BUCCANEERS 6 ST MARY’S COLLEGE 22 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Dec  11   2017

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE swiftly avenged last week’s home defeat to Buccaneers when they overcame the midlanders 22-6 in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A match played at Dubarry Park on Saturday. The Dublin side, bolstered by the return of Ireland Sevens player Terry Kennedy at fullback and the restoration of fit again Sean Kearns to fly-half, were the better outfit for the majority of this contest. This was Buccs poorest display since the opening game of last season at Ballynahinch.


Conditions while cold were near perfect for rugby with the pitch in fine nick for the game, sponsored by Russell Brennan Keane, which was played with some fervour in front of a decent and vocal attendance. Unlike the previous week, St. Mary’s opened at a tempo lacking at Templeville Road against Buccs who were much depleted on this occasion, particularly in their forwards unit. Injury in the away game ruled out Simon Meagher while Paul Boyle, Conan O’Donnell, Conor Kenny and Conor McKeon were flying with Connacht Eagles. Niall Farrelly, Ruairi Byrne and Ryan O’Meara, the latter out of position at No.8, were drafted into the pack with Graham Lynch operating at scrumhalf. Meanwhile with lock Peter Claffey also not available, St. Mary’s targeted a home pack which was under pressure in the set pieces especially the scrum.


A block by Cian Romaine and swift movement of the ball across field to Shane Layden who made a strong carry to link up with Alan Gaughan and his pass sent Darragh Corbett scurrying up the right flank in the first promising move of the match after 8 minutes. Terry Kennedy and Marcus O’Driscoll then combined to retort for the visitors but they were held up short of the home line. However, the visitors’ forward power earned the first score after 14 minutes. A terrific maul saw them drive over the home line where their No.8 Caelen Sweeney-Doris clearly grounded the ball near the posts although referee Paul Haycock peculiarly and belatedly signalled it as a penalty try.


Buccs stemmed the St. Mary’s tide after a period of fierce pressure and Layden and Gaughan again threatened but the final pass squirmed away from Corbett. They had now worked their way back into the game and Luke Carty opened their account with a 26th minute penalty. The midlanders enjoyed their best spell in this period and further good work, including a soaring leap and catch by Rory O’Connor and a splendid Gaughan tackle on USA international Tim Maupin, yielded a penalty which Carty punted to the left touch. An impressive maul followed leading to another successful placekick five minutes later to leave just a single point between the teams.


College’s Hugh Kelleher was sin binned when conceding that penalty but it was St. Mary’s who got the next brace of scores. The Pirates will be disappointed with the concession of both.  Fullback Kennedy again got close to the home line where solid defending earned a relieving penalty. However, Buccs pack infringed at a scrum although having a player advantage and Kearns drilled over a super 37th minute penalty. Then in the final move of the half, a number of Buccs players were hesitant in defence and fullback Kennedy took full advantage to snaffle an unconverted try wide on the left for a 15-6 half-time lead.


St Mary’s were content to kick for territory in the third quarter as the home side’s patchwork pack found it difficult to make ground. Chances were at a premium in the second half with Callum Boland, Dan Law, Evan Galvin and Byrne doing some notable defensive work for the hosts. Kearns missed a straight-forward penalty on the hour mark while six minutes later Carty was off-target with a long-range effort for Buccaneers. With College having more options off the bench, they looked the more likely to add to their tally in the closing stages.


Just as they had done in the first half, the homesters conceded a soft late try. Corbett should have opted for the safety of touch following an angled teasing kick by the metropolitans but endeavoured to play the ball infield where St. Mary’s arrived like a swarm and possession was pilfered from Romaine with Myles Carey applying the finish for an opportunist try at the posts. Conor Dean’s conversion completed the merited 22-6 win for St. Mary’s which saw them edge above Dublin University whilst defeat ensures Buccaneers prop up the league table over the festive break.


The Athlone side battled bravely and willingly but this was their weakest display of the campaign with the absence of so many players a burden they could not carry despite the endeavours of AUDI ATHLONE Man of the Match Layden. They will get a brief respite to recharge their batteries before they head to Cork Constitution on January 6th when, hopefully, player availability will be significantly improved.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; D.Corbett, A.Gaughan, S.Layden (captain), R.O’Connor; L.Carty, G.Lynch; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, N.Farrelly; R.Byrne, C.Romaine; D.Law, E.Galvin and R.O’Meara. Replacements:- F.Hopkins (for Lynch, 72 mins), R.Grenham (for O’Meara, 72 mins), C.Reid (for Gaughan, 72 mins), R.O’Meara (for Staunton, inj. 74 mins), J.Foley and S.Dempsey.


ST. MARY’S COLLEGE:- T.Kennedy; M.Carey, M.O’Driscoll, C.Kennedy, T.Maupin; S.Kearns, P.O’Driscoll; T.O’Reilly, R.Halpin, A.Coyle; C.Ruddock (captain), C.O’Flaherty; H.Kelleher, N.McCarthy and C.Sweeney-Doris. Replacements:- C.Dean (for Kearns, 52 mins), J.Aungier (for Coyle, 57 mins), S.Kearns (for Maupin, 57 mins), R.Glynn (for P.O’Driscoll, 65 mins), H.Kean (for Halpin, 65 mins), I.Cullinane (for McCarthy, 65 mins) and T.Maupin (for Kearns, 65 mins).


Referee:- Paul Haycock (IRFU).