BUCCANEERS 19 UCD 13 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Nov  28   2017

BUCCANEERS finally found the winning formula as they forged their first victory in the Ulster Bank League this season when holding off the challenge of University College Dublin to emerge with a 19-13 win at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. Buccs put in another passionate and sustained collective effort that earned the Pirates a richly deserved if long overdue maiden victory in Division 1A. On a nippy but sunny afternoon a well-contested and absorbing encounter unfolded that ensured the spectators did not notice the cold. Despite the recent downpours, the pitch although soft stood up very well to the action.


Buccaneers welcomed back lock Peter Claffey and No.8 Paul Boyle after injury with Simon Meagher switching to blindside flanker while Conor McKeon returned at scrumhalf to the side that lost narrowly to dual champions Cork Constitution last time out. UCD had four changes in personnel from their win at Terenure College, three of them in the backline where Gavin Mullin started at centre, Robert Keenan on the right wing and Harry Byrne at fly-half necessitating a switch to fullback for Leinster A player Ciaran Frawley. Leinster A  captain Peadar Timmins took over the No.8 role as Josh Murphy started for Leinster against the Dragons while ex-Bucc Stephen McVeigh was named on the visitors’ bench.  


With the strong sunshine at their backs, the Athlone side scored an equally bright try when, after turning over possession on the visitors ten metre line, they promptly stretched the Students’ defence with swift movement of the ball and a strong carry by Alan Gaughan before the centre popped the ball to Rory O’Connor. The home winger still had much to do but, appropriately in the seventh minute, he outflanked the College cover for his seventh try of the campaign. From a fairly straight forward position Luke Carty, untypically, was unable to embellish this excellent score with a conversion but the young outhalf quickly found his range four minutes later after UCD conceded a penalty at scrumtime. This was just the start that the midlanders hoped for, 8-0 to the good.


The Students retorted with a Harry Byrne penalty on 18 minutes. It followed a decent build-up by the visitors that brought them close to the home line where a defensive knock-on was deemed deliberate while Claffey, who did not hear the referee’s whistle, played on and was perhaps harshly yellow-carded for doing so. But this double setback did not phase spirited Buccs and, after Gaughan was tackled in the air, they made promising territory with a penalty to touch on the right. Although the home pack was a player short, they then shunted UCD backwards at a scrum to earn a penalty that was swiftly taken and Niall Farrelly was held up just short of the line. However, McKeon neatly scooped the ball to Shane Layden and the Buccaneers skipper powered over for an unconverted 22nd minute try in the right corner.


Darragh Corbett dealt coolly with an angled kick ahead before College got away with a knock-on in the build up to their second score that followed an improved spell by UCD with Byrne stroking over a 33rd minute penalty. Half-time arrived with Buccaneers 13-6 to the good. The sun clouded over during the interval and Buccs were a little edgy on the restart. Corbett was not so convincing with a kick ahead by Keenan, opting to pass infield instead of simply clearing his lines and Callum Boland’s kick under pressure was blocked but the ball spun over the dead ball line.


Buccs quickly got back into their stride and were unfortunate when a magnificent flowing move initiated by John Sutton and carried on by Daniel Law and Boyle saw the ball reach O’Connor but the combined efforts of UCD duo Jamie Glynn and Keenan tackled him into touch just short of the line. Buccaneers continued to press and Carty thumped over a splendid penalty into the freshening breeze for a 16-6 advantage after 51 minutes. As rain briefly drizzled, Meagher made a rousing surge and the Pirates earned another long-range penalty five minutes later from which Carty was narrowly off-target.


UCD cut their arrears to just three points after 64 minutes when after a period of pressure referee Eddie Hogan-O’Connell ruled that Will Connors had grounded the ball against a goalpost pad. Byrne, younger brother of rising Leinster star Ross, had no difficulty with the easy conversion. As both sides unloaded their benches, Buccs had the next opportunities to add to their tally but a lineout throw just five metres out went badly awry on 73 minutes. However, within a minute they had doubled their advantage after a teasing up and under by Carty tempted the Students offside and the home outhalf was coolness personified when drilling over the resultant penalty from 25 metres.


In the dying moments College threw everything they could at the hosts but relentless and disciplined tackling by Buccaneers and one mighty clearance by Graham Lynch ensured that they were not going to let this game slip from their grasp as they battled all the way for their 19-13 victory. Unbridled joy ensued among both players and supporters at the final whistle although the attendance, due to the IRFU playing AIL games on international match days, was sparse. Victory was due reward for an eager young squad who have maintained their appetite, gumption and positive endeavour despite their sequence of near misses. McKeon was named AUDI ATHLONE Man of the Match and the ever dangerous O’Connor and blossoming Carty were other backs to shine. Buccs most consistent performer this season Claffey put in another tremendous shift in a hard-working forwards unit where the fiery Sutton was a constant thorn for the visitors, Law made a significant impact and Cian Romaine had his best outing to date. Openside flanker Connors was College’s liveliest forward with Leinster A prop Jeremy Loughman also doing a lot of good work. The Students backline, however, was kept well in check primarily through committed and sharp tackling by the hosts.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; D.Corbett, A.Gaughan, S.Layden (captain), R.O’Connor; L.Carty, C.McKeon; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, N.Farrelly; P.Claffey, C.Romaine; S.Meagher, E.Galvin and P.Boyle. Replacements:- D.Law (for Galvin, 34 mins), C.O’Donnell (for Farrelly, 34 mins), E.Galvin (for Romaine, 65 mins), C.Reid (for Corbett, 65 mins), G.Lynch (for McKeon, 67 mins) and R.Grenham.


UCD:- C.Frawley; R.Keenan, J.Glynn (captain), G.Mullin, T.O’Brien; H.Byrne, N.Peters; J.Loughman, S.McNulty, L.Hyland; B.Cawley, E.McMahon; R.Foley, W.Connors and P.Timmons. Replacements:- S.McVeigh (for McMahon, 54 mins), R.Mulvihill (for Hyland, 54 mins), G.Frayne (for McNulty, 60 mins), M.Gilsenan (for Peters, 60 mins), L.Hyland (for Loughman, 67 mins) and J.Ringrose.


Referee:- Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (IRFU).




BUCCANEERS U-20’s finally hit the form that they are capable off when defeating Suttonians 35-5 in their J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 game at Dubarry Park on Sunday. The going was testing for this encounter on a damp, murky afternoon but Buccs efforts brightened the greyness up considerably.


Buccs settled steadily into the contest and, following a penalty that found touch in promising territory, the home forwards drove over for a 14th minute try on the right by prop Ryan Lomas. Michael Hanley added an excellent touchline conversion. The greasy conditions made handling difficult and a slippery back pass almost coughed up a try to the visitors but Conor McMahon was alert to avert the danger while Thomas McGann then dealt with a teasing angled kick as Suttonians came more into the game. Frankie Hopkins then had a try disallowed for crossing just before halftime at which stage Buccs lead of 7-0 was tenuous.


But just three minutes into the second half, the young Pirates doubled their lead. A series of enterprising moves yielded a sequence of close-in scrums that led to a maul over the Dubliners line and Hopkins was quickest to pounce for a 43rd minute try which Hanley converted from the right. The homesters third try arrived in similar fashion twenty minutes later with Hopkins, fresh from his exploits with the Senior squad, notching his second touchdown. The slight-framed Hanley duly added the conversion.


Two minutes later hooker Atrio Obono was sin-binned for a careless tackle but, within a minute, the Athlone side secured their bonus point try. Eoin O’Reilly and the impressive Niall Murray chased a seemingly lost cause long kick ahead to cause disarray in the visitors’ defence and Sam Hastings swooped for an opportunistic try on the right. Hanley duly converted with aplomb from the right for a 28-0 lead.


In the now near gloom Suttonians scored a consolation unconverted try on 70 minutes after which Robert Enraght-Moony was yellow carded for a difference of opinion with the referee. Nevertheless, despite two players in the bin, Buccaneers continued to force the pace and Hopkins completed a hat-trick of tries after 76 minutes. Hanley maintained his impeccable place-kicking and his conversion completed the 35-5 winning margin.


This was more like it from Buccs. Hopkins was the star of the show, Hanley was composed and McMahon was strong in the backline. Murray stood out in a dominant pack where Sean O’Connell, Enraght-Moony and Jack Delahunt also put in decent shifts.


BUCCANEERS:- R.Convey; E.O’Reilly, R.Murphy-Sweeney, C.McMahon, T.McGann; M.Hanley, F.Hopkins; S.O’Connell, A.Obono, R.Lomas; K.Wheatley-Byrne, N.Murray; L.Donnelly, R.Enraght-Moony and J.Delahunt. Rolling Substitutes:- D.Farrelly, K.Foxe, S.Hastings, C.Reilly, R.Teap, T.Prendergast and R.Keighery-Farley.     




BUCCANEERS SECONDS went down 27-5 to high-flying Connemara in their Connacht Junior 1A League game played at a windy Monastery Field, Clifden, on Sunday. The Blacks had the benefit of the breeze in the opening half and made the most of it to lead 20-5 at the break.


Although the breeze died for the second period, battling Buccs gave a greatly improved showing although they could not add to their tally. The forwards fronted up to make a real contest of it while Graham Lynch, who scored the Athlone side’s solitary try, was his team’s top performer. Connemara scored one try in this half and the win elevates them to top of the league table.  


BUCCANEERS:- C.Seery; H.Hughes, S.Dempsey, S.Flynn (captain), G.Fallon; D.McMahon, G.Lynch; R.O’Meara, R.Grenham, K.Grehan; R.Byrne, S.Byrne; N.Flynn, T.Phillips and R.Dooley. Rolling Substitutes:- T.Thompson, C.Cleary, C.Forde and A.Hayman.