The semi-final line-up for The Bank of Ireland Connacht Junior Cup is complete, with Ballinrobe, Creggs, Tuam and Westport all battling it out to be this year’s champion.

Ballinrobe made it into their third Junior Cup semi-final in a row, defeating a Galwegians 2nd XV who held a 19-6 lead early in the second half. However, the Mayo team didn’t give up and fought hard to eventually claim the 19-21 win in Crowley Park.

They face Creggs in the semis after they defeated Connemara in an intriguing quarter-final clash. Eoghan Coyle and Ronan Dowd were their try scorers on the day, sending their side into the last four under the lights on their home pitch.

Meanwhile, Tuam had a hard-fought victory over Dunmore, eventually coming out 6-0 victors. That was thanks to two first-half penalties from Carl Ward and a resolute defence which didn’t give anything up. They face a Westport side that got the better of University of Galway, scoring two tries to their counterparts single try in a 15-10 win.

Both semi-finals will take place the weekend of March 4/5.

The draw has been made for the Bank of Ireland Junior Cup quarter-finals. 

Tuam’s reward for their comprehensive win over Monivea is a North Galway derby with Dunmore. Tuam showed a supreme attacking prowess in that game, crossing the whitewash six times in a comprehensive 35-7 victory.

Their opponents, Dunmore, didn’t have it as easy, eventually overcoming a resolute Castlebar by a scoreline of 28- 21.

Creggs put in an epic attacking display to defeat Corinthians 2nd XV by 61-19 on Saturday evening. The Buccaneers and Connemara last 16 game wasn’t played, with a decision on that tie being finalised by the competitions committee.

Galwegians 2nd XV were dominant in their last 16 tie with Sligo 2nd XV. They won by 36-5 and will play a Ballinrobe side that continued their impressive cup run with a 20-5 victory over Ballinasloe.

Westport go into the last eight after their 36-14 win over Ballyhaunis. They will play University of Galway, who had a tight 10-13 victory over Corrib RFC.

Full Bank of Ireland Connacht Junior Cup Quarter-final draw

Tuam RFC v Dunmore RFC

Creggs  v TBC (Buccaneers 2nd XV v Connemara last 16 tie wasn’t played)

Galwegians 2nd XV v Ballinrobe RFC

Westport RFC v University of Galway

The Bank of Ireland Cawley Cup returned this weekend, signifying the start of a new season for some of Connacht’s club sides.

Pool A

Pool A saw Buccaneers 2nd XV travel to nearby Creggs, while Castlebar hosted Dunmore.

Buccaneers 2nds looked too strong for their near neighbours, racing into a 16-0 lead at the break. Creggs did manage to get a try on the board, but it was too little, too late, as the visitors travelled back to Athlone with a 21 points to spare.

The other game saw Castlebar prove their worth against Dunmore. The first half was a tentative affair, with the Mayo side going into the break just a point up at 6-5.

After both sides scored two tries, kicking proved the difference as Castlebar ran out 20-12 victors.

Pool B

On a fantastic day for rugby, Connemara welcomed Westport to Clifden for their first game of the season on Sunday. Both sides showed excellent attacking talent throughout, with the Connemara All Blacks eventually coming out on top of a 29-15 scoreline.

Group B’s other game was a Galway derby, as Monivea hosted Tuam.

Here the away side proved to be dominant throughout, scoring eight tries on their way to a 5-48 win. In what was one of the performances of the weekend, Ian Murphy touched down for a hat trick of tries for the visitors.

The Connacht Summer Rugby Camps are in full swing. 

The camps are run by fully accredited IRFU coaches and allow children to enjoy the game of rugby in a safe and fun environment.

We sent a photographer to capture some of the moments in Creggs RFC this week.

There are still places available for a number of camps and more information can be found via Connacht Rugby – Summer Camps 2022

Last week Creggs RFC held a Rugby Fun Day for primary school children, with a theme of inclusivity.

Pat O’ Gorman organised the event, with Connacht staff, and students from both Colaiste Mhuire, Ballygar and the Convent Roscommon helping out on the day.

Creggs RFC will have another Fun Day in Sept/ October next.

 

Creggs Rugby Club wish to invite applications for the position of Head Coach/Player Coach for Season 2022/23 who would have responsibility for implementing a coaching strategy and culture for adult rugby in our club that enables the players to fulfil their potential and deliver consistent high levels of performance.
 
The Head Coach/Player Coach will lead the vision and direction of the club with good motivational skills together with a strong work ethic, self belief, honesty and integrity.
 
The Head Coach/Player Coach will have a close working relationship with the Director of Rugby and Football steering group on all matters relating to rugby in the club. Applicants will need to have relevant coaching experience (IRFU Stage 4 Coach Award) or equivalent together with a successful track record at a high level within rugby. They will be expected to have the ability to lead and manage a coaching / management team and support staff based on mutual respect and excellent communication skills across all teams within the club.
 
Applications should be e-mailed to – Mr. Ger Dowd, Director of Rugby, Creggs RFC., Co. Galway – [email protected]

CONNEMARA 20 CREGGS 14
By John O’Sullivan
 
Connemara qualified for the Connacht Junior Cup semi finals after a hard fought victory over Creggs on Sunday at the Monastery Field.
 
In a repeat of last season’s Junior Cup final, 12 points from Henry O’Toole and a Shane Sweeney try secured victory for the hosts, but it was their defence — which the rock solid centre Eoin Bourke personified — that won the day.
 
The visitors, meanwhile, registered three penalties through Shane Purcell and notched a try from Maurice Buckley. But, despite having the lions share of territory and possession, Creggs were unable to prize open the Blacks stubborn defence on enough occasions. The win gives Connemara the opportunity to complete consecutive Connacht League and Cup doubles.
 
Connemara and Creggs were winners and runners up in both the League and Cup last season and it was clear from the beginning of the game that there was no love lost between both sets of players.
 
The tempo was high and the physicality was intense and it was the home team who started better. The first of many dominant scrums provided clean ball for the Blacks’ backs. The ball was worked to last season’s Connacht Junior Player of the year, Henry O’Toole, and the full back drew a tackle before releasing the scoring pass to winger Shane Sweeney to touch down.
 
5-0 soon became 8-0 with a penalty from O’Toole as another powerful scrum the home team yielded a penalty.
 
If Connemara were dominant in the scrum, then Creggs’ line out was in the ascendancy. Accurate throws from Buckley fed a dominant maul which sent the Blacks marching backwards at a rate of knots. It was through this route that the visitors got themselves on the board. Purcell accurately slotted a penalty after the hosts were penalised for collapsing a maul.
 
Creggs were now well and truly in the game and two Purcell penalties translated their dominance into points. But the Blacks — through O’Toole and Sweeney — scored two three pointers themselves, showing a clinical touch despite having meagre amounts of possession and territory, to make the half time score 14-9.
 
The second half was played in the same manner as the first; Creggs dominant but the hosts defence proving well organised and game, even when two separate yellow cards twice reduced them to 14 men.
 
The ever impressive Shane Dowd at full back and outside centre Eoghan Coyle both made running incisions into Connemara territory but every attempt was met with the same resistance.
 
On the rare occasions they enjoyed possession, the home team made it count on the board; a capability and efficiency that ultimately proved the difference between the sides. Two more O’Toole penalties brought the score to 20-9 and time was running out for Creggs to find a route to victory.
 
Another surging rolling maul saw the visitors drive their opponents backwards and this time — unlike all the others — it bore try scoring fruit with Buckley touching down at the base. The block was against Creggs, however, and when an attempted, quick drop kick conversion drifted wide the final whistle sounded.
 

Connemara team: (15-9): H.O’Toole; S.Sweeney; E.Bourke, D.McDonagh, M.Conneely; C.Jonas, M.O’Toole; (8-1): T.J.Berry, P.Lee; C.O’Malley; K.Keogh, N.Staunton; I.Staunton, B.Gibbons, E.Conroy.

Replacements: M.Mullins, J.Vaughan, D.Kennedy, I.Heanue, F.Heffernan.
 
Creggs team: (15-9): S.Dowd; K.Gavin; E.Coyle, T.Callaghan; S.Purcell, A.Callaghan; (8-1) B.Diffley, P.Lohan, J.Brandon; B.Donoghue, K.Brandon; A.Leech, M.Buckley, T.Fleming.

Replacements: D.Arnold, R.Horan, E.Farrell, R.Cahill, M.Brandon.

The quarter-final draw for the 2020 Connacht Junior Cup has thrown up a repeat pairing of last year’s final with Connemara taking on Creggs in the last eight.
 
Connemara who are reigning J1A league and Junior Cup holders are aiming for a historic back-to-back double, with the Clifden side six points clear of Creggs at the top of J1A with a game in hand.
 
The two sides learned their fate after coming through their Round of 16 ties over the weekend, with Connemara seeing off Loughrea 15-6 while Creggs defeated Westport 16-9.
 
That game is the only all-J1A tie of the quarter-finals. Castlebar who are 4th in J1A will play host to Corrib, Monivea make the trip to Corinthians while Buccaneers play host to Ballinrobe.
 
All the quarter-finals take place this Sunday 19th January with kick-offs at 2pm.
 
2020 CONNACHT JUNIOR CUP

Preliminary Round (Sunday 5th January)
Ballyhaunis 13-3 Galwegians
Corinthians 39-22 Ballina
Corrib 22-13 Dunmore
Loughrea w/o-con NUIG

Round of 16 (Sunday 12th January)
Ballinrobe 15-14 Carrick-on-Shannon
Buccaneers 31-3 Sligo
Castlebar 17-14 Tuam
Corinthians 31-14 Ballyhaunis
Loughrea 6-15 Connemara
Monivea 35-10 Ballinasloe
OLBC 7-61 Corrib
Westport 9-16 Creggs

Quarter-Finals (Sunday 19th January)
Buccaneers v Ballinrobe
Castlebar v Corrib
Connemara v Creggs
Corinthians v Monivea

Connemara won the repeat of last season’s Connacht Junior Cup final with a 16-8 victory away to Creggs on Saturday night, writes John O’Sullivan.
 
The Blacks, who began the game at the top of the Connacht J1A League, trailed to an unconverted Eoghan Coyle try, but rallied in the second half and sealed the victory thanks to a late Curtis Jonas try — added to three Henry O’Toole penalties — which Shane Sweeney converted.
 
Creggs and Connemara went head to head for both the Connacht Junior League and Cup last season, with the Clifden based side victorious in both competitions, and it was clear from the early exchanges that the hosts were keen to avenge their defeats.
 
The tempo of both teams’ defensive line-speed was at a ferocious level and the ambition with ball in hand was evident. The running games that brought so much success for both of the games contestants last season still the weapon choice.
 
However, defensive solidity was the prominent feature of the opening 20 minutes with the game played largely between both sides 22s.
 
It appeared as if it would take something special to open the nights try scoring account, and Creggs duly obliged midway through the half.
 
Eoghan Coyle, brushing off four would be tackles, burst through the Connemara defence and ran in a score of individual brilliance from the halfway line, much to the delight of the large crowd assembled under the new stand at The Green.
 
Shane Purcell’s conversion, from tight to the right hand touchline, was narrowly wide but any lead in a game of such narrow margins felt huge.
 
To the visitor’s credit, the concession of a try stirred a reaction from them and they were on the board themselves not long after. After a high tackle yielded a penalty, O’Toole — last season’s Connacht Junior Player of the Year — slotted the three points to make the score at half time 5-3 in favour of Creggs.
 
The second half saw no dampening of the attacking approach and Creggs’ Brian Diffley and Connemara’s Niall Staunton were both willing and massively effective ball carriers.
 
The home side notched the first points of the half when Purcell, after the Blacks were penalised for being offside, bisected the posts with an accurate penalty.
 
An 8-3 lead would be as good as it got for Creggs, though, as Connemara began to assert themselves and eventually make it count on the scoreboard.
 
Two further O’Toole penalties gave the table toppers a narrow 9-8 lead, but the best was saved to last for Connemara.
 
Picking up at the back of a retreating scrum just inside his own half, number 8 Jack Vaughan made headway through the heart of the Creggs defence before offloading to his scrum half, Michael O’Toole.
 
O’Toole, jinking through contact, found centre David McDonagh whose powerful run brought the Blacks deep into the 22. Before being tackled near the line, McDonagh had the wherewithal to skillfully offload to the onrushing fly half, Jonas, who acrobatically touched down for a try worthy of winning any game.
 
The conversion, from a difficult angle on the left hand side, was struck firmly and true by Sweeney to give the Blacks the win and — perhaps crucially come the end of the season — take the losing bonus point away from Creggs.
 
Creggs
T.Fleming, M.Buckley, A.Leech; I.Whittington, B.Donoghue; P.Lohan, J.Brandon(C), B.Diffley; E.Coyle, S.Purcell; K.Gavin; T.Callaghan, E.Jennings; R.Dowd; S.Dowd.
Replacements:D.Arnold, S.Higgins, K.Brandon, M.Brandon, M.Quinn.
 
Connemara
E.Conroy, B.Gibbons, F.Heffernan; M.Mullins, N.Staunton; J.Vaughan, P.Lee, K.Keogh; M.O’Toole, C.Jonas; P.O’Toole(C); D.McDonagh, E.Bourke; M.Conneely; H.O’Toole.
Replacements: K.Barry, C.O’Malley, S.Sweeney, R.O’Halloran, E.Conneely

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