BUCCANEERS 18 SLIGO 7
BUCCANEERS WOMENS team put in a tremendous display when defeating champions Sligo 18-7 in their Connacht Womens League clash at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Sunday. Weather conditions were foul but the Buccs girls lit up the afternoon with a hugely impressive squad effort that deserved an even more clearcut winning margin.
The ‘Buccettes’ hit the ground running in this joust with their arch rivals and they were utterly dominant from start to finish. The only blot on their performance was a lack of clinical finishing as they squandered many good opportunities, albeit the greasy conditions did not help their cause. Consequently, with the scoreline not truly reflecting the territory and possession enjoyed by the hosts, there was always the danger that Sligo’s swift backs could get a break or two similar to their solitary try which kept them in contention until Buccs eventually nabbed their second try.
Buccs forced the pace all the way from the first whistle and their pressure had Sligo in difficulty regularly before they grabbed the opening score on 17 minutes. Then the effervescent Myriam Borque Coscajo charged down a hurried clearance to swoop for a try in weather that the Spanish girl is surely not accustomed to! Emma Phelan drilled over the conversion and Buccs piled on concerted pressure for a period that should have yielded another try or two but all they had to show for their superiority was a fine Phelan penalty that put the Athlone girls 10-0 ahead after 31 minutes.
Three minutes later, totally against the run of play, Sligo’s Rachel Gordon scampered away for a try that Amy Geraghty converted to leave the margin much tighter 10-7 at halftime. Buccs continued to dictate on the resumption and the visitors’ fullback was sin-binned when she tackled Phelan as the home outhalf chased her own kick ahead. A penalty try could have ensued but Buccs extended their advantage with Phelan’s penalty kick after 53 minutes. Sligo dug deep when numerically disadvantaged to keep the score at 13-7 but they were undone yet again at scrumtime when Buccs turned over possession and the formidable Sinead Taylor powered through for an excellent 72nd minute try that sealed a thoroughly deserved 18-7 victory.
This was a terrific team effort by Buccaneers who were missing their chief scorer Niamh Ni Dhroma, who was on duty with Connacht. Congrats to Niamh! But there is better balance and more options in their squad now, and in Taylor and Phelan they have unearthed a couple of gems. Anne Marie Sleator had a sterling showing while Borque Coscajo, Sharon Hynds and Niamh Gough also did well.
BUCCANEERS:- M.Devaney; Y.O’Shea, A.Kelleher, S.Taylor, N.Gough; E.Phelan, S.Hynds; T.Finnerty, M.Kiripati (captain), A.M.Sleator; C.Moore, N.Egan; M.Borque Coscajo, C.Mannion & E.Conlon. Replacements:- D.Coghill (for Mannion, h/t) and C.Mannion (for Devaney, inj. 44 mins).
REFEREE:- Noel Crowley (Connacht).