Buccs win Silver in IRFU Sevens Finals | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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Buccs win Silver in IRFU Sevens Finals

published:May  15   2012


Buccaneers trio Michael Kearney, Martin Staunton and Alex Hayman combine to stop this Garryowen attack in their IRFU Sevens All-Ireland Plate Final win at Dubarry Park.
Buccaneers Rose Hogan in full flight against Sligo in the IRFU Sevens All-Ireland finals at Dubarry Park

THE IRFU CLUB SEVENS drew hundreds of players to Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday when a feast of running rugby unfolded in near perfect conditions. Ten teams including Shannon and Clontarf contested the Mens finals with seven clubs bidding for honours in the Womens section. With the sun shining and only the odd light shower to contend with, playing conditions were first class for this smoothly co-ordinated event in which Dublin University (mens) and Blackrock College (womens) took the major honours. However, host club Buccaneers endeavours were rewarded when they captured the coveted Silver salver trophy in the Mens Plate competition.

The standard of competition in the Mens Championship was high and intense. Here Dublin University put in a mighty effort to retain their title, but they were made to battle all the way in a seriously competitive final. An early try by speedster Niyi Adeolokun seemed to set the students on their way but Malone were not intimidated and took the game to Trinity. Tries by Neil Alcorn and Josh Pentland, with the latter adding one conversion, put the Ulster club 12-7 ahead with the clock ticking down. However, Trinity’s Dave Flanagan conjured up a late touchdown to snatch a late victory and Dublin University captain Flanagan also converted both their tries to seal a tight 14-12 triumph.

Buccaneers, a lot less experienced at Sevens than many of the other teams, battled hard and learned quickly to advance to a Plate final duel with Garryowen. They won two and lost two in their pool matches with Alex Hayman being their leading scorer. The Scot has given wonderful service to the Athlone club and he opened the scoring in the final with a smartly taken try. A smashing break by Conor FitzGibbon was then finished off by Adam Kennedy for a second try, which Hayman converted for a 12-0 advantage at halftime.

Garryowen, with former Buccs captain Conor Hartigan driving them on, fought back and when the midlanders did not keep their line in shape Sean Horgan eased through the gap for a try. But the Pirates worked solidly and tackled ferociously to retain their lead and indeed were unlucky not to add a third try before the finish. Nevertheless, they had good reason to celebrate their 12-5 winning margin over their Bateman Cup conquerors. Athlone native and Chairman of the IRFU Youth Committee Michael Cunningham presented the fine silver trophy to Buccaneers captain Kolo Kiripati. Buccaneers victorious squad:- Kolo Kiripati, Alex Hayman, Mark Dolan, Jack Carty, Adam Kennedy, Conor FitzGibbon, Conor Molloy, Martin Staunton, Michael Kearney and Ger Fallon.

UL Bohemian and Blackrock College were the hot favourites in the Womens Division One tournament and these keen rivals duly squared off in a real cat and mouse final. Olivia Stapleton opened the scoring with a UL Bohs try converted by Niamh Briggs but Blackrock (captained by Doon native Michelle Claffey) kept their composure. Tries by Aoife Tyrell and Aine Ni Chathain, both converted by the latter, ensured they came out on top 14-7 after an absorbing contest. Tralee proved the strongest outfit in the Division 2 section, being much too experienced for both Sligo and Buccaneers, who featured Rose Hogan, Mele Kiripati, Niamh Gough, Elaine Conlon and Sharon Hynds.