Buccaneers fell to their third defeat of the season as MU Barnhall collected their fifth straight victory with a 34-10 win at bitterly cold Parsonstown, Leixlip, on Saturday.
The west Dublin club strengthened their grip at the top of Division 2A in the process while Buccs remain in eighth position with just two wins for their opening five games.
A biting diagonal breeze aided the hosts at kick off and they enjoyed early territory which Buccaneers defended resiliently before the Pirates put some phases together that enabled Luke Carty make a smashing break up the centre.
Carty then put a pinpoint crossfield ball to Ross Murphy-Sweeney who showed good composure and desire to outwit Conor Lacey to touchdown wide on the right for an unconverted ninth minute try.
With the slope also assisting their efforts, MU Barnhall continued to dominate territory and they applied growing pressure that yielded a 17th minute penalty try.
Five minutes later they added three points although both touch judges deemed Adam Chester’s place kick off-target but referee Jonathan Peak indicated otherwise.
Barnhall remained on the offensive in the face of steadfast Buccs defending with the Blues pack being the superior unit in the tight.
The Athlone side’s cause was not helped when Max Kennedy was sin binned for coming in from the side after 32 minutes.
Barnhall opted for a scrum from the resultant penalty and Rob Holt broke away to wrong foot the defence to notch an unconverted try.
Despite being temporarily depleted, Buccaneers looked like getting to half-time just ten points adrift.
But MU Barnhall displayed splendid continuity from their own 22 using the width of the pitch before Matthew Alborough dived over in the right corner for their third try.
Although the try was not converted, Barnhall had a 20-5 advantage at the interval.
The third quarter was evenly contested with Buccs going closest to scoring but Brendan McSorley made a vital recovery of possession just metres from the home line.
The next score was crucial and what followed a bewildering penalty award by the referee (who over-indulged in lectures in a match absent of malice) after a terrific Buccs tackle.
MU Barnhall secured territory with lock McSorley a key figure at the other end of the pitch when he secured a bonus point try for the hosts on 67 minutes. Chester duly added the straight-forward conversion.
Buccs rallied and Darren Browne raced away following a slick lineout move with Christian Maulaulau to scamper in for an unconverted 74th minute try wide on the right but the visitors simply could not add to their tally.
Meanwhile MU Barnhall, as they had done in the first half, finished the second with a final move try, Lacey touching down in style and Chester’s conversion completing the 34-10 scoreline.
MU Barnhall: E.Quinn, M.Alborough (R.Mullen 60), M.Gianetti (B.McCarthy 50), D.Hudson, C.Lacey, A.Chester, R.Holt, G.Brooks, G.Murray (M.Corcoran 70), D.Bellanova (L.Franzoni 70), D.Murphy, B.McSorley, P.Nalty, D.Thomas (N.Veltom 55), T.McKeown (c) (D.Thomas 73)
Buccaneers: M.Hanley, Eoghan O’Reilly (R.O’Meara 31), R.O’Connor, S.O’Carroll, R.Murphy-Sweeney, L.Carty, F.Hopkins, H.O’Reilly, D.Browne (D.Adamson 31 (D.Browne 47)), M.Staunton, R.Byrne, M.Kennedy, S.Kroupa (S.O’Connell 65), E.Galvin (c), C.Maulaulau
Referee: Jonathan Peak (IRFU)