Creggs – 21
Corrib – 20
Creggs secured four points by the narrowest of margins in a titanic battle with Corrib at The Green on Friday night. This game could easily have gone either way, the visitors outscored Creggs three tries to two, their usually accomplished place kicker Evan Flynn had an off night and only a thunderous hit by Peter Lohan lifted the siege in the dying minutes when Corrib looked on the cusp of a bonus point victory.
Played in perfect conditions the home side opened well, Mark Brandon converting early Creggs pressure into three points with a penalty goal in the second minute. Flynn balanced the books with his first effort on the quarter hour but Creggs response was instant. From the resulting kick-off the Creggs forwards with Mike Tansey, Leo Nally and Enda Tully all showing up well, secured the ball which was flashed out the line for Damien Miskell to produce a classic wingers finish at the corner flag, Brandon marginally off with the conversion. It got better for Creggs when Brandon cut a swath through the middle, the move was taken on by Tom Callaghan and as he was tackled Tully was on his shoulder to cross under the posts, Brandon adding the conversion.
That was as good as it got for Creggs, however the final 15 minutes of the first half was played out in their 22 and on the 15th successive scrum the Corrib out-half Charles O’Sullivan crossed too easily near the posts, somehow Flynn fluffed the easy conversion.
The introduction of old hands Paul McNeill and Mattie Corcoran either side of half-time bolstered the Creggs scrum which gradually got the upper hand as the game progressed. This was just as well because the Creggs defence again went missing in action as Corrib centre Ronan Casey crossed unopposed between the posts for a converted try to level the scoring 10 minutes into the second half.
At this stage Creggs were almost permanently on the defensive and their problem was compounded when prop Peter Heavey was yellow-carded under his own posts. Strangely enough there was no concurrent penalty and Creggs on a rare foray into their opponents half bagged a vital penalty which Brandon converted to give his side a shaky 3 point lead with 20 minutes remaining. How shaky was underlined almost immediately from the kick-off as Corrib surged up field and Flynn crossed in the left-hand corner for a third try again unconverted.
Corrib continued to press but Creggs were offered some breathing space when influential wing forward Brian Phelan was yellow-carded in the 26th minute. Taking full advantage Creggs surged forward and Brandon slotted a penalty goal on the half hour following good driving work by Tom Fleming and Kevin Brandon. Two minutes later Brandon missed a chance to stretch the lead and with Corrib restored to a full quota they again laid siege to the Creggs line, Flynn missing a very kickable penalty with 3 minutes to go. Still they pressed but as their number 8 John McHugh powered forward he was literally cleaved by Lohan and the resulting Creggs penalty finally got them out of jail and the closing minutes were spent comfortably ensconsed in the Corrib 22.
This Sunday Creggs are away to Ballinrobe in the first round of the Junior Cup.
Creggs : Peter Heavey, Enda Garvey, Mike Tansey, Tom Fleming, Leo Nally, Enda Tully, Kieran Ryan, Kevin Brandon, Ronan Kelly, Mark Brandon, Damien Miskell, Tom Callaghan, Stephen Kilcommons, Stephen Crehan, Emmet Collins.
Reserves : Peter Lohan, Paul McNeill, Mattie Corcoran, Padraig Gavin.