Cawley Cup Final.
Creggs RFC 19, Castlebar RFC 0.
Creggs played in the inaugural Cawley Cup Final, they lost that day to Monivea but 15 years later finally got their hands on the one major trophy which has thus far eluded the Club.
The Cawley Cup is confined to the top eight junior teams based on the previous year’s league rankings and for many of the intervening years Creggs did not even qualify for the competition so this decisive victory over Castlebar, following earlier defeats of junior powerhouses Connemara and Monivea means Creggs are back again at the top table of Connacht junior rugby.
Having performed particularly well in the run up to this game Creggs began nervously but nonetheless opened the scoring in the eighth minute when centre Elliot Jennings crossed in the corner after Brian Diffley and Eoghan Farrell had powered up the middle and Jennings had the pace and power to finish in the corner with Mark Brandon, one of two survivors from the 2003 team nailing the difficult conversion.
Conditions were difficult and Castlebar opted for their favoured pick and go strategy but whilst Creggs had to absorb a significant amount of pressure the defence held. The situation worsened for Castlebar after 25 minutes when their second row Ruairi Hughes saw yellow and just before he was due to resume, Creggs struck again, the second try in many ways a facsimile of the first.
Diffley made the initial break, this time supported by Kevin Brandon, the other link to the 2003 team and now in his second innings as club captain and when the ball was spun out wide full back Ronan Dowd ran a perfect line to elude the defence, this time Mark Brandon’s conversion attempt rebounded off the post. The teams turned around with Creggs 12-0 ahead and firmly in control.
Five minutes into the second half Shane Dowd added a third try with a magnificent solo effort which effectively killed the game as a contest. From a position on the half way Dowd jinked his way through the opposition, wrong footing the defence and ultimately leaving them in his wake with a blistering turn of pace to touch down between the posts, Mark Brandon adding the conversion.
Castlebar battled right to the end but they could not crack the Creggs defence which, as it has all season, maintained its discipline and afforded their opponents not a single shot at goal.
In the final half hour both sides had some half chances but there were no further scores and Creggs had bridged a 22 year gap since their last top level success.
This is a singular achievement for head coach Pat Cunningham (who also played in the 2003 Final) and his management team, Creggs have now won promotion and claimed both the Curley and Cawley Cups in this calendar year. The team now takes a well-earned break but their quest for the League title resumes on Saturday 5th January in Creggs, again against Castlebar with the first round of the Cup the following week against Sligo, also at home.
These are exciting times for the Club with the grounds development, including the magnificent new all-weather facility coming to a finish.
Creggs Rugby: Ronan Dowd, Luke Meehan, Elliot Jennings, Tom Callaghan, Chris Duignan, Shane Dowd, Mark Brandon, Aidan Leech, Maurice Buckley, Eoghan Farrell, Brian Donoghue, Tom Oates, James Brandon, Brian Diffley, Kevin Brandon (Captain), Sean Og Higgins, Ronan Cahill, Edward Clinton, Michael Fleming, and Michael Feeley.
Castlebar RFC: L Molloy, S Tonra, F Murphy, D Mulgrew, R Hughes, R Hughes, M Staunton, D Staunton, D Togher, L Staunton (captain), A Feeney, J Rowland, C Carter, F Walsh, F Casey, J Staunton, G Sullivan, P Conneally, D King, E Murphy.
Referee: D Maguire – Connacht Branch.
Creggs Under-17’s qualify for Connacht League Semi-Final
Connacht Under-17A League:
Creggs RFC 25, Corinthians RFC 10.
Creggs Under-17’s secured their Connacht Under-17 Division 1 semi final spot with a win over Galway Corinthians RFC in Creggs last Sunday.
Corinthians came straight out of the blocks in this game and scored a try and convert after only 2 minutes to take a 7-0 lead and it took Creggs a while to settle and never got to build substantial phases due to dropped balls and loose passing early on let Corinthians off the hook when a score looked likely but Creggs did respond with a try from Adam Donnelly in the corner after 12 minutes to reduce the deficit to 7 points to 5 after good work from Conor McNulty and Mark Dowd.
Corinthians were looking dangerous with the ball in hand in the opening half and they got a penalty after 17 minutes to stretch the lead to 10-5 but Creggs again responded with a long range penalty of their own from Mark Purcell just on the stroke of half time to go in losing 10-8.
For the second week in a row, Creggs were far improved in the second half Darragh Kiernan, Luke Divilly, and Shane Connaughton doing well upfront and Sean Trundle at 9 linking well with Cian Glennon, Aaaron Lyons and Darren Gately out the backs and after Corinthians were penalised at the breakdown Mark Purcell stepped forward and kicked another long range penalty for Creggs to take the lead for the first time after 5 minutes of the second period
Creggs were dominant up front and were playing the game in the Corinthians 22″ and Jack Tucker, Ethan Glennon, Tiernan O Sullivan and Ronan Lambe were excellent in open play and in the set piece and after a a number of phases Ciaran Corcoran got in for two tries both of Which Mark Purcell converted for a comfortable lead of 25-10.
Creggs will have one more league game after Christmas away to Monivea before the league semi finals take place in mid January.
Creggs Rugby: Jack Deegan, Daniel O’Brien, Daniel Hill, 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, Sean Trundle, Jack Tucker, and Adam Donnelly.
YOUTH Team’s (Boys) Fixtures
Creggs Under-16’s play Monivea RFC on this Thursday evening at 7.30pm in Creggs.
Creggs Under-15’s game with Sligo RFC was cancelled due to weather last weekend will be refixed for this Saturday in Creggs at 1.30pm.
N.B. – Always check CreggsRugby.ie for any late changes to the fixtures.
Creggs Minis are now on a Christmas break. We do hope to have an evening for all the Mini players players(Boys and girls from Under-7’s up to Under-12’s) on Sunday, December 30th in the Club. There will games for all under the lights on the new 4G pitch, with further details to follow.
A big thank you and a Happy Christmas to all the coaches and parents for their continued great contribution to Mini Rugby in Creggs.