Buccs spurn late match winning chance | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

. . . . .

Buccs spurn late match winning chance

published:Nov  04   2018



A sustained and disciplined defensive finish by Malone saw the Belfast side hang on to pip Buccaneers by the minimum 24-23 in a terrific All-Ireland League Division 1B duel at Dubarry Park on Saturday. In a game that ebbed and flowed, the lead changed hands seven times before this hard-earned victory nudged the northerners to top spot in the league table. However, Buccs will be wondering how they had to settle for a losing bonus point as they pounded the visitors’ line for a prolonged spell with the clock in the red. Why they did not attempt a drop goal, and goodness knows they had several chances to do so, in a thrilling climax is difficult to fathom.


Buccs made one change in personnel from the defeat at Ballynahinch with Rory Moloney starting in place of Simon Meagher who was on the bench while Callum Boland and Michael Hanley switched positions in the backline. The Ulster side had three changes with Daniel Kerr and Joshua Davidson replacing Adam McBurney and Michael Shiels in their pack while Stewart Moore came on at centre instead of David McMaster.


Heavy rain preceding kick off hampered the attendance for this Russell Brennan Keane sponsored game with the diagonal breeze favouring the homesters at the start. Luke Carty opened the scoring for the hosts with a second minute penalty but, seven minutes later, Nathan Brown found a gap in the home cover to send Ben McCaughey scampering in for a try wide on the right. Rory Campbell added the conversion. At the end of the opening quarter, Peter Claffey tapped down lineout ball on the left and Buccs moved it swiftly to the opposite flank where Rory O’Connor outstripped the cover for a try which Carty converted to regain the lead.


On 28 minutes, Carty landed a quite magnificent penalty from over 60 metres to extend Buccaneers advantage to 13-7. But four minutes later, the Pirates were guilty of bringing down a maul and Malone punted to touch near the left corner. From the lineout, they got their maul moving over the home line where hooker Kerr applied the finishing touch and Campbell added a fine conversion. Just before halftime, Malone conceded another penalty which Carty stroked over to give Buccaneers a 16-14 lead at the interval.


In a contest of swaying fortunes, Campbell drilled over a long 44th minute penalty to edge Malone ahead again. Buccs responded when the northerners failed to find touch and Boland attacked from deep. The midlanders earned a penalty which they kicked to touch on the right and, following the lineout, the homesters made a number of sallies before the ball was recycled to the left where Darragh Corbett pirouetted smartly to notch a 53rd minute try. Carty added the touchline conversion to regain the lead at 23-17.


Two minutes later McCaughey and Rory Scholes collided in the air while challenging for a garryowen. The Malone winger came off second best and referee Nigel Correll saw fit to harshly yellow card the Buccs substitute. With their temporary numerical superiority the Ulster side chased a try but the Shannonsiders looked like denying them until Colm Reilly’s telegraphed pass in front of his own posts. Callum Smith read the home scrumhalf’s intentions to intercept for a soft 62nd minute try which Campbell converted.


The otherwise enterprising Reilly suffered another intercept shortly afterwards but Carty bravely did well to tidy up. The exchanges remained nip and tuck right to the dying moments. Then Buccaneers put together a move of some 40 phases in which Claffey and Audi Athlone Man of the Match Conor Kenny were prominent to go from inside their own 22 all the way to the visitors’ line. On a number of occasions a try seemed sure to be the outcome but Malone defended with resolve and discipline to somehow keep their line intact. In the end, Buccs took the wrong option when Carty tried to angle a kick pass to Scholes on the right but McMaster got there first to avert the danger when Buccs had an overlap on the opposite flank. However it was their failure to set up a drop goal (and they had a number of good opportunities to do so) that beggars belief as they spurned a winning chance.


This was a most absorbing contest between two well matched outfits with Malone’s victory putting them on top of the 1B leaderboard. But gallant Buccs, who again never stopped trying, will again rue minor errors that are having major repercussions for them as they struggle to get a winning sequence going.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; R.O’Connor, K.Joyce, M.Hanley, D.Corbett; L.Carty, C.Reilly; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.Kenny; R.Byrne, P.Claffey; O.Treacy, R.Moloney (captain) and E.Galvin. Replacements:- R.Scholes (for O’Connor, h/t), S.Meagher (for Treacy, 60 mins), N.Farrelly (for Staunton, 74 mins), D.Buckley and F.Hopkins.


MALONE:- R.Campbell; N.Brown, J.Pentland, S.Moore, B.McCaughey; C.Smith, S.Kelly; P.Cooper, D.Kerr, R.Kane; J.Davis, J.Davidson; J.Dunleavy, R.Todd (captain) and R.Clarke. Replacements:- M.Hadden (for Davidson, h/t), G.Curtis (for Kelly, 45 mins), B.Halliday (for Cooper, 60 mins), D.McMaster (for McCaughey, 70 mins) andd S.Finlay.


Referee:- Nigel Correll (IRFU).




Backboned by a strong pack, Creggs came out on top over Buccaneers in their Connacht Junior 1A League game played at The Green, Creggs, on Saturday night. The homesters won by a 30-10 margin in testing weather conditions.

Buccs had very little ball the whole game as their scrum was attacked and the lineout failed to function. The Pirates conceded an early penalty after 3 minutes and then an unconverted try on 10 minutes. Buccs responded with a well taken try from captain Dean McMahon and conversion by Gavin O’Toole who followed that up with a penalty kick on 35 minutes. But Buccs failed to see out the 8-10 lead, conceding another soft try just at the half time break.

Buccaneers just could not get ball for their promising backs unit. They defended commendably for the whole game which took its toll. Creggs scored two more tries in the second half from their maul. Gavin O’Toole and Torin Rensford were huge in Buccs attack while Eoghan O’Toole made his first start in the Athlone side’s colours.


BUCCANEERS:-  1 Niall Harney, 2 Darren Buckley, 3 Cedric Forkham; 4 Trevor Phillips, 5 Torin Rensford; 6 Michael Harding, 7 Gavin O’Toole, 8 Sean Flynn; 9 Frankie Hopkins, 10 Eoghan O’Toole; 11 Ross Murphy-Sweeney, 12 Rob Enraght-Moony, 13 Dean McMahon (captain); 14 Eoin O’Reilly; 15 Harry Hughes. Replacements:- 16 Niall Flynn, 17 Atrio Obono, 18 Sam Kruopa, 19 Gerard Fallon and 20 Dave Mannion.


U-20’s home to Trinity


BUCCANEERS U-20’s are home to Dublin University in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 at Dubarry Park on Sunday. This game against the Trinity students kicks off at 2.30 p.m.




Buccaneers U-15’s avenged last year’s two point defeat with a comprehensive 48-18 victory against a decent Westport outfit on Saturday in Athlone. Buccs had first use of the breeze and out half Paidi O’Laughlin controlled proceedings after a brief Westport flourish. The Buccs team put constant pressure on the Westport line but had only two scores to their credit when Sean McGrath gained an intercept in his own 22 and sprinted the whole way to the line.

A quick try early in the second half saw Buccs boss the game for most of the half with Pierce Edmundson and Oisin Dolan adding to a Charlie Byrne double and a McGrath hat trick. The depth of the squad was tested and, even with all 8 subs coming on, Buccs scored the concluding try in the 48-18 win. Buccs have a difficult away game away to Ballina next week but have plenty of confidence after successive wins against Galwegians and now Westport.