BALLINASLOE 16 13 CREGGS

Ballinasloe and Creggs served up a hugely exciting  encounter in this ninth round league fixture at Ballinasloe on Sunday. After eighty enthralling minutes the locals emerged three point winners on the score line of 16pts to 13. Full credit to both sides for providing such entertainment on a cold but dry afternoon with the Winter sun paying occasional visits.

Creggs gave early warning of their intent when they put up a well measured garryowen, that was fumbled by the opposition, and followed up by kicking ahead to put pressure on the locals close to their own line.

However, Ballinasloe settled before taking the lead in the seventh minute. Flanker, Aidan Doorley, demonstrated neat dribbling skills before punting the ball over the visitor’s line for Kealan O’Neill to dive on it for the opening try. He also added the conversion.

With both sides willing to have a go, the action moved about freely and a lively contest was developing.

Penalties were exchanged mid-way through the half; first Noel Flynn for Creggs and then O’Neill for Ballinasloe to bring the score to 10pts to 3.

 Creggs upped the ante approaching half time and brought play into the locals half. They were rewarded in the thirty fourth minute when Flynn landed his second penalty. The visitors now smelt blood and went after their quarry with gusto.

The home side were put under severe  pressure while trying to hold out until half time. Creggs built a number of phases just metres from their line and the local’s defence began to creak. Breaking point came just before the change over when strong running centre, Bernard Kilcommins, cut through for a try with Flynn posting the extras to leave the visitors three points ahead at half time.

Creggs dominated field possession in the opening exchanges of the second half. They missed an opportunity to extend their lead after fifty minutes when wide with a penalty kick.

Just as the game seemed to be slipping away from Ballinasloe they summoned up their second wind. A huge maul from near half way into their opponents twenty two gave them the momentum they needed. It was now their turn to exert the kind of pressure that they themselves had been subjected to prior to half time. Big drives, first from Mark Harrigan and then from J.J.Carey had them inches from the try line without getting over.

They eventually came away with a levelling penalty from O’Neill with six minute left to play.

The closing stages became very tense with both sides sensing victory. The referee was looking at his watch as he penalised Creggs for killing the ball. Again up stepped O’Neill to land a monster kick from close to fifty metres out. A second win for Ballinasloe on the trot ? ?—well not yet.

Creggs had one final fling to retrieve their situation and were awarded a penalty when the locals were penalised for a high tackle. Flynn lined up a last second kick at goal from about thirty five metres out to level the match but it veered to the left of the posts and the home side gratefully accepted the league points on offer.

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