Creggs pull off sensational comeback to retain crown

Creggs 36

Connemara 33

THERE was an epic conclusion to the Connacht Junior 1A League Final at Dexcom Stadium on Sunday as Creggs defiied the odds with a stunning comeback.

Trailing by a dozen points (26-14) heading into the final quarter, the writing appeared to be on the wall for the club on the Roscommon border, but Creggs refused to accept the seemingly inevitable defeat to stun the Connemara All-Blacks in a memorable finale.

A hat-trick of tries from Mark Dowd, Michael Dunne and Chris Duignan turned a high quality and high scoring final on its head as Creggs snatched the glory from a shell-hocked Connemara outfit.

Creggs had the elements behind them in the first-half, but had to withstand some early pressure before Shane Purcell made a 60 metre break for a try after eight minutes. Purcell then converted his own try.

Connemara hit back with a terrific score by Tommy Mullen, but Creggs scrum half  Mark Dowd responded quickl by breaking clear after a quick tap by Brian Diffley caught the All-Blacks off guard. Purcell landed a superb conversion from the touchline to put Creggs 14-7 ahead,

But Connemara were undaunted. Attacking in waves, they got over for another well-worked try from winger Ian Heanue after a series of rucks spreadeagled the Creggs defence. When their out half Shane Sweeney sliced through for another try shortly before half-time, the signs were becoming ominous for Creggs.

The interval, however, gave them a chance to regroup, with the introduction of vastly experienced campaigners Peter Lohan Tom Callaghan and later Tommy Curley bolstering their defensive set up. The title holders’ line speed improved too in the second half, but Connemara displayed brilliant handling and footwork to run in another try from second row T J Berry to lead 26-14 midway through the half. John O’Brien was causing a lot of problems for the Creggs defence with his incisive runs, but gradually the Creggs backs got control of the congested midfield area.

Pictured: The Creggs squad which retained the Connacht Junior 1A league title by overcoming the Connemara All-Blacks at Dexcom Stadium on Sunday. Back row, left to right: Jack Tucker, Mark Kilcommons, Thomas O’Brien, Mark Dowd, Mark Brandon, James Brandon, Sean Og Higgins, Mike Feeley, Eoghan Coyle, Ciaran Purcell, Danny Arnold , Tom Farrell, Jack Fleming, Padraig Geraghty, Front row: Tommy Curley, Maurice Buckley, Shane Purcell, Chris Duignan, Mike Diffley (capt), Sean Lohan, Mikey Dunne, Mark Purcell, Tom Farrell, Eoghan Cahill, Tommy Devine.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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