CLONTARF 26 BUCCANEERS 6 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Oct  09   2017

BUCCANEERS remain pointless after Clontarf proved too strong for the midlanders in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A encounter on the artificial pitch at Castle Avenue, Dublin, on Saturday when the hosts prevailed 26-6. Clontarf were worthy winners as they got back to winning ways while Buccs run of misfortune continues with the Pirates cause not helped by injuries to two key players inside the opening twelve minutes. Despite a valiant and committed effort, they lacked the strength and depth of last season’s finalists in a game played in windy conditions.


Clontarf, piqued by the previous week’s thumping at Garryowen, made six changes to their starting XV equally shared between backs and forwards. It included a return to the red and blue by former Ireland international James Downey at centre while Andrew Feeney was preferred at scrumhalf. Their frontrow was bolstered by Leinster hooker Bryan Byrne and lively prop Vakh Abdaladze. Buccs made four changes, all enforced. Ruairi Byrne and Ronan Farrell started in the pack in place of the unavailable Peter Claffey and injured Dan Law respectively. With a lengthy list of injured backs, Alan Gaughan made a swift return after opting for GAA last week for the injured Corey Reid but there was some positive news from the casualty ward when last season’s top scorer Jordan Conroy was fit to make his first start of the season. He played on the left wing with Thomas McGann switching flanks and Rory O’Connor moving to fullback in place of Will O’Brien.


Unfortunately, the promising news on the injury front did not last long as Conor Kenny sustained a neck injury in the opening moments of the game. Following a lengthy delay the prop was replaced by Conan O’Donnell. Then, just twelve minutes into the encounter, an ankle injury forced Frankie Hopkins off with Eoin O’Reilly deputising at scrumhalf. But despite adversity and playing against the elements on an unfamiliar surface, Buccs gave as good as they got for the opening 25 minutes. Clontarf had the first scoring opportunity but David Joyce’s 9th minute penalty was a poor effort. The city side conceded a raft of penalties that helped the visitors gain a foothold in the contest but Luke Carty was off-target with a 19th minute penalty from the left.


The power of the metropolitans’ pack began to tell as the game progressed and, following a series of close in scrums, their No.8 Michael Noone stretched over the line near the uprights for a 27th minute try which Joyce converted. Now it was the turn of the Athlone side (who fielded six U-21’s) to cough up penalties as Tarf increased pressure and Byrne grounded the ball following a fine 35th minute maul for an unconverted try on the left. This gave Clontarf a 12-0 lead at half-time.


Buccaneers made a lively start to the second half and Carty opened their account with a smashing 46th minute penalty from inside his own half. Continued hard work by Buccs delivered a second penalty just three minutes later and Carty duly slotted this straight-forward placekick over after John Sutton’s swift and smart pressure had earned it. This halved the deficit to 12-6 but before the midlanders could make any further inroads Abdaladze robbed possession following the restart and Clontarf countered swiftly with Cian O’Donoghue finishing off a telling attack for a 51st minute try. Joyce’s conversion from the left touchline was equally impressive.


The wind was less influential and, with Shane Layden in the sin bin, Buccs continued to battle at Clontarf and did not concede whilst depleted. A long Carty penalty dropped short on 70 minutes. Then when Tarf’s Hugh O’Sullivan was yellow carded, the homesters capitalised on an ill-judged attempted chip by Gaughan and Matt D’arcy scored his fourth try of the campaign in a quick and neat 74th minute counter-attack. Joyce’s conversion of this bonus point try completed the 26-6 scoreline. Both sides had scoring chances in the closing stages, a wicked bounce deceiving Sean Dempsey and a knock-on denying Evan Galvin for the visitors while, after a mazy Rob McGrath break, a foot in touch ruled out James McKeown’s touchdown for the winners.


With St. Mary’s College and particularly Dublin University both winning, it meant it was a bad day for pointless Buccaneers who now prop up the league table. Whilst they should have accrued points in their three earlier fixtures, the depleted Pirates simply lack the nous and strength, both physically and in depth, at present against more experienced and bulkier squads. They have had no luck either and will welcome the fortnight’s break before their next fixture to regroup, recharge and recover. Martin Staunton and Paul Boyle were pick of the Pirates pack while in the backline (that could have benefited by switching wingers in the second half) young substitute O’Reilly toiled ceaselessly while the returning Conroy saw far too little ball to capitalise on his potential.


CLONTARF:-  C.Jennings; R.McGrath, J.Downey, M.D’arcy, C.O’Donoghue; D.Joyce, A.Feeney; I.Soroka, B.Byrne, V.Abdaladze; C.Daly, B.Reilly (captain); T.Ryan, A.D’arcy and M.Noone. Replacements:- N.Reilly (for Byrne, 61 mins), H.O’Sullivan (for Feeney, 61 mins), R.Burke-Flynn (for Abdaladze, 61 mins), A.Feeney (for Daly, 68 mins), and D.Donnellan.


BUCCANEERS:-  R.O’Connor; T.McGann, S.Layden (captain), A.Gaughan, J.Conroy; L.Carty, F.Hopkins; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.Kenny; R.Byrne, C.Romaine; R.Farrell, S.Meagher and P.Boyle. Replacements:- C.O’Donnell (for Kenny, inj. 1 min), E.O’Reilly (for Hopkins, inj. 12 mins), E.Galvin (for Farrell, h/t), R.Grenham (for Sutton, 75 mins) and S.Dempsey (for McGann).


Referee:- Jonny Erskine (IRFU).  




Third time proved lucky for Buccaneers Seconds as they tasted victory for the first time in this season’s Connacht Junior 1A League by outpointing Ballinasloe 30-21 at Moher Road on Sunday. In a spirited contest, Buccs finished the stronger to claim a bonus point victory that will, hopefully, kick start their campaign.


On a mild afternoon, playing conditions were good. Ballinasloe, also looking for their maiden win of the season, took the game to the visitors and led by two points at half-time. But the home side’s endeavours wilted following the change of ends as the Pirates maintained their tempo and composure to not only win but also achieve a bonus point on the back of four tries scored.


Keith Grehan is revelling this season and was their star performer and young fullback Eoin O’Reilly, who notched one of Buccs tries, was another willing stalwart, having played at scrumhalf for over an hour at Clontarf the previous afternoon. Callum Forde and Ger Fallon were the other try scorers for Buccs who were also awarded a penalty try. Dean McMahon converted two tries and also landed a brace of penalties in this derby victory.


BUCCANEERS:- E.O’Reilly; T.Phillips, S.Dempsey, S.Flynn, C.Forde; D.McMahon, G.Fallon; K.Grehan, R.Grenham, N.Farrelly; H.Ronaldson, C.Morrissey; J.Foley, E.Galvin and R.Dooley. Replacements:- C.Cleary, S.Byrne, N.Flynn, N.Carr, C.Seery and T.Couper.




BUCCANEERS U-20's have qualified for the J.P.Fanagan Premier 2 division of the Leinster U-20 League and they have their first fixture in this season's competition away to NUIG at Dangan, Galway, on Saturday. Kick off for this Connacht derby is 3 p.m. Buccs U-20's have a handful of players in our Senior squad and, hopefully, some of them may be available for this opening game. They are a committed and gutsy squad capable of putting it up to the best and, if they play to their collective potential, they can come out on top against the Students.


BUCCANEERS SECONDS will be striving to build on last weekend’s win when they take on their Galwegians counterparts in the Connacht Junior 1A League at Dubarry Park. Please note that this game kicks off at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday. Wegians shipped a heavy home defeat to league leaders Ballina but should not be underestimated. However, if Buccs continue to work hard both on the field of play and on the training paddock under Alex Hayman, they should make it back to back victories against the light blues, especially as there is a promising blend of youth and experience in their panel.


BUCCANEERS WOMEN commence their Connacht League campaign with a Saturday night floodlit game at home to Ballinasloe with a 7.30 p.m. kick off in Dubarry Park. Ballinasloe are a youthful squad whom Buccs defeated in the Invitational Cup recently but the Pirates ladies will need to remain focussed to get off to a winning start, which they are well capable of provided they play with commitment and discipline.




Congratulations to popular Bounty staff member Cathriona and her husband Benny on the recent birth of their second child, a son Ben.




Tickets for the IRFU’s ‘Your Club, Your Country’ draw are now available. Tickets cost just €10 each with proceeds going to the club. There is an impressive array of prizes including the star prize of a trip for 2 persons to Australia (definitely worth a tenner!). Other prizes include a €5,000 holiday, a state of the art home entertainment system, VIP rugby packages and Aer Lingus flights. All team managers and coaches are urged to get books of these tickets for sale from our Administrator Geraldine.



No less than ten young Buccaneers players have been included in the Connacht U-18 squad. The future looks bright and well done to Sol Carroll, Liam Winnett, Liam Doyle, Darren Browne, Darragh Murray, Nathan Horan, Sam O’Sullivan, Matthias O’Neill, Fergus Galvin and Cathal O’Grady. Best of luck, guys