Big win keeps Buccs in the hunt | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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Big win keeps Buccs in the hunt

published:Apr  02   2012

BUCCANEERS 43    (J.Carty 2 tries, 4 cons & 1 pen, C.FitzGibbon 2 tries, C.Finn try, P.Harte try & M.Dolan con)

UCC 22    (B.Scott 2 tries, C.Jouve try, L.Duffy 2 cons & pen)

Diarmuid Higgins with ball in hand is well supported in this attack by Buccaneers against UCC
BUCCANEERS bounced back quickly to winning ways when they comfortably defeated University College, Cork, 43-22 in a lively and entertaining Ulster Bank League Division 1B encounter at Dubarry Park, Athlone. The home win moves Buccs up a couple of notches in the league table to fourth, still in contention for promotion. Defeat for UCC, however, confirms relegation for the Students.

Buccs were bolstered by the return of six of last week’s absentees. Conor Finn and Paul Harte returned in the three-quarters line while Diarmuid Higgins, Garreth Halligan, Daniel Qualter and Eoghan Grace boosted their forwards power. Meanwhile, UCC were short Brian Slater and Brian O’Callaghan. Conditions were very good for this contest on a cool, dry afternoon with the breeze favouring the hosts in the opening half.

A ten points scoring spurt by Jack Carty in the opening five minutes swiftly restored confidence in the Pirates’ ranks. The young outhalf got the scoreboard moving with a second minute penalty. Three minutes later, following a good build-up involving Kolo Kiripati, Conor FitzGibbon and James Tormey, Carty was striding in for the midlanders’ first try at the posts making his conversion elementary. After ‘Baby’ the circus elephant had run freely through Cork earlier in the week, it seemed as if Buccs too would inflict a runaway win on the city’s University side but College, finding the firm surface to their liking, began to find their feet before a clever crossfield kick was caught by Joe Holland in the left corner where Cyprien Jouve burrowed in for a 9th minute try. Five minutes later, wing Finn had to put in a solid tackle to stop Michael Linehan’s progress close to the home line before Luke Duffy, who was unable to add the conversion, landed a 16th minute penalty after Buccs had come in from the side to tighten the scoreline to 10-8.

Both teams were endeavouring to move the ball at a decent tempo and a cute Grace diagonal kick just eluded the chasing Finn while Conor Lavelle, sent away by the impressive Harte, was stopped by Daryl Foley just short of the UCC line. However, Harte made great ground almost immediately and his terrific offload sent Carty scampering away for his second try, which he also converted, after 21 minutes. Prop Higgins then made the hard yards in setting up Finn’s 29th minute try with Carty’s conversion putting Buccaneers 24-8 to the good. The standoff almost made it a hat-trick two minutes later but Holland won the race to a Buccs kick ahead. However, the Pirates grabbed their fourth try within a minute when, after the formidable Higgins had brought possession close to the UCC line, centre FitzGibbon was on hand to surge over for his first AIL try. Carty’s conversion attempt of this bonus point try tailed wide and he was off-target with a lengthy penalty with the last kick of the half, leaving Buccaneers 29-8 ahead at the interval.

Buccs’ may have felt that the job was completed at this stage for their concentration and workload dropped for a period following the restart. UCC showed they were not throwing in the towel when, after they opted to punt a close-in penalty to touch on the right, they steamrolled the Pirates over their line enabling Brian Scott to ground the ball for a 43rd minute try which Duffy converted. Carty was sin-binned three minutes later for slowing possession but Buccs knuckled down again with Mark Dolan smartly wrong-footing the visitors’ defence to lay off to FitzGibbon for his second try on 54 minutes which scrumhalf Dolan converted via an upright.

This gave Buccs a commanding 36-15 lead but, just two minutes later, a pass was so telegraphed that prop Scott could hover up the gift ball and barrel through for his second try which Duffy converted. This setback stung the Athlone outfit into a positive response and Finn should have notched his second try but he knocked on when he was nailed by Jouve while diving for the line. However, Carty was again to the fore in the lead up carried on by Grace who off-loaded exquisitely to Harte and the busy centre raced in for Buccs sixth try on his final appearance before his emigration to Australia. Carty slotted the conversion to complete a splendid overall contribution including 21 points that ensured he was a worthy ‘AUDI ATHLONE Man of the Match’ winner.

This was a sparkling display by this developing Buccaneers squad. They played with verve and enterprise for long spells with Carty, Harte and Dolan setting the tone in the backline with Higgins, Grace and Qualter doing most of the damage in the forwards. Centres Duffy and Jouve were UCC’s best operators while Luke Cahill worked his socks off in the pack. Buccs are now in fourth place, six points behind leaders Belfast Harlequins but only two adrift of second-placed UL Bohemian. The Athlone standard bearers have two away fixtures remaining, against Galwegians on April 14th and Bruff on 21st.

Footnote:-  It was a memorable day too for young Caolan Scully who was mascot for the day as he led out the Buccaneers team along with captain Kolo Kiripati.

BUCCANEERS:- C.Lavelle; C.Seery, P.Harte, C.FitzGibbon, C.Finn; J.Carty, M.Dolan; D.Buckley, G.Halligan, D.Higgins; J.Tormey, D.Qualter; L.Satchwell, E.Grace and K.Kiripati (captain). Replacements:- P.de Burca (for Satchwell, 29 mins), M.Staunton (for Higgins, 37 mins), B.Digby (for Seery, 49 mins), D.Higgins (for Staunton, 58 mins), M.Staunton (for Buckley, 77 mins), E.O’Brien (for Halligan, 78 mins) and T.Clifford (for Carty, 78 mins).

U.C.C:- D.McNamara; M.Deane, L.Duffy, C.Jouve, J.Holland; P.Parfrey, B.Newman; B.Scott, P.McCabe, P.Ryan; B.Quill, D.O’Connell; M.Lenihan (captain), W.Ryan and L.Cahill. Replacements:- D.Foley (for Newman, inj. 3 mins),W.Falvey (for McCabe, 24 mins), S.Moynihan (for P.Ryan, inj. 28 mins), B.Newman (for Deane, h/t),  J.Mulcahy (for W.Ryan, h/t), J.MacCarthy (for O’Connell, h/t), P.McCabe (for Scott, 72 mins), W.Ryan (for Cahill, 72 mins) and D.O’Connell (for Quill, 72 mins).

REFEREE:-  Richard Kerr (Ulster).