St. Mary’s College 10
A stunning Luke Carty penalty saw Buccaneers land their first away win of the Ulster Bank League Division One A season.
The midlanders were quickest out of the blocks and were unlucky not to score two tries inside the opening six minutes.
Buccaneers thought they were over the line in the first minute but referee Kieran Barry did not allow a score because of an offside infringement.
Five minutes later the match official made a similar call, deeming that Simon Meagher had been ahead of the kicker when the flanker ran on to Luke Carty’s pinpoint diagonal kick to touchdown in the left corner.
Shortly afterwards a weaving break by Marcus O’Driscoll put St Mary’s into the opposition 22 for the first time with Conor Dean getting over the Athlone side’s line on the right for a ninth minute try.
Young out-half Conor Dean was unable to add the conversion.
As the game entered the second quarter, the home sides enjoyed their best spell following a fine angled kick that Callum Boland had to boot into touch very close to his line.
The metropolitans put together a sustained series of pick and goes pinning back the Pirates until Adam Coyle breached their defensive line for a 23rd minute try also on the right from where Dean was again unable to convert.
However Buccs, having replaced the injured Meagher with Ruairi Byrne and Conor Kenny for Martin Staunton, had the better of the exchanges from there until halftime.
The Dublin side made three changes in personnel and rejigged their backs unit during an extended interval.
Robbie Glynn came in at scrumhalf with Patrick O’Driscoll switching to the centre in place of Darren Moroney while Jack Dilger and Hugo Kean were introduced in the pack instead of Nick McCarthy and Thomas O’Reilly.
In a frenetic opening sequence the hosts earned a 44th minute penalty but Dean’s effort fell short.
Graham Lynch came on at scrumhalf for the Pirates in place of Conor McKeon at the three-quarters stage and Carty found a sublime touch on 61 minutes.
Leinster A player Dean’s woes continued when he was yellow carded for a wild 68th minute tackle in midfield as Buccaneers had upped the tempo and were forcing the pace.
Carty drilled the penalty to touch on the right and Cian Romaine won good lineout possession.
From there, there was no stopping the Buccs pack to which Staunton had returned for Kenny and, after making solid ground with a maul, John Sutton peeled away on the blindside to barrel over for a 70th minute try.
Although Carty was unable to add the touchline conversion, the Pirates now had the momentum and were just two points adrift.
Their energy and industry was stretching St. Mary’s to the limit and Glynn could not resist a deliberate knock-on on his own ten metre line with just two minutes remaining as he endeavoured to slow Buccs impetus.
It meant the substitute sat out the remainder of the game in the sin bin where he could only watch Carty thump a stunning penalty kick straight and true from over 40 metres to edge Buccaneers 11-10 ahead.
In a protracted six minutes of added time, the blues did their utmost to retrieve the situation but, with the final kick of an absorbing battle, Dean’s drop goal attempt sailed wide of the target and so the Athlone side deservingly won a first away game this season.
St. Marys College: Thomas O’Reilly (Hugo Kean HT) , Richard Halpin (Jack Aungier 58), Adam Coyle (Thomas O’Reilly 68), Ciaran Ruddock (Capt), Cathal O’Flaherty, Nick McCarthy (Jack Dilger HT (Nick McCarthy 68)), Hugh Kelleher, Caelan Doris, Patrick O’Driscoll, Conor Dean, Myles Carey, Marcus O’Driscoll, Darren Moroney (Robbie Glynn HT), Tim Maupin, Craig Kennedy
Scorers: Tries: Adam Coyle, Conor Dean
Buccaneers: Martin Staunton (Conor Kenny 24 (Martin Staunton 68)), John Sutton, Conan O’Donnell (Conor Kenny 74), Daniel Law, Cian Romaine, Simon Meagher (Ruairi Byrne 24), Evan Galvin, Paul Boyle, Conor McKeon (Graham Lynch 59), Luke Carty, Darragh Corbett, Shane Layden, (Capt), Alan Gaughan, Rory O’Connor, Callum Boland
Scorers: Tries:John Sutton, Pen:Luke Carty(2)
Referee: Kieran Barry (IRFU).
Buccaneers Head Coach Darin Classen spoke to Dave Hooper on Shannonside FM’s Sunday Sport.