Buccaneers overcame a potentially tricky Connacht Senior Cup hurdle. They recorded a clearcut 31-7 victory over Galway Corinthians at Corinthian Park on Saturday. The Tribesmen were on a free-scoring winning run of late in the All-Ireland League.
The Athlone side signalled their intent from the kick-off. They scored an excellent try within three minutes. A penalty punted to the left allowed Buccs spun the ball smartly to the right. Ruaidhri Fallon’s pass sent Ross Murphy-Sweeney scampering away for an unconverted try in the right corner.
Evan Galvin applied the finishing touch for a try converted by Stephen Mannion for a 12-0 lead inside the opening 17 minutes. Buccs notched their third try 9 minutes later. A smart lineout move and a strong carry by Darren Browne brought the midlanders close to the home line. Fergus Galvin dived over for another unconverted try in the right corner.
A clever diagonal kick on the half-hour by Fallon put pressure on Corinthians. Ross Doogan’s deliberate knock-on earned the home centre ten minutes in the sin bin. Buccaneers opted for a scrum in front of the posts. Following a nudge forward, they spread the ball to the left where Layden delivered a try-scoring pass to Harry Hughes. Mannion added an excellent touchline conversion to this 33rd minute try for a 24-0 lead.
Corinthians made a promising start to the second-half. Buccaneers lost possession, consequently Corinthians got in for a 53rd minute try converted by David Keane. Much of the final quarter was contested in midfield. Corinthians were rarely able to threaten a disciplined and well-organised Buccaneers defensive organisation. Buccaneers kicked a penalty to touch on the clubhouse side. After a good lineout fetch, the Pirates put in yard-gaining maul. Layden surged through for a try which Michael Hanley converted to complete the 31-7 scoreline.
Corinthians: E. McMahon; M.O’Connell, C.Stapleton, R.Doogan, C.MacDonald; D.Keane, J.Whyte; J.Noone, J.Savier Gaspar, M.Conneely; G.Kilkelly, A.Broderick (C); C.Breathnach, C.Joyce, C.Huxford.
Replacements: J.Noone (G.Noone), Whyte (J.O’Connell), (Kilkelly (H.Woodhennessy), Savier Gaspar (A.Nash), Conneely (G.O’Connell), Breathnach (C.Kilkelly).
Buccaneers: R.Fallon; H.Hughes, S.Layden, S.Mannion, R.Murphy-Sweeney; M.Hanley, E.O’Reilly; J.Kelly, D.Browne, M.Staunton; R.Byrne, D.Qualter; C.McCann, E.Galvin (c), F.Galvin
Replacements: T.Shine (for Mannion, inj. 42 mins), K.Kiripati (for Browne, 50 mins), S.O’Connell (for Kelly, 50 mins), A.Flanagan (for O’Reilly, 60 mins) and J.Kelly (for McCann, 72 mins).
Referee: Andrew Fogarty (Connacht).