Connacht Senior Cup: Buccaneers 93 Sligo 5
Although not having any of their Connacht players available, Buccaneers proved much too strong for Sligo when the sides met in the semi-final of the Connacht Senior Cup under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Friday night when the Athlone club romped to a facile 93-5 victory. Apart from the early minutes, it was all one-way traffic as the Pirates were far stronger, sharper and swifter than the visitors reeling in no less than 14 tries in a game played in ideal weather and pitch conditions.
Sligo were short some personnel too but they opened the scoring with an unconverted try by Mike Wells after just two minutes. Unfortunately that was as good as it got for the north-westerners who had made life difficult for Buccs when the teams met earlier in the Connacht Senior League when the midlanders edged a 7-3 win. Alan Gaughan opened the homesters’ scoring with a penalty before Evan Galvin began the rout with the first of his three tries. Buccs added six more touchdowns to lead 50-5 at halftime and tagged on a further seven tries after the change of ends.
Eoghan O’Reilly, Shane Layden and Mata Fifita scored two tries apiece, the latter’s second try being a terrific end to end solo effort. Alex Hayman completed the try-scoring exploits while Simon Meagher, Eoghan Maher, Ryan O’Meara and Callum Boland also touched down. Gaughan added ten conversions. Buccaneers moved the ball very well from start to finish and were utterly dominant throughout apart from some restarts that need to be improved on. Galvin and Maher stood out in a lively home pack while O’Reilly and Layden were pick of the backs unit. For Sligo, who had been building momentum in Division 2C in recent weeks, it proved a chastening experience but they can learn and bounce back from this setback.
Buccaneers now face Corinthians, who were surprise 46-19 winners over Galwegians, in the final on January 7th in what will surely be a tougher examination for the league champions.
Buccaneers:- C.Boland; E.O’Reilly, S.Layden, M.Fifita, A.Hayman; A.Gaughan, G.Lynch; M.Staunton, E.Maher, R.O’Meara; S.Meagher, R.Byrne; J.Sutton, E.Galvin and K.Kiripati (captain). Replacements:- S.Hastings (for Hayman), D.Keane (for O’Reilly), N.Farrelly (for Staunton), J.Foley (for Sutton), A.Hayman (for Gaughan) and J.Sutton (for Maher).
REFEREE:- Daithi Flood (Connacht).
Connacht Junior 1A League: Ballina 53 Buccaneers 0
Ballina inflicted a heavy 53-0 defeat on Buccaneers Seconds when the sides met in the Connacht Junior 1A League at Heffernan Park on Sunday. This was a very disappointing outcome for the midlanders who, although not at their strongest, would have hoped to fare better against the Mayo side who are now clear leaders as this league takes a break for the festive season. Meanwhile the Pirates will need to regroup and re-energise to ensure mid-table safety when the league resumes in early January.
Buccaneers:- D.McMahon; B.Walsh, S.Flynn, N.Michel, B.Kennedy; G.Fallon, N.Purcell; K.Grehan, R.Grenham, C.Cleary; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, M.Lyons and J.O’Connell. Replacements:- C.Conroy, T.Couper and G.Halligan.