Buccaneers Survive City of Armagh Fightback

Buccaneers got their second win in their seventh match of the season with a 24-17 points victory over City of Armagh in Division 1B of the All-Ireland League

The Athlone side looked to be heading for a comprehensive win when romping to a 24-0 lead inside the opening quarter.

Their Ulster opponents refused to capitulate and finished the stronger to secure a bonus point in a fiercely contested match.

Buccs made two changes both in the pack. Ruairi Byrne returned at lock with John Sutton starting at hooker.

Luke Carty settled the hosts with a fourth minute penalty before the Pirates raided a trio of tries in a blistering six minutes spell.

Darragh Corbett’s chase of Callum Boland’s Garryowen caused Timmy McNeice to fumble and Boland swooped to touchdown after 11 minutes.

Four minutes later a long Boland clearance was not dealt with by the Ulster side’s defence and, with the referee playing advantage, Carty’s perfectly judged grubber was grabbed by Boland for a 15th minute try.

Man of the Match Boland was the key instigator in the 17th minute setting up Eoin Griffin for a try. Carty converted all three tries to give them the 24 points advantage.

City of Armagh gradually came back into the contest. Buccs Ryan Moloney was sin binned in the 19th minute for a challenge on Ryan Purviss.

They used the extra man to their advantage with an overlapping Chris Colvin getting in for a 20th minute try which Cormac Fox converted.

Half-time arrived with Peter O’Donnell’s side 24-7 ahead.

City of Armagh started the second half strongly and hooker Smyth continued his try scoring exploits after a number of pick and goes to touchdown on 44 minutes.

Fox converted from the left and then added a 51st minute penalty to tighten the scoreline to 24-17.

The exchanges were contested with Cup tie fervour for the remaining half hour with huge tackle counts being put in by both sides.

It was fiercely competitive but neither side could manage to breach the other in the fast and intense exchanges all the way to the final whistle.

Buccaneers merited this vital hard-earned and confidence boosting win. City of Armagh notched a losing bonus point that looked highly unlikely early on and they will take considerable consolation from their sustained efforts right to the end.

Buccaneers: C.Boland (R.O’Connor 58), S.Layden (captain), K.Joyce, E.Griffin, D.Corbett, L.Carty, C.Reilly (G.Lynch 72), M.Staunton (R.Grenham 70), J.Sutton (D.Heffernan HT), N.Farrelly, E.Galvin (T.Rensford 66 (J.Sutton 76)), R.Byrne, S.Meagher, R.Moloney, E.Masterson.

City Of Armagh: T.McNeice (S.O’Brien 56 inj), A.Willis, C.Colvin (c), J.Pollock, R.Purviss, C.Fox (J.Falloon 60), H.Doyle, P.Mullan (O.Kiernan 35), A.Smyth (P.Lamb 64), P.Fletcher (P.Mullan 53), J.McKinley, P.Starrett (Jonathan Morton 64), J.Hanna (A.Smyth 73), Jonathan Morton (James Morton 58), R.Whitten.

Referee: Chris Harrington (IRFU).