BUCCANEERS 23 CORINTHIANS 32 (Cup semifinal 2019) | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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BUCCANEERS 23 CORINTHIANS 32 (Cup semifinal 2019)

published:Oct  30   2019

A more physical and committed Corinthians overcame Buccaneers 32-23 in their Connacht Senior Cup semi-final played in near ideal conditions under the Dubarry Park floodlights on Thursday night. The Tribesmens pack was the dominant force in the tight and their defence was generally uncompromising against a much-changed home outfit.


Sporting eight changes from the side that defeated Ballymena in the AIL, Buccs squad on this occasion could best be described as experimental with a raft of inexperienced players in their ranks. Corinthians also had a number of youthful operators but their pack was much more seasoned than the hosts and, ultimately, this proved decisive.

Both teams suffered early injury setbacks, the visitors losing Morgan O’Brien after a mere 3 minutes while the luckless Max Kennedy departed the Pirates crew just 4 minutes later. Buccs opened the scoring through a 10th minute Michael Hanley penalty. Five minutes later, following a Darragh Corbett penalty to the Bounty corner, Buccs got a maul going and Darren Browne broke smartly on the blind side to score an unconverted try for a 8-0 lead.

Corinthians opened their account with a 22nd minute Seosamh McDonagh unconverted try in the right corner. The key pass had a hint of forward about it and the try was awarded following consultation by the referee with a touch judge. The westerners were held up over the home line on 34 minutes but they kept the pressure on and Dan Trayers scored a pushover try, again unconverted, two minutes later.

Buccs regained the lead following sustained play with Evan Galvin touching down wide on the right in the final move of the half. Remarkably all four first half tries were not converted and Buccs lead at the interval was 13-10.

Three minutes into the second half, dazzling footwork by McDonagh bewildered the home defence as he got in for a try on the right. Simon Keller landed the first successful conversion on the night to put Corinthians 17-13 ahead,

Hanley and Corbett combined to make good ground for the homesters shortly afterwards that yielded the first of three kickable penalties. However, the young outhalf could only convert one of them on 51 minutes.

Corinthians regained their momentum following a fine snipe by Micheal O’Reilly and, after Aaron Broderick  and Craig Hansberry had carried on the move, McDonagh finished impressively to complete his hat-trick of tries. Keller’s conversion attempt was weak but the visitors now led 22-16 with 15 minutes remaining. The Athlone side now belatedly introduced Christian Maulaulau and quickly regained the lead. Hanley intercepted just inside the visitors’ half and scooted in for a try wide on the right. He added a splendid conversion to put Buccs ahead by a single point.

But the young flyhalf undid his excellent work by knocking on the restart inside his own 22. Corinthians pack relished this unexpected opportunity to get secure ball which was flashed wide to Keller who burst through for a try on the left. He added a splendid conversion and then secured victory with a late penalty.

Corinthians pack dominated in the tight while Buccs lack of height meant lineouts were also a lottery for the hosts. A poor return from placekicks did not help their cause while, with the game finely balanced throughout, it was a mystery that Maulaulau entered the fray so late. McDonagh and O’Reilly were exciting backs in the Galway side’s ranks and their bigger, workmanlike pack held the upperhand. Evan Galvin and Frank Hopkins caught the eye for the homesters for whom Oisin Kiernan made a promising debut in the front row.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Corbett; R.Murphy-Sweeney, S.O’Carroll, R.Enraght-Moony, R.O’Connor; M.Hanley, F.Hopkins; M.Murphy, D.Browne, O.Kiernan; F.Galvin, M.Kennedy; L.Donnelly, S.O’Connell and E.Galvin (captain), Replacements:- S.Kroupa (for Kennedy, inj. 7 mins), L.Loashvili (for Murphy, 24 mins), S.Mannion (for Corbett, inj. 54 mins), D.Buckley (for Donnelly, 61 mins), C.Maulaulau (for O’Connell, 66 mins), A.McAleer (for Enraght-Moony, 72 mins) and E.O’Reilly (for Murphy-Sweeney, 72 mins).

CORINTHIANS:- M.O’Reilly; C.O’Sullivan, C.Evans, S.Kilgallen, S.McDonagh; S.Keller, J.Whyte; A.Burke, H.Wood-Hennessy, C.Hansbury; R.Murphy (captain), J.Campbell; C.Hoxford, M.O’Brien and D.Trayers.  Replacements:- P.Grehan (for O’Brien, inj. 3 mins), A.Broderick (for Campbell, 46 mins), C.O’Griofa (for Burke, 48 mins), C.Burns (for Whyte, 54 mins),  T.Forde (for Kilgallen, 54 mins),  E.de Buitlear (for Wood-Hennessy, 56m mins) and J.Noone (for Trayers, 61 mins).

Referee:- Danny Maguire (Connacht).