Buccaneers 60 Dolphin 7
Buccaneers dished out a 60-7 drubbing to Dolphin in their Energia All-Ireland League Division 2A mismatch at Creggs RFC on Saturday.
This fixture was switched to the impressive 4G pitch at The Green as Dubarry Park was likely unplayable due to the incessant rain but any thoughts that Dolphin might have entertained about this surface (similar to Musgrave Park) being to their advantage were swiftly dashed by midlanders.
Buccaneers made two changes both in the pack from their big win away to Rainey Old Boys. Martin Staunton returned at loosehead prop with Darragh Murray making his first start at lock.
Weather conditions apart from a light breeze were relatively benign as Buccs kicked off and the floodgates opened very quickly.
Sam Illo imposed himself on the visitors following a lineout on the left and his offload to Will Reilly saw the scrumhalf wrong foot the cover for a smart finish inside two minutes.
Shane Jennings was shunted into touch just short of the Dolphin line soon afterwards and then the midlanders opted for a close-in scrum following a deliberate knock-on.
This led to a sixth minute penalty which Michael Hanley slotted over to add to his earlier conversion. Nine minutes later, following a Buccs penalty to the touch on the right, the Pirates pack laid siege to the visitors’ line where Declan Adamson applied the finishing touch.
Almost from the restart, Josh O’Connor and Shane Layden did a neat wrap to make good ground before releasing Staunton and the veteran prop notched a third try for the Pirates.
Hanley’s conversion gave Buccs a commanding 24-0 lead and Dolphin were already in massive trouble.
To their credit they denied Buccs further scores before the interval, Rob Rearden making one crucial intercept to stem the tide while the Shannonsiders were culpable on a number of occasions when other scoring opportunities presented themselves.
A knock-on, a forward pass and an offside all spoiled promising try chances in that second quarter.
Buccaneers were able to utilise their bench to good effect in the second-half whilst regaining their momentum even though conditions now turned drizzly.
A high tackle denied Darren Browne shortly after the change of ends and then Dolphin showed some grit to hold the Pirates out on their line. However, the inevitable bonus point try finally arrived after Evan Galvin and Illo had made good yardage.
Graham Lynch displayed desire and neat footwork to unlock the Corkonians defence on 47 minutes.
Three minutes later a cute diagonal chip over the cover by Reilly was collected by Luke Balsiger who showed calmness beyond his years to mark his AIL debut with a try in the right corner.
Following a 55th minute penalty to touch on the left, Buccs put in yet another impressive maul which Browne finished off for a try, the third touchdown in a row scored by a substitute.
The onslaught continued with the Athlone side making it a half dozen tries just past the hour.
It followed another penalty to touch, this time to the right where Oisin McCormack won lineout ball. After a couple of flurries towards the visitors’ line, flanker McCormack’s strength and awareness earned him a try that put the Pirates 48-0 ahead.
Although outfought and outthought, Dolphin continued to battle and their best spell of territory and possession was rewarded with Scott Rochford’s 67th minute try converted by Daryl Foley took the bare look off the scoreboard.
But there was to be no respite for the Munster men as Ciaran Booth caught a loose clearance by scrumhalf Foley on the home 10 metre line and thundered through from 60 metres for the try of the match.
Philip Dowling was sin-binned as Dolphin desperately endeavoured to stem the tide. Staunton looked like notching his second try with a spritely break down the stand side and he probably would have scored had he kept steaming on.
However the break led to a close-in penalty for Buccaneers and the Pirates skipper Galvin smart tap outfoxed Dolphin to grab a final minute try. Hanley brought his tally to 17 points with the conversion to complete the 60-7 victory.
Buccaneers: M.Hanley, S.Jennings, S.Layden, S.Mannion, J.O’Connor, R.Fallon, W.Reilly, M.Staunton, D.Adamson, S.Illo, D.Qualter, D.Murray, O.McCormack, E.Galvin (c), C.Booth.
Replacements: H.Balsiger for Jennings, inj. 25, G.Lynch for O’Connor 28, D.Browne for Adamson h/t, T.Maree for Murray 53, S.O’Connell for Staunton 53 mins, J.O’Connor for Reilly 56, W.Reilly for Layden 63, M.Staunton for Illo 65.
Dolphin: R.O’Herlihy, R.Rearden, S.Rochford, S.Scannell, T.Scannell, C.O’Shaughnessy, D.Foley. S.Lynch, C.Scott, D.Jennings, D.O’Mahony, B.O’Mahony, J.Vaughan, K.Allen (c), C.O’Herlihy.
Replacements: C.Fitzgerald for S.Scannell 24, A.Denby for C.O’Herlihy 28, P.Dowling for Scott 48, J.Leahy for Lynch 48, R.Foley for R.O’Herlihy 50, S.Lynch for Jennings 61, C.O’Herlihy for B.O’Mahony 70.
Referee: Sam Holt (IRFU).
Buccaneers 29 NUI Galway 6
Buccaneers U-20’s completed the league section of the J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier three with a 100% win record, accounting for NUI Galway by 29-6 at The Green, Creggs, on Sunday.
Weather conditions were atrocious for this duel between the Connacht sides and understandably, the fare on offer was error ridden in the wind, wet and cold.
Indeed the conditions got so bad early in the first-half that the referee prudently halted play for a period. The Students had first benefit of the strong breeze and kept Buccs pinned back for long spells but managed to score just a pair of penalties by their scrumhalf.
The Athlone team replied with a super 11th minute try by Cian McCann who took off from the NUIG 10 metre line and outpaced their defenders to score an excellent unconverted try.
Half-time arrived with Buccs trailing by the minimum 6-5 and well placed to kick on following the change of ends.
This they did with an early second half try by Ben Daly. Then Kieran Egan made a massive impact following his introduction, powering through for a brace of tries in quick succession midway through the half.
This assured Buccs of a bonus point and fullback Daly notched his second touchdown following a flying break down the right flank to complete the 29-6 winning margin.
This confirms Buccaneers as winners of this section of the league and the top five teams now progress to the next section of this competition.
McCann, Egan and Dara Fitzgerald were prominent in the forwards exchanges while Daly and Orrin Burgess looked pick of the backs in the testing conditions.
Buccaneers: B.Daly, J.Finn, D.Colgan, T.Shine (c), O.Burgess. M.Byrne, L.Duane, J.Connolly, E.Gallagher, L.Laoshvilli, F.McDonnell, C.McCann, D.Fitzgerald, G.Daly, K.Kiripati. Replacements: K.Egan, C.Malone, C.Brill, J.Henson, R.Fallon, D.King.