Creggs 21 Ballina 13

Creggs defeated a strong and determined Ballina team in Sunday’s Ard na Cregg Cup tie at the Green to advance to the quarter final against old rivals Tuam.

Ballina strated impressively and camped inside Creggs territory for the bulk of the opening quarter. It was against the run of play when Creggs outhalf Ronan Kelly snapped up a loose pass to carve the Ballina defence to shreds and touch down under the posts for a fine solo try, which Robbie Kilcommons converted.

Ballina hit back with a penalty from Stephen Lackan when Creggs strayed offside in midfield and the Mayo men went ahead in the 34th minute when winger Willi Beattie crashed over for a try.

However, just before half time, Ronan Kely made another superb ru through the Ballina cover and he offloaded to the supporting Ruairi Leddy who touched down for a vital try for the home team. Robbie Kilcommons converted to give Creggs a somewhat flattering 14-8 lead at the break.

Barry Kilcommons entered the fray for the second half and he used all his power and experrience to give Creggs an edge in th eforward exchanges. With Kevin Raftery impressing at the lineout, Creggs went further ahead when Ronan Kely crossed for his second key of the afternoon in the 55ht minutes, Robbie Kilcommon sagain extracting maximum points with a well-struck conversion.

Ballina launched an attack from the drop opff, which resulted in a well-worked try by outhalf Stephen Lacken, who glided past several defenders on his way to the line. Significantly, the relatively straighforward conversion drifted wide and so Creggs still enjoyed an eigh-point advantage which they held on to until the end, despite enduring a nervous last ten minutes with impressive scrum half Ruairi Leddy consigned to the sin bin.

Creggs tackled with force in a frantic last quarter as Ballina went all out in search of victory. David Drury, Paul Mahony and Enda O’Rourke pulled off some vital tacikles while up front, Peter Heavey, Larry Mannion and Robbie Kilcommons were prominent in driving Creggs forward. Veteran Kevin O’Rourke also made a major contribution to this victory, with a powerful display in the Creggs engineroom.

Creggs have home advantage against Tuam in he quarter final and will be hoping to reverse the result from last season’s semi final which Tuam won narrowly, before going on to win the final comfortably.

Creggs: Pat Cunningham, John Walsh, Paul Mahony, David Drury, Enda O’Rourke, Ronan Kellyl, Ruairi Leddy; Larry Mannion, Peter Heavey, Robbie Kilcommons, Kevin O’Rourke, Mike Lindsay, Kieran Osbourne, Kieran Ryan, Kevin Raftery, Ken Kene, Barry Kilcommons, Dave Purcell.


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