Mixed emotions for Buccs teams over weekend

The Buccaneers first team had a good win over the weekend which sees them on the verge of promotion after victory over UL Bohs 39 – 27. They weren’t the only team in action for the club over the weekend.

Buccaneers seconds also had success at the weekend maintaining their winning ways against their Galwegians counterparts coming out on top 22-3 in this crunch Connacht Junior 1A League game at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. With both teams desperately striving to climb away from the spectre of relegation, this encounter was contested with passion and fervour from start to finish.

Wegians had first advantage of the breeze and opened the scoring with a Killian McHugh penalty after ten minutes. It took Buccs some time to grow into the game but they steadily began to make inroads through fine pick and goes. This facet looked like yielding a try at the half hour mark but the referee surprisingly penalised the Pirates for holding on when close to the light blues line although a Wegians player was clearly off his feet. However, Buccs improving endeavours were duly rewarded when Keith Grehan finished off some sustained and patient play with a 33rdminute try. Ger Fallon’s conversion gave the Athlone side a 7-3 half-time advantage.

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Buccs went on the offensive immediately after the change of ends with Evan Galvin making some notable carries. When Ben Kennedy smartly changed the point of attack on 43 minutes, James O’Connell powered through for a try wide on the left. Enda O’Brien was unfortunate to be sin-binned just minutes after his introduction due to an accumulation of infringements by the homesters but, nevertheless, their continued pressure yielded a fine Harry Hughes try in the left corner midway through the half. Buccs then secured a late bonus point try when O’Brien surged over in the right corner to complete the 22-3 winning margin.

This was a crucial win for Buccaneers who are now six points ahead of second from bottom Galwegians with just three rounds of fixtures remaining. Ryan O’Meara, Sean Byrne and Galvin excelled in the forwards’ trenches with Sean Flynn and Hughes catching the eye in the backline. Matthew Towey and McHugh were best for the losers.

BUCCANEERS:- H.Hughes; B.Walsh, S.Flynn, J.O’Connell, B.Kennedy; G.Fallon, N.Purcell; K.Grehan, R.Grenham (captain), R.O’Meara; R.Byrne, T.Couper; N.Flynn, E.Galvin and S.Byrne. Replacements:- E.O’Brien (for Grehan), M.Lyons (for Couper), D.Costello (for Kennedy), G.Halligan (for Galvin) and T.Couper (for S.Byrne).

At underage level,
The U-20’s are still in pursuit of leaders MU/Barnhall in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster League Premier 2 division after a bonus point 41-10 win over N.U.I.Galway at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Although missing some front-liners, Buccs dominated this clash of two Connacht clubs playing in the Leinster League!

Playing against the breeze, Buccs opened the scoring in the first minute with Corey Reid showing his quality in notching a try which Ryan Convey converted. However, it took them some time to add to their tally and NUIG got a foothold in the game. The midlanders eventually realised the potential through getting the ball wide and Thomas McGann darted down the left for their second try after 33 minutes. Moments later he popped up on the right flank to send Jamie O’Keeffe in for a home try before centre Thomas Donovan finished off good NUIG play for a try. However, Buccaneers made it three tries in seven minutes when McGann grubbered ahead to speed in for a bonus point try that gave the Pirates a 22-5 lead at the interval.

As they had done in the first half, Buccs grabbed an early second half try with O’Keeffe finishing off a smart attack. Reid soon added his second touchdown but was injured in the process. Convey’s conversion stretched the Shannonsiders lead to 34-5. McGann then completed his hat-trick of tries in controversial circumstances as he was clearly in touch while darting down the stand side (where the touch-judge’s view was obstructed due to mentors from both sides). The referee allowed the score to stand and Convey duly converted. NUIG had the better of the exchanges in the final quarter but had only a David Ashton try to show for their endeavours. In fairness, they deserved more but, overall, Buccs were the stronger, slicker outfit particularly their sharp backs unit.

BUCCANEERS:- R.Convey; T.McGann, C.Reid, E.O’Reilly, J.O’Keeffe; D.Keane, D.McMahon; N.Farrelly, E.Maher, D.Buckley; H.Ronaldson, N.Murray; B.Collins, O.Rowe and J.Delahunt. Replacements:- C.Cleary (for Buckley), P.Browne (for Reid, inj.), K.Jocher (for O’Keeffe), C.Daly (for Keane), C.Harewood (for Rowe), D.Buckley (for Collins) and D.Farrelly.

For the womens team it was disappointment, for the second match in succession the team were defeated 7-0 with Castlebar edging this Connacht Womens League contest at Cloondeash on Sunday. This was a well-contested encounter with possession and territory even. The Mayo girls got the only try of the match after 24 minutes with the conversion completing the scoring.

The Buccs ladies upped their efforts in the second half and appeared to have scored a perfectly legitimate try under the posts following a quickly tapped penalty but, unfathomably, the referee did not allow the score. Nevertheless, the Athlone girls battled on and, after substantial pressure they forced a Castlebar player to carry the ball over her own goalline where she touched it down. A five metre scrum to Buccs should have ensued but, bewilderingly, the referee made yet another of a number of baffling decisions when blowing full time!

This was hugely frustrating for Buccaneers but, despite decisions going against them, they can reflect on a good collective performance ahead of Sunday week’s Cup final against Tuam.

BUCCANEERS:- L.Flynn; S.Ni Saoraigh, S.Hennessy, H.Kilduff, S.Egan; E.O’Brien, N.Gough (captain); K.Ryan, S.Kelly, C.Malone; G.Kostanyan, A.Antonissen; L.Stuart-Trainor, H.Sheridan and A.Hennessy. Replacements:- A.Hynes, J.Dowling and A.Kemmy.

Seconds away to Westport

It is a relatively quiet weekend for fixtures but Buccaneers Seconds face a difficult assignment away to Westport in the Connacht Junior 1A League at Carrowholly on Sunday, kick off 2.30 p.m. Buccs will be striving for vital league points but there is good spirit in the squad and they can be counted on to give it their best shot.

Buccaneers v Dolphin Pre-Match

Buccaneers next home game in the Ulster Bank League takes place on Saturday week March 4th at 2.30 p.m. Buccs could clinch promotion in this match.