BUCCS TAKE ANOTHER STEP CLOSER TO PROMOTION | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Mar  06   2017



BUCCANEERS maintained their relentless drive for promotion when they defeated Dolphin

19-5 in an Ulster Bank League Division 1B game at sodden Dubarry Park on Saturday. This

match pitting top against bottom, sponsored by Glasson Country House Hotel & Golf Club,

turned in to a real dogfight in testing weather and underfoot conditions. The incessant

rain of recent days meant that it surely was appropriate that the combatants were Pirates

and Dolphins!  With the pitch cutting up badly, it militated greatly against the home side’s  favoured style of fast, flowing play but the Athlone standard bearers showed true grit and

resolve in overcoming a very determined challenge by the visitors.


Buccs had just one change in their pack with Jamie Dever starting in place of the departed Saba Meunargia.

      They had two changes in the backline with a new halfback pairing, the experienced Shane O’Leary

switching to scrumhalf instead of Frankie Hopkins and Luke Carty moving to fly-half for the injured Alan

Gaughan. The Leesiders, with a new coaching team at the helm, were unchanged from the side that

defeated Shannon.  


The Pirates got off to a perfect start, Carty’s crossfield kick being gathered by Jordan Conroy to score an

 unconverted try wide on the left after just seven minutes. But Dolphin dominated territory and possession

 for lengthy swathes of the opening half in a game that was in total contrast to the Pirates swash-buckling

      affair away to UL Bohemian last time out. The Corkonians were here to battle for survival in this division ---

      and battle they did. But the usually reliable Barry Keeshan was off-target with kickable penalties on 4 and 30

      minutes in a half when scoring opportunities were at a premium. They applied fierce pressure close to the

half-hour mark but just could not get over the home line in the face of defiant defending.


Matters briefly ran amuck in the muck when the intense exchanges boiled over on 35 minutes and referee Oisin  Quinn red carded both openside flankers, Rory Moloney of Buccs and Dolphin’s Kevin Allen. Quite how he  singled these players out is unclear as both teams were wearing similar strips that were virtually

indistinguishable in the mud at that stage! A block by Conroy in the final minute was deemed to be deliberate  and the midlanders’ winger was yellow carded just before the interval with his try proving the only score of  the first half, leaving Buccs 5-0 ahead.


Buccaneers reappeared for the second half in their canary yellow ‘away’ colours and, although restarting

with only 13 players, they quickly illuminated matters. They raised their tempo and got a foothold in the

Cork side’s 22 where, following a scrum, the ball was moved left and Rory O’Connor fastened onto Carty’s

 perfectly angled grubber kick to swoop for a 48th minute try. Carty added a terrific conversion but Dolphin

 soon responded when Eoin Griffin was forced to tap Keeshan's clearance into touch close to the home line and

                  Dave O’Mahony surged his way over in the right corner following the lineout for a 54th minute try. Cian

                  McGovern, now entrusted with the place-kicking, was unable to convert from near the touchline and he

 was also off-target with a penalty ten minutes later.


Buccs looked like adding to their 12-5 advantage in a sparkling attack started by O’Leary and carried on by

                  Griffin and Shane Layden but, with the visitors’ defence stretched to breaking point, Layden’s offload just

                  missed the supporting Eoghan O’Reilly on 72 minutes. Two minutes later the Pirates got the breathing

space they craved when Dolphin were forced to carry a chip ahead over their own line. From the ensuing

                  scrum, Buccs drove the Cork side’s pack inexorably over their line where Kolo Kiripati grounded the ball

                  and Carty added another top-notch conversion.


The homesters were most unfortunate in the final play not to secure a bonus point try when Conroy, in

 a typically mesmerising run from end to end, was adjudged to have put a foot in touch as he raced to the

Dolphin line in search of his 15th try of the campaign. That would have been hard on the losers who journeyed home empty handed despite rattling Buccaneers but the winners showed necessary traits of

character and mettle in this hard-earned victory in which U-20 Simon Meagher was named AUDI ATHLONE

                  Man of the Match. It was hard to single out individuals in this all-round team effort and their mightily

impressive unbeaten streak now stretches to 14 matches. Buccs now lead the league table by 16 points

with just 4 matches remaining, including next Saturday’s game away to UCC at The Mardyke.   


BUCCANEERS:-  C.Boland; R.O’Connor, S.Layden, A.Hayman, J.Conroy; L.Carty, S.O’Leary;

J.Dever, J.Sutton, M.Staunton; S.Meagher, D.Qualter; S.McVeigh, R.Moloney and K.Kiripati

 (captain). Replacements used:- E.Griffin (for Hayman, h/t), E.O’Reilly (for Boland, inj.

50 mins), A.Hayman (for O’Connor, 52 mins), E.Galvin (for McVeigh, 60 mins), R.O’Meara

(for Dever, 63 mins), R.Grenham (for Sutton, 73 mins) and S.McVeigh (for Meagher, 75 mins).


DOLPHIN:-  T.Phelan; G.Ryan, C.McGovern, I.O’Donoghue, W.Hanly; B.Keeshan, D.Foley;

L.Walsh, C.Scott, J.Rochford; R.O’Herlihy, D.O’Mahony; B.Fitzgerald (captain), K.Allen and

 R.Murphy. Replacements:- D.Byrne (for Scott, h/t), C.Scott (for Byrne, 60 mins), K.Keogh

                  (for Fitzgerald, 71 mins), S.Kennedy (for Foley, 76 mins), C.Monahan (for O’Donoghue,

73 mins) and J.Leahy (for Walsh, 76 mins).


REFEREE:- Oisin Quinn (IRFU).           




BUCCANEERS SECONDS suffered a 42-19 defeat away to Connemara in this Connacht Junior 1A League game  played at the Monastery Field, Clifden, on Sunday. Connemara, harbouring hopes of taking the league title,  began much the better and built up a halftime lead of 42-0. They were assisted by the strong wind and showers in that opening half while the pitch was in very good condition bearing in mind the recent downpours. The Blacks scored six tries, all converted, in that period as they punished Buccs for errors committed.


With their U-20’s inactive, it was surprising that only three were available to bolster this Buccaneers

squad who travelled with just one substitute for this vital encounter. Although the elements were much

more benign in the second half, the Pirates put up a much better performance and Nicky Purcell opened

their scoring with a try early in this half. Garreth Halligan, who had replaced the injured Conor Cleary

midway through the first half, then showed that he still has the scoring touch when notching two tries

in the final quarter. Ger Fallon landed a brace of conversions to complete Buccs tally.


Buccs dug deep with the pack battling to the bitter end. Here Rory Grenham, Ruairi Byrne, Jimmy O’Connell  and Purcell did well with Sean Flynn putting up stout resistance in the backline where Eoin O’Reilly and Harry Hughes were prominent.


BUCCANEERS:-  H.Hughes; B.Walsh, S.Flynn, E.O’Reilly, J.Lopez; G.Fallon, D.McMahon;

K.Grehan, R.Grenham (captain), C.Cleary; T.Couper, R.Byrne; N.Purcell, J.O’Connell and

 S.Byrne. Replacement:- G.Halligan (for Cleary, inj.).