Connacht Junior 1A League
Buccaneers RFC 0, Creggs RFC 21.
On a brutal night for rugby but Creggs took the spoils from Dubarry Park but the contest was closer than the scoreline suggests. Creggs were short a few regular squad members and Buccaneers started their strongest J1 team of the season so far.
Creggs defended brilliantly to keep the home side scoreless, particularly for a a twenty minutes period in the second half and also added eight points after half-time when playing against the raging elements.
Despite playing into the wind Buccaneers had the better of the opening exchanges before Shane Purcell landed a penalty goal for the visitors on thirteen minutes. The resulting low flying kick off saw two players leave the field, Creggs Alan Brandon and his opposite number Tom Gilheany thankfully got up from a nasty ground level knee to knee collision but Brandon had to leave the field immediately with Gilheany following shortly afterwards.
The conditions made running rugby almost impossible and you could see the frustration building up in the Creggs backs who now had the monopoly of possession thanks to dominant forwards but were unable to extract any dividend.
Purcell increased the Creggs lead with a penalty goal in the 26th. minute and just before half time, he spurned another shot at goal in favour of a kick to the corner which ultimately yielded a try between the posts from Aidan Leech, which Purcell converted to leave Creggs deservingly 13-0 ahead at the interval.
Now facing into the driving wind and rain Creggs were afforded another penalty chance five minutes into the second half which Purcell duly slotted but Buccaneers had thirty five minutes to claw back that lead and set about doing so with a sustained series of attacks inside the Creggs 22 for close to twenty minutes. Creggs managed to brilliantly repel with strong scrummaging and tackling and a number of relieving clearances from scrum half Eoghan Coyle.
Coyle was unfortunate when the referee failed to play advantage as he gathered a spilled ball in the tackle and looked set for a potential breakaway try but the referee called a Creggs scrum immediately, which left them back in the danger zone.
Creggs showed tremendous discipline as they were running down the clock, had very much the upper hand in a series of punishing scrums and eventually lifted the siege through a breakout by the newly introduced Danny Arnold and carried on by Tom Fleming.
The latter, who along with Leech and others had been a powerhouse throughout, surged through the middle of the park and this set the platform for a series of drives from Maurice Buckley, Elliot Jennings, Eoghan Farrell and Fleming again into the home side’s five metre line. Quick recycled ball from Coyle ended with full back Shane Dowd crossing in the corner to put even a losing bonus beyond Buccaneers reach with four minutes remaining. It finished with Creggs taking the spoils on a 21-0 scoreline – a great team performance!
This Sunday Creggs travel to Clifden for a top of the table clash with the Connemara All Blacks who on Sunday notched up another bonus point win away to Sligo. This leaves the Blacks six points ahead of Creggs so anything other than a Creggs win will leave Connemara very much in the driving seat as they bid to retain their league title.
Creggs Rugby: Tom Fleming, Maurice Buckley, Aidan Leech, Sean Og Higgins, Brian Donoghue, Alan Brandon, Brian Diffley, Kevin Brandon, Eoghan Coyle, Shane Purcell, Kevin Gavin, Elliot Jennings, Pete Lohan, Martin Quinn, Shane Dowd, Danny Arnold, Eoghan Farrell, Michael Feeley, Michael Holland, Chris Duignan.
Buccaneers RFC: Oisin Kiernan, Darren Buckley, Matthew Murphy, Anthony Lynch, Darragh Muarray, Brian McDonnell, Tom Gilheany, Owen Treacy, Colin Daly, Michael Hanley, Callumn Ford, Rob Teape, Corey Reid, Harry Hughes, Eoin O’Reilly, Trevor Thompson, Dylan Rogers, Ross Flanagan, Gerard Fallon, Thomas McGann.