Buccaneers Under 20s 36 Greystones 13
Buccaneers U-20’s made a winning start to life in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Division 2 when they put in a splendid second half performance to defeat Greystones 36-13 at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. These young Pirates showed terrific courage and composure to retrieve a 13-0 half-time deficit to reel in the visitors, all the more commendable when they were down to 13 players either side of the interval.
Buccs endured a torrid season last year in the top flight, their campaign not helped by an inordinate number of absentees mainly through injury. Quite a number of the current squad were involved then and it proved a steep and often difficult learning curve for what was in the main a very young panel. Nevertheless, they battled week in, week out, and now wiser and stronger they are finding their collective feet and enjoying their rugby again. They are not the finished article yet and they made life difficult for themselves at times, particularly in the first half, but their resilience and will is undiminished.
Greystones had the benefit of the strong breeze blowing directly towards the Buccaneers posts in the opening half. However, they found the hosts in battling mood and, although Buccs spent long periods in their own half, the Wicklow side were finding it hard to be a real threat. Their first scoring opportunity was a 12th minute penalty but Shane Marmion’s placekick was weak. But an ill-judged error by James Foley to kick clear against the elements in a tight situation backfired two minutes later when Matt Dalton blocked down and reacted quickest to notch a gift-wrapped opening score. Greystones doubled their advantage when they mauled over the home line with Cian Maguire grounding the ball for a 27th minute try, also unconverted.
Buccs first significant threat did not materialise until the 32nd minute when Foley fed Ross Cooper and the No.8 sent Sam Hastings darting along the right flank but the outhalf lost control of the ball in the tackle as he endeavoured to ground the ball. Five minutes later Darren Buckley incurred a harsh yellow card and Marmion, whose place-kicking was well below par, could not miss on this occasion from in front of the posts. This gave the Leinster side a 13-0 advantage and, following a schmozzle in the dying moments of the half, Brian Collins was singled out by the referee to join his hooker in the sin bin.
Buccs showed great resolve and tenacity on the change of ends to keep the visitors penned back, despite their numerical deficiency. They were helped a little when Greystones substitute Donal Smith soon saw yellow and, when they returned to full complement, the Athlone side promptly made it count on the scoreboard. They made life uncomfortable for the visitors on their put in at a scrum and forced a close-in lineout. When possession was moved swiftly to Foley, he powered through the centre before off-loading to Hastings who stretched over the line for a smashing 49th minute try converted by Cooper.
Seven minutes later, Oisin Rowe plundered possession from a Greystones lineout and he darted away for an unconverted try wide on the left to reduce the arrears to the bare minimum before Cooper nosed the Pirates in front with a 64th minute penalty. Shellshocked Greystones finally put some phases together in response but Buccs relentless chasing and tackling disrupted the visitors and Tom McGann snaffled possession inside his own ten metre line to hare away for a super 68th minute try at the posts. Cooper added the conversion to put the midlanders 22-13 ahead.
Two minutes later, the flying winger almost repeated the feat when he got a block on Simon Smith’s attempted grubber kick but just could not escape the clutches of a stretched defence on this occasion. However, the bonus point try for the homesters was merely delayed for one minute when Foley rampaged through in ‘Axel’ fashion for a try converted by Cooper who then missed a tricky 75th minute penalty. Just before the finish, Jack Delahunt (younger brother of Shane) stormed through for Buccaneers fifth try. Cooper, on kicking duty in the absence of Luke Carty (a surprise call-up to the Connacht A squad), drilled over a mighty conversion to complete the 36-13 winning margin.
This was a magnificent comeback by Buccs who displayed tremendous character and focus in the second half to turn the tide, both in this contest and in their overall sequence of results. A stirring and sustained collective effort gained its due reward. Rowe was magnificent in a smashing back row trio where Cooper and Owen Maher were constant thorns to the visitors. Buckley, though sometimes a little impetuous, shone in a battling front row trio. Foley, playing out of position in the centre, was yanked ashore for a period after some giddy decision making but he responded with a bullocking contribution for the final half-hour. Hastings and Paddy Browne were generally neat and tidy at halfback while McGann showed his prowess, and possession should be sent in his direction faster and more often. Overall, it was a hugely encouraging all-round effort by Buccaneers that will instil belief and confidence in these young players.
Buccaneers:- D.Keane; T.McGann, D.Mannion, J.Foley, C.Joncker; S.Hastings, P.Browne; N.Farrelly, D.Buckley, C.Cleary; B.Collins, R.Milner; O.Rowe, O.Maher and R.Cooper. Rolling substitutes:- N.O’Hare, D.Farrelly, O.O’Reilly, S.McGuinness, J.Delahunt, R.Convey and C.Harewood.
Greystones:- S.Smith; D.Shiel, M.Dalton, S.Marmion, E.Doyle; Z.Lee Collis, D.Curran; C.Maguire, S.O’Shaughnessy, S.Doyle; R.Mannion, T.Maguire; R.Delaney, M.Corry and E.Baker. Rolling substitutes:- D.Smith, S.O’Reilly, M.O’Reilly, L.Roberts, K.Hackett and M.O’Toole.
REFEREE:- Danny Maguire (Connacht).
Buccaneers Seconds 27 Monivea 20
Buccaneers Seconds recorded a crucial 27-20 victory over Monivea in their Connacht Junior 1A League clash played in good conditions at Dubarry Park on Saturday. An early scoring salvo sent the much improved Pirates on their way and they had all their try bonus point secured by half-time.
Buccs made four changes in personnel for this encounter with Callum Boland and Graham Lynch forming a new halfback partnership. Niall Flynn returned in the back row while Trevor Thompson started at tighthead prop with Rory Grenham switching to hooker. The Pirates were quickly into their stride with a crossfield kick setting Harry Hughes up for the opening try after just 8 minutes. Four minutes later a similar ploy was finished off by Eoghan O’Reilly with Boland converting this try for a 12-0 advantage.
The impressive Boland, making his first start of the season, notched the third try on the half-hour mark before Monivea opened their account with a 35th minute try by their skipper Stephen Joyce. Matt Mannion converted and added a penalty before the interval which saw the westerners tightening their arrears before Grenham drove over for a bonus point try for the hosts in the final move of a lively half. Boland added the conversion to leave Buccs 24-10 to the good at the interval.
Monivea kept battling and Seamus Fahy landed an early second half penalty. Ger Fitzmaurice’s 50th minute try, converted by Mannion, left the game finely balanced with Buccs lead now reduced to 24-20 but the Athlone side had the final say when substitute Alex Hayman thumped over a 58th minute penalty to complete the scoring.
Both teams gave it their all in an exciting affair and Buccs bonus point win sees them leapfrog Monivea into the top four on the league table. Grehan was their outstanding forward while Jimmy Connell carried a lot of ball as he continues to develop at No.8. Boland was the pick of the backline where O’Reilly and Sean Flynn did well. The Pirates also had the tonic of returns to action by Boland, Hayman and David Butler.
Buccaneers:- G.Fallon; B.Walshe, E.O’Reilly, S.Flynn, H.Hughes; C.Boland, G.Lynch; K.Grehan, R.Grenham, T.Thompson; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, T.Couper and J.Connell. Rolling substitutes:- C.Kelly, C.Conroy, A.Hayman, N.Purcell and D.Butler.
Monivea:- J.Kilmartin; K.Divilly, C.Neary, M.Mannion, E.Hogan; S.Fahy, D.Blade; P.Mannion, M.McDonnell, G.Fahy; G.Fitzmaurice, V.Lally; J.Burke, S.Joyce (captain) and D.McCabe. Rolling substitutes:- M.Flaherty, K.Lyons, K.King, D.Maher and C.Forde.
Buccaneers Seconds are away to their Galwegians counterparts in the Connacht Junior 1A League at Crowley Park on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. Buccs were a greatly improved outfit in last week’s win over Monivea and, if they can build further on that, they can edge the spoils at Glenina.
Buccaneers U-20s face a stiff test away to Old Wesley in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Division 2 match at Donnybrook on Sunday. Kick off there is 3 p.m. Old Wesley defeated NUIG 47-13 in Galway last week so will be a tough hurdle for the Pirates. However, these young Buccs will be greatly encouraged by the manner of their victory over Greystones and, if they eliminate silly errors and penalties, they have the potential to be very competitive in this division.
‘YOUR CLUB, YOUR COUNTRY’ GRAND DRAW
Tickets for the IRFU organised ‘YOUR CLUB, YOUR COUNTRY’ Grand Draw are now on sale at the club. All teams should have received some tickets to sell at this stage. Tickets cost just €10 each for a super array of prizes including a trip for two to Japan to take in Ireland’s matches there next June. A €5,000 euro holiday voucher, a state of the art home entertainment system, and an attractive range of prizes including trips to various Ireland Six Nations games next season are also on offer in this draw. Well worth punting a tenner!
Buccaneers U-16 team are holding a TABLE QUIZ in The Bounty on Thursday week, October 27th at 8.30 p.m. There are plenty of prizes are on offer here too and complimentary finger food will be served. Entry fee is €40 per table of four persons and all support will be greatly appreciated by these young lads and their management team.
It is hoped that a YOUTH DISCO will be held in the rugby club during the Halloween mid-term school break. Watch this space for further information.