BUCCANEERS 27 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 22 (U-20's) | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Nov  15   2018

Buccaneers U-20’s showed real character to overcome a strong Dublin University challenge in an enthralling and entertaining J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier 2 league encounter at Dubarry Park last Sunday. The home team made four changes from the previous week with Brian McDonnell making his first start for the club in the back row and Goncalo Catarino returning from injury. Liam Winnett was welcomed back following his exertions in Ireland U-20’s camp the previous week. In a final change Sean Flynn, also returning from injury, slotted into the full back berth with Jensen Nagle moving to the wing.


Dublin University started the strongest, and as expected, were very threatening when they moved the ball wide. It took just 6 minutes for the visitors to register the first score. Off a lineout, the ball was moved swiftly and with gaps in the Buccaneers defence, a line break followed for the opening try of the game. The conversion followed and Buccaneers needed to settle. Upon the restart, the home team started to win ruck ball, and a wonderful opportunist kick from Hanley to his wing Killian Foxe was just knocked on. Foxe was injured in the effort and was replaced by Tom Appleby. Undeterred, Buccaneers were starting to get on top of the forward exchanges, and won a penalty for their efforts on 10 minutes. Hanley pushed his kick wide of the posts to keep the margin at 7 points.


As is always the case with teams from Dublin University, they had excellent backline speed and ball handling, and they continued to run the ball wide. On 22 minutes, they were rewarded with the second try of the game, when a knock on from Buccaneers was punished with a break down the wing. The conversion was missed and Buccaneers were 12 points down. Buccaneers needed to keep the ball, and be a bit more patient. The message clearly got to the players, as they were the dominant team for the rest of the first half. Harry O’Reilly rotated on for James Kelly, and with Sam Krupa becoming a real force, the home pack took control of the ball and were content to pick and drive hard at the visitors’ defence. On 32 minutes, Darren Browne and Fergus Galvin combined to orchestrate a good lineout win, and both players followed up in the next exchanges, with Galvin finally cutting through for the opening home try. Hanley converted and spirits were lifted.


Buccaneers were then awarded a penalty following a barrage of breaks by O’Reilly, Winnett, Browne and the imperious Galvin, with the visitors now visibly struggling to live with the intensity of the home pack. Hanley slotted the penalty to bring the margin to 2 points as the first half entered injury time. The final play of the half was a moment of real skill and, for the second week in a row, it was a Hanley crosskick to the wing that caught the visitors off guard and Appleby gathered to cross the line. Hanley converted to take Buccaneers to 17 points, and give a renewed Buccaneers side a half time lead of 5 points.


Kelly re-joined the fray for the second half, with the versatile O’Reilly switching to tighthead. Winnett moved into the backrow replacing Catarino. The visitors came out of the blocks first however, and following a long kick into Buccaneers territory, full back Flynn tracked back superbly but unwittingly took the ball over his own line. From the ensuing penalty and exchanges, the visitors scored the opening try of the second half. The conversion however was missed and Buccaneers regrouped.

The home defence was now coming into the game, and with the Buccaneers pack well on top, this combined effort was ensuring that Dublin University were not able to get any momentum. Colm McMahon and Daniel Ennis were now steady in defence, and Dermot O’Rourke was his menacing best at scrum half, willing his pack on. The home set piece was dominant, and on 20 minutes, following another lineout win, McDonnell punched through for his first try for the club. Hanley duly converted.

Winnett was becoming a real force, running hard at the opposing defence as were O’Reilly and Browne. From a series of onslaughts into the visitors’ half, a high tackle presented Hanley with a penalty opportunity. He duly obliged and Buccaneers entered the final 15 minutes 10 points in front.


The home team were then dealt a blow when the inspiring Krupa injured his shoulder and had to leave the field. Anthony Lynch was introduced off the bench. Dublin University threw everything at the home team and were menacing on every move. However, the home defence was fearless and showed tremendous character to keep them at bay. Inevitably as the game entered injury time, the visitors scrambled over for a try, missing the conversion to leave 5 points between the sides. Referee Shane Gaughan, who had a very fine outing, signalled 3 minutes of play left and Buccs knew they had to stay going. In those frenzied few minutes, the coaches can perhaps be best pleased with the day’s performance as a totally committed home team stayed focused and resilient to see out the game with a 5-point win.

The final whistle was applauded by a good crowd who braved the cold to witness a young Buccaneers team who are growing into this very competitive premier league. Dublin University, who were on top of the table coming into the game, were a fine side that will feature strongly as this league progresses.


Lock Fergus Galvin was man of the match. He was closely followed in the pack by O’Reilly, Winnett, Krupa and Browne who all had hugely energetic and impactful influences on the game. Connor Watt, with his family from South Africa watching in the crowd, also had a very committed game. O’Donnell got his maiden try for the club and captain Kelly was always involved in the action. The backline grew into the game. Outhalf Hanley again put in a very controlled performance, and his half back partner O’Rourke was brave as always. Centres McMahon and Ennis settled well, and the back three of Nagle, Appleby and Flynn offered an offensive threat when asked,

Next up is an away trip to Old Belvedere on Sunday November 25th. This will be a very difficult encounter, but one which Buccaneers will meet head on.


Buccaneers : S Flynn; J Nagle, D Ennis, C McMahon, K Foxe; M Hanley, D O’Rourke; J Kelly (captain), D Browne, L Winnett; F Galvin, S Krupa; G Catarino, B McDonnell and C Watt. Replacements:- C Daly, H O’Reilly, A Abona, G Monticone, A Lynch, K Byrne, T Appleby, J Curley, L Donnelly, E Cooney, A Murtagh and C Forkin. 


U-14’s vs Corinthians & U-15’s vs Ballina


The U-14’s travelled to Corinthians to play the return fixture which they had won at home in September. Only super scramble defence kept the home team out in the first ten minutes but Buccs broke out with a clever cross field punt by Euan Joyce putting Diego away and, after a 75 meter run, he was unexpectedly caught on the line. Body heights were at fault in no score from the resulting penalties. The half time break came with honours equal and with 12 minutes to go Buccs conceded after constant pressure. Two tries quickly followed from last year’s cup and league winners against a plucky Buccs side. Best for Buccs were Conor Sheehan and Leon Cassidy in the forwards and captain James Clarke and Diego in the back line.


The U-15’s were keen to continue their good form when they travelled to Ballina where they lost 63-5 last year. Early pressure from Buccs should have resulted in a score but Ballina took the resultant scrum against the head and ran the length of the field to score. More slack defence out wide resulted in points for the home team.


At half time Buccs were looking down the barrel but this squad are made of sterner stuff and scored 4 tries. However they were still behind 41-26 when the final whistle came for a relieved home team. Captain Luca Giles led from the front and he received most support from Alban and Charlie Byrne with Paidi O’Laughlin, Cian Daly and Kevin Claffey shining in the backs.




BUCCANEERS J1’s have pride of place this weekend when they take on Castlebar in the Connacht Junior 1A League at Dubarry Park on Sunday afternoon. Kick off is 2.30 p.m. The Mayo club are tucked in mid table and, like the Pirates, have suffered a number of narrow defeats. A close encounter is anticipated in Athlone where the exchanges are likely to be well contested.


Of course, the main rugby event takes place the following evening when Ireland throw down the gauntlet to New Zealand in the Aviva Stadium. This massively anticipated match should be an absolute cracker and is certainly not a game to be missed. If you are not one of those fortunate to get your paws on coveted match tickets, then there is no other place better than The Bounty to watch the match and savour the atmosphere. Here’s wishing Robbie Henshaw and Ireland will forge a first home win over the All Blacks. Kick off 7 p.m.