Creggs RFC 30, Sligo RFC 24.
Creggs Under-18.5’s travelled to Ballyhaunis in beautiful sunshine last Sunday for the Connacht Plate Final against Sligo RFC. This was always expected to be a close affair and so it proved with both teams producing some great rugby in conditions that they have craved after such a wet winter.
Creggs got off to a flying start when after 5 minutes after a turnover from John Martin at the ruck on half way Shane Purcell attacked the short side and released Mairtin Quinn who raced clear and beat the last defender to score for a 5-0 lead.
This lead was increased to 8-0 after 8 minutes when a long range penalty from Mark Purcell was successful. Sligo who had the bigger pack then got a foothold in the game and got a try of their own from the kick off to reduce the deficit to 3 points.
Another successful Penalty from Mark Purcell after 15 minutes pushed the score to 11-5 and Creggs continued to attack and after some good work by Danny Arnold, Brian Maloney and Killian Higgins brought Creggs into the Sligo half and a good kick from Shane Purcell left Sligo a defending lineout near their own line. John McDonnell pounced on the loose ball from the lineout to touch down in the corner, which Mark Purcell again converted for a 18-5 lead after 25 minutes.
Creggs Looked in control at this stage but again Sligo came back at them and scored from a scrum near the Creggs line just before half time, which they converted to leave the half time score 18-12.
Creggs took control again early in the second half and prominent up front with big carries were Matthew Curley, Adam Finnerty and Melvin Conteh and with the wing forwards John Martin and John McDonnell exceptional in the loose and set pieces this was providing good ball for Aodha Hession to distribute, and when he fed Eoghan Coyle after 8 minutes of the second half, Coyle still had a lot of work to do to beat the defence but used a very efficient hand off to go over for a tray. Mark Purcell converted to push the score out to 25 points to 12.
Creggs scored again after 18 minutes when great work from Kaylem Hollian on the wing and Mairtin Quinn produced a ball for Shane Purcell who delivered a perfect cross field kick, which Jason Hoare caught to go over in the corner to stretch the lead to 30-12.
The game looked to be over at this stage and Creggs were attacking against 14 when when Sligo had a man sin binned and it looked like Creggs just needed to be patient to get the next score but some good defending kept them out. Sligo cleared their lines and came up field and got back in the game themselves when they kicked into the Creggs 22″ and it looked like the Creggs defenders had it covered but the ball came out of the back of the ruck for the Sligo player to dive onto to reduce the deficit to 30-17.
Almost immediately Sligo came back on the attack from the kick off and with 5 minutes left got over again for a converted try to reduce the margin to just one score, 30-24.
Creggs were now themselves playing with 14 after a yellow card and Sligo were back to the full compliment of 15 and Creggs had to dig deep to defend the last few minutes, but held out for the win. This was a great performance and especially with three players away in France. Well done to all the players, coaches and the parents for their support.
Creggs Rugby: Matthew Curley, Danny Arnold, Melvin Conteh, Aaron Glennon, Tom Farrell, Thomas O Brien, Jack Hanley, Jonathan Whyte, Eric O Doherty, Killian Higgins, Jack Tucker, Brian Maloney, Amuray Duarte, Adam Finnerty, John MCDonnell, John Martin, Aodha Hession, Shane Purcell, Jason Hoare, Eoghan Coyle, Kaylem Hollian, Mairtin Quinn, Mark Purcell.