BUCCANEERS 7 CLONTARF 33 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Mar  12   2018

BUCCANEERS remain rooted at the bottom of Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League following their 33-7 home defeat to Clontarf on Friday night. This ‘Ganly’s of Athlone’ sponsored match, which fell victim to the recent snow, was rescheduled under the Dubarry Park floodlights. A cold, wet and windy night meant conditions were testing for player and spectator alike with the elements better suited to the physically stronger visitors whose bonus point victory, allied to Garryowen’s home defeat, saw the Dublin side leap frog a pair of Limerick clubs into the Top Four.


Buccs made four changes for this game, three in the backline. With Rory Scholes ineligible and Conor McKeon on holidays, Darragh Corbett and Graham Lynch returned at right wing and scrumhalf respectively. Rory O’Connor replaced Alan Gaughan with Callum Boland switching to fullback. Ruairi Byrne replaced the injured Cian Romaine in the second row.


Although playing against the breeze, Clontarf made the early running and Boland had to put in a try-saving tackle on Adrian Feeney after 11 minutes while moments later O’Connor won the race to ground a grubber kick through before a Tarf player could get to the ball. Ben Carty then had to be strong to shunt Royce Burke-Flynn into touch. Eventually, a clever diagonal kick by Conor O’Brien to his brother Sean on the left flank exposed the Pirates defence although the visiting winger appeared to drop the ball before he grounded it. However, this 21st minute try stood although it was not converted.


Further pressure by Tarf yielded a 32nd minute Jack Power try converted by David Joyce for a 12-0 lead. Three minutes later, Buccs lock Daniel Law was sin-binned for illegal use of the boot. Clontarf then applied a series of pick and goes until Matt D’Arcy punched a hole in the home cover for a well taken 37th minute try with Joyce adding the conversion. Buccs responded coming up to half-time with Shane Layden being stopped close to the visitors’ line. This attack earned Buccs a penalty which was punted to the right corner. From the lineout they came close to opening their account but John Sutton was held up on the visitors’ line so the Athlone side, who lost both Layden and Evan Galvin to injuries in the opening half, trailed 19-0 at halftime.


Clontarf promptly secured their bonus point try following the change of ends. Anthony Ryan made a telling break to get deep into home territory and the superior power of Tarf’s pack led to Dylan Donnellan driving over for 42nd minute try duly converted by Joyce. Buccs responded to earn a penalty in front of the posts that was tapped quickly but the pass that sent Rory O’Connor over the line was ruled forward to the relief of the metropolitans. Injuries in quick succession to Simon Meagher and O’Connor forced their withdrawals before the hour mark, to further disrupt Buccs endeavours.


As the game entered the final quarter, Michael Noone stretched over the home line for a 63rd minute try and Joyce landed his fourth successful conversion to push his side’s advantage to 33-0. To their eternal credit, Buccaneers battled gamely to the bitter end and were decidedly unlucky when Darragh Corbett was stopped by a seemingly high tackle just short of the visitors’ line five minutes from time. Then a brilliant break by ‘Audi Athlone’ Man of the Match Paul Boyle warranted a try that appeared to be prevented by a knock-on. In both instances, Clontarf went unpunished.


However, the midlanders gained some reward for their unstinting efforts and fittingly No.8 Boyle was their scorer when he powered through for a final move try which Luke Carty converted to take the bare look off the 33-7 scoreline.


Clontarf were the stronger, more pragmatic outfit with Noone, D’arcy and Ben Reilly influential. However, basement club Buccs did not help their cause by kicking away far too much hard won possession and conceding penalties that stifled any impetus while too often their ball receiver was stationery when getting possession. They toiled commendably in the scrums and the lineout worked well while they could not be faulted for their spirited and sustained efforts, which they have maintained consistently throughout a challenging and difficult season.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; D.Corbett, S.Layden (captain), B.Carty, R.O’Connor; L.Carty, G.Lynch; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.Kenny; R.Byrne, D.Law; S.Meagher, E.Galvin and P.Boyle. Replacements:- B.Diffley (for Galvin, inj. 34 mins), C.O’Donnell (for Staunton, 34 mins), A.Gaughan (for Layden, inj. 39 mins), F.Hopkins (for Lynch, h/t), R.Grenham (for Sutton, 47 mins), M.Staunton (for Kenny, 56 mins), J.Sutton (for Meagher, inj. 56 mins), G.Lynch (for O’Connor, inj. 56 mins) and C.Kenny (for Boland, inj. 74 mins).


CLONTARF:- J.Power; J.McKeown, C.O’Brien, M.D’arcy, S.O’Brien; D.Joyce, A.Feeney; I.Soroka, D.Donnellan, R.Burke-Flynn; T.Byrne, B.Reilly (captain); A.Ryan, V.Gavin and M.Noone. Replacements:- A.Robles (for D’arcy, 53 mins), K.Knaggs (for Soroka, 56 mins), J.Larbey (for Donnellan, 63 mins), I.Soroka (for Burke-Flynn, 63 mins), M.O’Sullivan (for Feeney, 73 mins), J.Doyle (for Byrne) and T.Byrne (for Reilly, 77 mins).