BUCCANEERS 8 GALWEGIANS 25
GALWEGIANS hit the hard ground running to get off to a flying start against a disorganised Buccaneers outfit in the Connacht U-21 Cup final which was played on the side pitch at Galway Sportsground where the city side triumphed 25-8 on Tuesday night.
Kick off was delayed for 15 minutes due to Buccs arriving close to the appointed starting time and, with the fresh breeze blowing straight up the pitch favouring Wegians in the opening half, the Pirates were quickly under pressure. They conceded three penalties in the opening six minutes but the first two attempts by David Symes were woeful while Conor O’Rourke’s effort from the third penalty rebounded off an upright. However, scrumhalf O’Rourke found the range following a high tackle after 14 minutes.
When Buccs got out of their own 22 courtesy of a fine Jack Keegan break, the ball was knocked on. Buccs had a let off at the end of the opening quarter when a long kick ahead was not dealt with and Wegians spurned an overlap when the pass went straight into touch. But the westerners soon breached the midlanders’ goal line when, after Michael Mannion was yellow carded as Buccs tried to deal with a Wegians maul, the Tribesmen tapped the ensuing penalty to the left corner and, from the lineout, Dan Deegan rumbled over in the corner for an unconverted try.
32 minutes into the game, Tim Clifford was sin binned following the intervention of a touch judge. His tackle was late, but not any worse than that of the opposition’s Matt Dever after 19 minutes. If one player merited ten minutes “rest”, then so did the other offender and there should not be such inconsistency by the officials which cost Buccs dearly. Down to 13 players for a period, it was no surprise that Wegians forged further ahead when they drove over the Pirates line to go 13-0 ahead. The situation got worse for Buccs in the final move of the half when impressive handling and support play by Wegians was finished off by Dever for a try converted by O’Rourke for a handsome 20-0 halftime advantage.
With the wind now at their backs, the game was still salvageable for Buccs and Feeney landed a 44th minute penalty to instill hope. Buccs took the game to Wegians but could not fashion a try. Rossa Taylor made a promising break on 66 minutes and should have backed himself but the light blues winger Paul Power read his intentions and intercepted Taylor’s offload to race in for an opportunist try from his own half. This score killed off the game as a contest, although Buccs battled gamely on and they restored some pride with arguably the best try of the match. Substitute Ben Carty made a brilliant break from midfield and almost got to the line himself but Aidan Connaughton was at his shoulder to take the pass before powering over for a try in the right corner in the final phase of the match.
A disappointing outcome for Buccaneers who were much too slow getting to the tempo of the contest while their tackling, particularly in a sub-standard first period, was not up to scratch. Wegians were the better organised and more focussed unit and deserved their 25-8 victory and the silverware.
BUCCANEERS:- T.Clifford; R.Taylor, R.Pepper-Hobbs, R.Sheridan, E.O’Reilly; J.Feeney, B.Digby; B.Teape, S.Flanagan, C.Flynn; J.O’Rourke, M.Mannion; J.Donoghue, P.Maxwell and A.Connaughton (captain). Replacements:- R.Enraght-Moony (for Flynn), N.Carr (for O’Rourke) and B.Carty (for Clifford).
GALWEGIANS:- S.Noonan; D.Quill, D.Symes, M.Dever, P.Power; R.Burke, C.O’Rourke; R.Brennan, R.Muckian, P.Griffin; D.Deegan, M.Towey; P.Hackett, N.Dillon and E.Earls. Replacements:- P.O’Donnell (for Brennan), C.Roarty (for Earls), E.Earls (for Deegan) and R.Mulvey (for O’Rourke).
REFEREE:- Karol Collins (Connacht).