Monday 20 November 2017

Cosgrove to the fore as Tuam stay strong to stun Ballinasloe

Connacht Junior Cup action from Ballina versus Creggs
Connacht Junior Cup action from Ballina versus Creggs Newdesk

Tuam travelled to a much fancied J1A side Ballinasloe on Sunday for the quarter-final of the Heineken Junior Cup.

Coached by former Ireland international Noel Mannion, Ballinasloe threatened the Tuam line first with some smart play by their huge forward pack but the Tuam side stood firm in defence to show the home side they were up for a battle.

The away side rushed into a 6-0 lead thanks to two penalties which out-half Eoin Cosgrove struck neatly between the posts.

Tuam dominated the scrum led by Cathal Dempsey, Stephen Leo and Patrick Cunningham in the front row, and a stunned Ballinasloe could do nothing to stop the rampaging hooker Dempsey from barrelling over on the 30th minute for a well worked try.

Cosgrove added a fantastic touchline conversion to make it 13-0 to Tuam at half-time.

Ballinasloe regrouped to start the second half strongly but Tuam absorbed every attack with tackle after tackle - back-row duo Stephen Burke and Brian Ruane were outstanding.

As Tuam pushed for another score gaps began to appear in the home side's defence and mistakes led to penalties. The classy Cosgrove knocked over two kicks in the 50th and 65th minute to push Tuam's lead out to 19-0.

Tuam's discipline slipped on occasion, with three yellow cards, but at times they seemed stronger with 14 men as each player put in a huge performance to fill the gap left by each sin-binning.

The final score was 19-0 to Tuam, who now move on to a semi final away to Westport on Sunday at 2.0.

Elsewhere, the other form sides in J1B were unable to follow Tuam's lead by defeating J1A opposition.

NUIG and Creggs, who are separated by just four points at the top of J1B, took on Westport and Ballina respectively.

Westport defeated NUIG 22-6 to set up a semi final tie with Tuam, while Creggs were downed 10-3 on home soil by Ballina.

Ballina will have to wait a little longer to find out the identity of their semi final opponents as the last 16 clash between Loughrea and Galwegians fell victim to the poor weather conditions.

Irish Independent

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