the reigning champions Connemara in a repeat of last year’s final. However, if Creggs can reduce the error count, they are well capable of creating an upset in Clifden next Sunday (kick-off 2pm).
Creggs Rugby: Shane Dowd, Kevin Gavin, James Brandon, Eoghan Coyle, Ronan Dowd, Shane Purcell, Andrew Callaghan: Tom Fleming, Danny Arnold, Aidan Leech, Brian Donohoe, Ian Whittington, Peter Lohan, Brian Diffley (Captain), Kevin Brandon, Sean Og Higgins, Eoghan Farrell, Ronan Cahill, Tom Callaghan, Mark Brandon.
ADULT TEAM TRAINING
This weekend, the Creggs Under-20’s, Development squad and First team are training at 8.15 pm on Friday evening.