Connacht Under-17A League:
Sligo RFC 29, Creggs RFC 31.
For the second week running an under-strength Creggs Under-17 team took to the field and put in a heroic performance. Missing 10 of their squad, they travelled more in hope than expectation last Sunday morning. And when Sligo ran in a try and converted after only two minutes and scored another try after 7 minutes to take a 12-0 lead it looked like it could be a long day at the office for the lads.
Creggs did rally and looked good with ball in hand and after 12 minutes good work up front by Darragh Kiernan, Luke Divilly, and Ciaran Corcoran produced quick ball for Mark Dowd who moving the ball very quickly from the base of the ruck. The Creggs backs transferred the ball through the hands and Jack Deegan went over in the corner. Mark Purcell converted from close to the sideline.
The big Sligo forwards were causing issues for the Creggs defence early on and Sligo crossed for two further tries in the first half, one of which was converted and Sligo led by 22-7 after 20 minutes.
However, the resilient Creggs lads rallied again and brilliant work from Darren Gately, Mark Purcell and Cian Glennon released Aaron Lyons on the wing who outpaced the defence to touch down which Mark Purcell again converted on the stroke of half time for the Creggs lads to go in 22-14 at half time.
Creggs now believed that an upset could be on the cards and played brilliant in both attack and defence for the majority of the second half with Ethan Glennon, Ronan Lambe and Conor McNulty excelling in the set piece and Tiernan O Sullivan brilliant at the breakdown while Naoise Coyle was a constarnt threat on the wing putting in some excellent kicks to keep Sligo under pressure.
Creggs spent most of the half in Sligo’s 22′ and Shane Connaughton went over for two well taken tries after Sligo were penalised for a couple of infringements near their line and Aaron Lyons going over for his second try after a very good off-load by Mark Purcell for Creggs to lead by 31-22 with 11 minutes remaining. A remarkable turnaround!
Sligo did get back into the game with 4 minutes remaining with a try and convert but the Creggs lads held out for a wonderful 31-29 victory.
If this promising Creggs team win at home next Sunday v Corinthians, they should qualify for the Connacht Under-17 League Semi-Final at the end of January, with one more game still to play v Monivea in mid-January.
Creggs Rugby: Jack Deegan, Daniel O Brien, Ciaran Purcell, Naoise Coyle, Aaron Lyons, Cian Glennon, Mark Purcell, Darren Gately, Mark Dowd, Conor McNulty, Ronan Lambe, Ethan Glennon, Darragh Kiernan, Luke Divilly, Ciaran Corcoran, Tiernan O Sullivan, Shane Connaughton, and Mark Silva.