Buccaneers recorded their third win in four matches with a 20-15 victory over UL Bohemian in their Energia All-Ireland League Division 2A encounter at Dubarry Park on Saturday writes Michael Silke.
The game was in its second quarter before the Pirates made their first raid of real menace after Eoghan O’Reilly had made a promising sally up-field.
Harry O’Reilly thundered forward but the Red Robins cover got back to halt his progress close to their line.
From the clearance kick Eoghan O’Reilly got possession again and broke before linking with Luke Carty who made a tremendous arcing run to out-manoeuvre the visitors now stretched defence.
He dotted down for a 23rd minute try between the uprights, making his conversion a certainty for a 7-0 lead against the run of play.
UL Bohs struck back within three minutes, finding a splendid touch in the Bounty corner.
Darren Browne overthrew for the second time in succession, his opposite number Kieran O’Shea gobbled up the gift for an unconverted try, Harry Byrne’s conversion being off-target.
Nine minutes later the Limerick pack infringed at a scrum thirty metres out and Carty drilled over the resultant penalty.
Within two minutes Buccaneers stretched their advantage. Good chasing pressurised Bourke, who got the ball away to Byrne but his attempted grubber kick to the left was fastened onto by Layden.
The returning Pirates skipper showed that he still has pace to race in for a try wide on the right. Although Carty could not add the conversion, Buccs enjoyed a 15-5 lead at half-time.
Buccs introduced Ryan O’Meara, Declan Adamson and Sean Masterson early in the second half and this steadied their scrum which had been under some pressure.
Twice in the third quarter Carty over-cooked kicks to touch and, on both occasions, the ever foraging Evan Galvin retrieved possession by claiming both resultant lineouts.
Christian Maulaulau swooped on mishandling following another UL Bohs lineout, he off-loading to Adamson.
The substitute set off on a barn-storming run from the ten metre line that proved unstoppable and he crashed over for an unconverted 52nd minute try wide on the right.
This gave the midlanders a 20-5 lead and a bonus point try was definitely a prospect.
However, UL Bohs enjoyed another spell of territory helped by a penalty when referee Chris Lough deemed Buccs guilty of crossing although it was clear that Max Kennedy was pulled into a blocking position by an opponent!
The Athlone side showed committed and disciplined defending to protect their lead, the Red Robins being held up on the one occasion they got over the home line.
Buccs pressed forward in the closing stages, Saul O’Carroll’s attempted intercept earned the young centre a trip to the sin bin and UL Bohs made their numerical superiority pay deep in added time when Michael Mullally finished off good play for a try.
Byrne quickly added the conversion and there was still time for the Limerick club to salvage an unlikely bonus point when Buccs conceded a late, late penalty.
Dissent by Maulaulau saw the placekick brought forward and, with the final kick of the match, Byrne slotted over the penalty to complete the 20-15 scoreline.
Buccaneers: E.O’Reilly (R.O’Meara 45), R.Murphy-Sweeney (C.Reid 55), S.Layden (c), S.O’Carroll, D.Corbett, L.Carty, F.Hopkins, H.O’Reilly, D.Browne (D.Adamson 45), M.Staunton, F.Galvin (S.Kroupa 72), M.Kennedy, S.Kroupa (S.Masterson 47), E.Galvin, C.Maulaulau
UL Bohemian: J.Shanahan, J.McNamara, H.Byrne, R.White, T.Scannell, R.Bourke (M.Mullally 70), A.Kiely (C.Madden 55), D.O’Connor (c) (R.Wallace 72), K.O’Shea, P.Poillot, C.Irwin (T.Kavanagh 55 (C.Irwin 72)), J.Foley, S.Seymour, D.Rowesome, H.Kelleher (M.Bromell 62)
Referee: Chris Lough (IRFU)