BUCCS WOMEN QUALIFY FOR ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE! | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:May  04   2013


Portlaoise rugby club played host to Buccaneers Womens team as they gained promotion to senior status in only their second season when they overcame Fermoy 10-5 in a keenly contested qualifier for the right to play in the All-Ireland League Division 2 next season.

Fermoy had gone through the Munster league undefeated, and it was not hard to see why, with a big strong pack and superb defensive organisation. From the start Buccaneers were on the back foot, as they got pinned down in the corner, and with such a strong breeze blowing across the pitch it was difficult for them to get out of their own 22 and they had to spend the first ten minutes defending their own line. After a terrific turnover at the breakdown, Emma Treanor put in a fine pressure relieving kick to finally get Buccaneers some field position. From the resulting lineout, which Ann Marie Sleator stole from the Munster ladies, the Pirates moved the ball wide and, after a number of phases, forced a penalty wide on the right. Outhalf Treanor struck the ball superbly for the Athlone outfit to take a 3-0 lead, against the run of play.

The rest of the half continued as before, being played mainly in Buccaneers 22, with the breeze and the big hits being put in by the Co. Cork team halting any of Buccaneers attempts to get play out of their half. Buccs were struggling to deal with the hard tackles been put in by this Fermoy team, and were struggling to retain possession in the tackle area, with many knock-ons and poor ball placement as a result of the uncompromising defence by the southerners. However, Buccaneers defence was immense against the physically bigger team and kept them scoreless. With the backrow of Myriam Borque-Cascajo, Elaine Conlon and Yvonne O’Shea, ensuring that Fermoy did not get any consistency through aggressive counter rucking and utilising the “choke” tackle, the Munster side struggled to get any momentum, and despite having a huge territorial advantage, they failed to get any reward for all their efforts. Buccaneers did extremely well to hold out till halftime with their precious 3-0 lead.

The Athlone girls started slowly in the second half, and through poor fringe defence, the big Fermoy pack worked through the phases and got over the Buccaneers line far too easily. The Fermoy outhalf failed with her conversion attempt, as the ball blew over in the wind and she was forced to take a rushed drop kick attempt. Nevertheless, the Cork lasses now led 5-3.

This focused Buccaneers, who had now gotten to grips with the physicality of their opponents. Buccaneers improved ball security when carrying the ball into contact, and with the excellent work at the breakdown from their pack, they started to get quick ruck ball for their exciting backline to use. The immense carrying of first centre Eimear Phelan proved to be too much for Fermoy, and with the Munster girls now focusing on her, this provided space and time for her centre partner Sinead Taylor (who has scored in every match to date) to get her hands on the ball in space. This eventually resulted in a try by the impressive Taylor and Treanor converted to edge Buccs ahead again by 10-5.

As the game went on Buccaneers ability to move the ball into the wider channels proved decisive as they were able to make ground out wide, with superb handling from forwards and backs in the line. For the last 15 minutes Fermoy threw everything at Buccaneers, but the midlanders defence was too well organised, and with the forwards now on top at the breakdown and set piece, Fermoy could not get the platform they wanted and Buccaneers managed to hold onto their 5 point lead till the final whistle sounded.

This was a fantastic effort by this Buccaneers ladies team all round, with mobile prop Ann Marie Sleator excelling in the scrum and lineout, while the work in the tackle and breakdown by Elaine Conlon was superb. In the backs, Phelan was immense and provided a perfect foil for her partner Taylor, while Collette McSpadden’s influence from fullback was key in defence and attack. Congratulations to one and all involved in this historic achievment in only the team's second season!

Buccaneers:- C.McSpadden; A.Kelleher, S.Taylor, E.Phelan, N.Gough; E.Treanor, S.Hynds, A.M. Sleator, M.Kiripati (Captain), C.Mannion; N.Egan, L.Stuart-Trainor; E.Conlon, Y.O’Shea & M.Borque-Cascajo. Replacements: M.Devaney & A.Taaffe.