Creggs 3 West Offaly Lions 28

-3Lions power to victory

The West Offaly Lions travelled in force to the Green for Sunday’s vital top-of-the-table decider and dealt a huge blow to Creggs’ promotion hopes with a comprehensive and fully deserved victory.
Second row Anthony Quinn’s injury time try gained an invaluable bonus point for his team, and by scoring it, secured the League title for the Lions. Ironically, Creggs had spent the previous ten minutes camped inside the Lions’ 22, but one dropped pass gave them the chance to sweep upfield and Quinn applied the finishing touch to a score worthy of winning any game. He had been one of the star performers in a strong and determined Lions pack, which held the upperhand in most facets of play, despite a sterling display by the Creggs scrum.
The Lions settled quickly into the game whereas Creggs looked nervous and hesitant in the early exchanges, making some uncharacteristic errors which enabled the visitors to gain a foothold in Creggs territory. After 15 minutes, this pressure paid off when winger Jeff Cuskilly reacted sharply to outhalf Donal Corbett’s perfectly weighted chip towards the tryline and he duly won the race for the touchdown. Corbett’s superb touchline convertion served notice of his placekicking prowess and he continued in similar fashion, landing all four conversions to extract maximum reward for his team. Ja Hughes quickly brought Creggs back to 7-3, when he calmly slotted over a penalty after the Lions strayed offside in -4midfield.
The rest of the first half was fast and furious, but the Lions were noticeably sharper at the breakdown and their support play was top class. By contrast, Creggs were making some impressive individual breaks but the players often became isolated though lack of support. When the Lions had a player sin-binned just before halftime, Creggs appeared to have a great chance of forging ahead, but they couldn’t generate sufficient momentum to take advantage of their numerical superiority. When the sinbin period had elapsed, the Lions upped the tempo and outhalf Donal Corbett sliced through the Creggs defence for a try under the posts which he converted to leave the home team trailing by 14 – 3.  
The Lions continued to tackle everything that moved, so Creggs just couldn’t make a decisive break. Barry Egan looked most likely to succeed with some determined running down the wing, but good cover defence kept him out. When scrumhalf George Mooney darted over for the Lions third try with 14 minutes remaining, it was obvious that this was going to be their day, but, to their credit, Creggs kept battling away and, in fact, played their best rugby in the final quarter. However, despite dominating possession in the closing stages, Creggs’ handling let them down on several occasions when the tryline beckoned, before Anthony Quinn’s late try secured a famous victory for the Offaly men.
-5 The scenes of jubilation which followed the League Cup presentation to impressive hooker and captain Ronnie Guinan will live long in the memories of the large and enthusiastic band of supporters, who had witnessed a fine display by a team that proved just too good for Creggs on the day.
For Creggs, it was a disappointing outcome to a League campaign which promised so much for so long. There is still a lot of work to be done, but coach Noel Flynn and captain Kevin Brandon, alongside the remarkable stalwart, Kevin O’Rourke, have achieved a lot this season.
While there appears to be a bit of uncertainty at this stage, the likelihood is that Creggs should still have a chance of promotion to Division 1, if the playoff with the loser of Ballinrobe v OLBC goes ahead as scheduled.
Creggs: Dave Flahive, Barry Egan, Brendan Hester, Conor Brandon, Bernard Kilcommons, Kevin Brandon, Mike Fleming: Pat Coffey, Peter Heavey, Paul McNeill, Kevin O’Rourke, Tom Fleming, Mark Hester, Kieran Coyne, Ja Hughes, Kevin Martin, Noel Flynn, Matt Corcoran, Noel Hussey, Enda Mulkerrins.

U13s reach semi final

Creggs U13 Connacht Cup Quarter Final

Creggs 35 Corinthians 31

What a cracking game of rugby this was last Sunday in Corinthian Park, Galway. It was full of action, incident, excitement and ten tries equally shared between the two teams. Creggs finally edged it with a great try from No. 8 Brian Diffley with the last play of the game.
Creggs began the game as if they were overawed by their senior club opponents and they allowed Corinthian’s No. 8 to waltz through them from a tap penalty for a converted try under the posts. Creggs responded well with the straight running centres Connor Gore and Tomás Clayton setting up good positions and a series of rucks saw the ball passed from scrum half Kevin Gavin, who linked very well with out-half Shane Dowd and then to Connor Gore who scored close to the posts. Shane Dowd converted and shortly afterward Brian Diffley crossed for a try supported by Andrew Clark, Thomas Betagh, Kieran White and Jack Gunning. Creggs were rocked back by two further tries from Corinthians, to leave the home team 19-14 ahead at half time.
Creggs needed a good start to the second period but they did not get it and Corinthians crossed in the corner for an unconverted try. Creggs responded again and a try from Brian Diffley helped by front row Simon Spain, Jamie Granahan and Michael Kelly quickly followed by a try from Shane Dowd with good support from Brian Collins, Dara Gunning and Michael Farrell had Creggs leading with seven minutes left. However, Corinthians scored again and Creggs looked beaten. A great final few minutes with substitute Matthew Butt making some telling interventions saw man-of-the-match Brian Diffley cross for his third try. Shane Dowd converted all five tries and with his final kick the referee blew full time for a great victory.
Creggs now play Westport or Sligo in the semi finals in a few weeks’ time. Training continues next Tuesday night at 7 pm.
Creggs: S. Spain, J. Granahan, M. Kelly, J. Beattie, B. Collins, A. Clarke, B. Diffley, K. White, K. Gavin, S. Dowd, D. Gunning, C. Gore, T. Clayton, J. Gunning, M. Farrell, M. Butt, J. Keegan, J. Walker, J. McNally, B. Garvey, M. Regan, D. Ward, M. Regan, E. Fox, J. Haugh, R. O’Donoghue, D. O’Loughlin.

Good luck
We wish Creggs players Tom Callaghan, David Butler, Eamon O’Gorman, Scott Oates and Jonathan Clarke all the best next Wednesday in the Connacht Schools Senior Cup Final as they play for Sligo Grammar School.

Mini rugby
The Connacht Blitz took place in Buccaneers RFC Athlone last Saturday and Creggs U11 team acquitted themselves very well with three wins out of three against Ballina (three tries to nil), Galwegians (four tries to one) and Castlebar (three tries to nil). Ronan Dowd, James Brandon, Eoin Coyle, Shane Purcell, Thomas Hanley, Arron Glennon and Ben McGahon scored tries and we had great performances from Niall Cunniffe, Padraic Gaffey, Danny Arnold, Michael Brandon, Michael Hanley, Thomas Hestor and Brandon Hanmore. We had some great handling and tackling from David O’Gorman, Brian Maloney and Cian Gately. Mini rugby continues for U8, U9, U10, U11 and U12 teams next Saturday at 11 am.

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