Connaught Junior League
Creggs, Saturday 29 September 2012
Castlebar – 19
Creggs – 17
Superior forward power carried the day for Castlebar but only after a thrilling second half in which Creggs outscored the visitors but not by enough to claw back a half time 5 point deficit.
League leaders Castlebar came into this game strongly fancied on the back of two bonus point victories and opened at a blistering pace which Creggs struggled to match. No. 7 Shane Casey was particularly prominent in a marauding back row but Creggs clung on to keep the game scoreless and missed a chance to take the lead after 15 minutes when Noel Flynn, so sure footed of late badly skewed his opening penalty attempt. From then on it was mostly Castlebar attacking, Creggs defending with gusto and confining their opponents to just one kickable penalty which rebounded off the right hand post, was well retrieved by Kevin Brandon and no. 8 Ja Hughes relieved the danger with a huge clearance kick. Relief however was short-lived as Castlebar laid siege to the Creggs line and hooker Ian McDonagh crossed on the stroke of half time for a try which Jason Keane failed to convert. The second half began in much the same way and following a series of scrums on the Creggs 5 metre line scrum half Keane crossed near the post for a try which he duly converted.
12-0 down with half an hour to go, it looked ominous for Creggs but Noel Flynn landed a long range penalty after 20 minutes and 2 minutes later scrum half Enda Gavin touched down between the posts for a magnificent individual try, Flynn adding the conversion. Disaster struck as Creggs failed to deal with the resulting kick-off affording Castlebar a succession of scrums and rolling mauls which ultimately yielded Castlebar’s third try from reserve prop Liam Molloy, Keane again adding the conversion. Remarkably Creggs recovered from this to strike back almost immediately, good back play ending in a Noel Flynn try after David Brandon came into the line from full back and passed inside to his out half who landed the difficult conversion, leaving the score delicately balanced at 19-17. Castlebar had further chances but Keane missed a kickable penalty, were generally stopped in their tracks by ferocious tackling from the Creggs midfield Bernie Kilcommons and Kieran Ryan and the back row, particularly Tom Callaghan. And when they did break through, Brandon was unyielding as their last line of defence, hitting a couple of last ditch tackles to deprive the visitors of a bonus point. In fact the last chance fell to Creggs, Gavin obstructed as he chased his own kick ahead to within striking distance of the Castlebar posts but the referee saw no infringement and sounded the final whistle in somewhat controversial circumstances.
Creggs have no league game this weekend which will afford a badly needed rest for some players, the front row has proved a problem area, with Sean Og Higgins and Paul McNeill retiring early to injuries, adding to a growing casualty list in this crucial department.
Next up Buccaneers, Sunday 14 October in Dubarry Park, kick-off 3 pm.
Creggs : D. Brandon, S Kilcommons, K Ryan, B Kilcommons, E Gilleran, N Flynn, E Gavin, M Corcoran, S O Higgins, P McNeill, R Cassidy, K Brandon, T Nee, T Callaghan, J Hughes.
Replacements : S Quinn, P Lohan, L Mannion, M Tiley, J Walsh.
Castlebar : M Conlon, O O’Malley, L Staunton, N Byrne, D Moran, s Rogan, J Keane, D Staunton, S Casey, D Mulgrew, R Hughes, M Staunton, D Flannery, I McDonagh.