Bucanners club notes January 27th
Buccaneers U-20’s dominated their JP Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 match against league leaders St. Mary’s College for the vast proportion of this game played in bright conditions at well-attended Dubarry Park on Sunday.
But they simply could not score and the visitors made the most of precious few opportunities to eke out a 14-0 victory that cements their position at the head of the league table.
The home pack gained early ascendancy and time and again drove the metropolitans much taller and bigger unit backwards. This superiority yielded a 13th minute penalty but Stephen Mannion untypically drilled it wide.
Virtually all the half was played in St. Mary’s territory, yet Buccs just could not find that vital pass to unlock the visitors’ defence.
Then, in the final move of the half, Michael Byrne’s attempted reverse pass was intercepted by his opposite number Sean Bourke who raced in for a try which he also converted.
This was the Dublin side’s first visit into the home 22 and a real sucker-punch that left Buccaneers undeservedly trailing 0-7 at the interval.
Another error 11 minutes into the second period was also punished. Jensen Nagle did not find touch when clearing under pressure and St. Mary’s countered swiftly with Joe Nolan applying the finishing touch for a try also converted by Bourke.
The exchanges were more even after the change of ends when the light breeze freshened somewhat to the benefit of winners.
Buccs battled gallantly to the bitter end but just could not conjure up scores that their unceasing endeavour and energy, especially by the forwards, richly warranted.
Lasha Laoshvili, Fergus Galvin, Harry O’Reilly and Mathias O’Neill stood out in a magnificent performance by the pack while Mannion was pick of the backline.
Buccaneers: J.Nagle; B.Nealon, D.Mulvihill, S.Mannion, H.Balsiger; M.Byrne, N.Horan; H.O’Reilly, D.Browne (captain), L.Laoshvili; F.Galvin, M.Tallon; J.Scouler, M.O’Neill and L.Winnett. Replacements:- L.McFarlane (for Horan, inj. 18 mins), G.Catarino (for Winnett, 50 mins), C.Forkam (for Laoshvili, 57 mins), R.Venter (for Nealon, inj. 64 mins), L.Winnett (for O’Neill, 65 mins), E.Gallagher (for Browne, 73 mins), Cian Daly (for Tallon, 73 mins) and R.Dempsey.
St. Mary’s College: D.McAuliffe; J.McSharry, M.Whelan, T.MacMahon, M.McEvoy; S.Bourke, A.McEvoy; K.Quinn, G.Hassett, C.McEleaney; E.Byrne, C.O’Neill; J.Shaw, I.Wickham and J.Nolan. Replacements:- E.Massey (for Quinn, inj. 11 mins), N.Loris (for O’Neill, 20 mins),J.Grant (for Wickham, h/t), J.Coolican (for Hassett, 57 mins), E.Franklin (for A.McEvoy, 57 mins), M.Barlow (for McSharry, 57 mins), C.O’Neill (for Byrne, 70 mins), B.O’Mahony (for M.McEvoy, 70 mins) and I.Wickham (for Nolan, 73 mins)
Buccaneers J2 see off Castlebar
Callum Forde was man of the match as Buccaneers J2’s scored a vital 31-14 Connacht Junior 2 League victory over Castlebar at Dubarry Park on Sunday when conditions were relatively good for this joust.
Nimble winger Forde notched a hattrick of tries in what could yet prove a priceless bonus point win for the Pirates.
Buccs hit the ground running with a brace of tries in the opening quarter. Harry Hughes got the opener before Forde opened his account.
Forde nabbed a second touchdown before the interval when the Athlone side lead 24-0, Gerard Fallon having converted all three tries and landed a penalty.
Castlebar came more into the contest in the second half during which they scored a pair of converted tries.
But Forde’s third try, converted by Fallon, sealed the issue as Buccaneers gained a much-needed win in their bid to avoid relegation.
Their five tries may catch the attention but Buccs defensive duties did not go unnoticed, laying the foundation for this victory. Forde was the star of the show with Aidan Wynne and Colin Daly also catching the eye in the backs division.
Torin Rensford, Andrew Kelly and Robert Enraght-Moony were pick of a hard-working pack. Fallon was on song with his place-kicking.
Buccaneers: H.Hughes; Colin Daly, Eoin O’Reilly, M.Hanley, C.Forde; A.Wynne, G.Fallon; R.Grenham, D.Buckley, S.O’Connell; R.Flanagan, T.Rensford; R.Enraght-Moony (c), R.Teape and A.Kelly. Replacements used:- A.Hanley, S.Flynn, T.Thompson, A.Tibishi
Referee: Jason Craughwell (Connacht).
Mixed fortunes for Under-15’s
Buccaneers are the only club in the Connacht U-15 league to field two teams and both were scheduled to play their respective league semi-finals on Saturday. The Division 1 team travelled with high hopes to play Sligo.
They had a very successful league campaign and only lost to last year’s league and cup winners Corinthians.
A long journey with an early start resulted in the away team being caught cold with an avoidable penalty and an intercept try giving Sligo early confidence. Indeed it didn’t get much better as the home side ran out 23-0 victors with the Athlone lads caught in the headlights.
They did create a couple of chances but they were scorned with poor handling. This Buccs outfit are a talented bunch who with more mental strength are well capable of reversing this result.
Buccs Division 2 team have improved dramatically during the season and played a strong Corrib outfit who had pipped them earlier on in the season.
Early tries gave Buccs a confidence boosting start and they played some great rugby in an entertaining first half with forwards and backs combining on numerous occasions. Defence was good but they still couldn’t stop these Corrib boys scoring a couple of tries and the break came with Buccs leading 22-12.
The first score in the second half was to be crucial and it could have gone to either side as the play ebbed from side to side. Eventually after 15 minutes Buccs scored under the posts and crossed for another try near the end to leave the final score 34-12.
Buccaneers now play Ballinasloe in the final.
BUCCANEERS: C Hynes, D Lally, S Joyce, A Ward, C Reid, M Kenny, P Egan, F Lyons, S Duffy, P Dolan, B Mulvihill, T McCay, A Saka, C Minnock, D McGrath, D Murtagh, E Killeen, J Duffy, L Gossy, S McCarthy, M Fallon, M Kenny, M Donnelly, O Byrne, R Kelly, S Buckley
Buccs home to westport
Buccaneers J2’s take on Westport in the Connacht Junior 2 League at Dubarry Park on Sunday. This is one of Buccs two games in hand and kicks off at 2:30.p.m.
Buccs showed commendable spirit and skills when defeating Castlebar last Sunday but their form is somewhat topsy turvy.
However, they absolutely must win this match and Mike Harding is sure to have his charges focussed and geared to give of their best as they bid to move up the league table.
All support for Buccs will be greatly appreciated by the team.
Two Buccaneers players in Ireland panel
Robbie Henshaw and Dave Heffernan have both been included in the Ireland panel named by new Head Coach Andy Farrell prior to the Six Nations Championship which kicks off this Saturday at home to Scotland.
Centre Henshaw has 40 senior caps to date, a figure that would surely be greater only for injuries, and the Athlonian looks certain to add to that tally next weekend.
Heffernan played at wing forward for Buccs before converting to hooker. He has one senior cap so far and this could be a breakthrough season at national level for the Ballina man.
Meanwhile this scribe feels Jack Carty is decidedly unfortunate not have been named in the overall squad but he has the talent and skills to yet make an impact.
Carty is one of two Buccaneers players who will receive awards at the annual Westmeath Independent Sports Awards which take place in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel on this Friday night.
U-20 international Niall Murray is also receiving an award at the event. We wish both players all the best on the night and anyone interested in attending the event with club officials should contact our Administrator Geraldine at 0861732711.
Deepest sympathy is extended to Eamonn Collins and family on the recent passing of his wife Patricia’s father John McNamara. Heartfelt condolences are also extended to John Wright and family on the death of his mother Elizabeth.