Firsts, J1's and U-20's all win! | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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Firsts, J1's and U-20's all win!

published:Dec  03   2018



BUCCANEERS scored a greatly needed All-Ireland League victory when they defeated City of Armagh 24-17 in a thrilling and compelling Division 1B encounter at Dubarry Park on Saturday. The Athlone side looked to be heading for a comprehensive win when romping to a 24-0 lead inside the opening quarter of this first ever AIL fixture with the Orchard County club. But the gritty visitors refused to capitulate and a strong second half effort secured them a worthy bonus point in a fiercely contested but sporting battle.


On a wind free but murky afternoon, Buccs made two changes both in the pack where injury again ruled Peter Claffey out. Ruairi Byrne returned at lock in place of Joe Maksymiw with John Sutton starting at hooker instead of David Heffernan. The northerners’ changes were also in their forwards with Paul Mullan, Andrew Smyth and Jonathan Morton coming in for Daryl Morton, Johnny Morton and Gareth McNeice respectively.


Luke Carty settled the hosts with a 4th minute penalty following an Armagh offside before the Pirates raided a trio of tries in a blistering six minutes spell. Darragh Corbett’s chase of Callum Boland’s up and under caused Timmy McNeice to fumble and Boland swooped to touchdown wide on the left after 11 minutes. Four minutes later a long Boland clearance was not dealt with authoritatively by the Ulster side’s defence and, with referee Chris Harrington playing advantage, Carty’s perfectly judged grubber was fastened onto by his fullback for a 15th minute try. Two minutes later City of Armagh looked in absolute dire straits when they lost possession at the home 22 and Boland scampered up the left before sending Eoin Griffin in for a try between the uprights. With Carty converting all three tries, Buccs were an incredible 24-0 to the good!


But the midlanders contrived to let the red and blacks back into the contest. Shane Layden and Rory Moloney challenged Ryan Purviss for a garryowen just inside the home half where the Armagh winger came off second best. Following consultation with a touch judge, the referee sin binned Moloney on 19 minutes. Almost immediately the homesters did not deal with an angled grubber kick that should have been hoofed into touch. Instead City of Armagh made the most of Buccs hesitancy to keep the ball in play on the left and they recycled it across the pitch where the overlapping Chris Colvin got in for a 20th minute try which Cormac Fox converted.


Buccaneers were the more purposeful outfit in the opening half but a Carty drop goal attempt rebounded off the crossbar while Andrew Willis just denied Boland his hat-trick at the corner flag, although it looked like the Pirates player may have got the first touch on the ball over the goal line. Halftime arrived with the Shannonsiders 24-7 ahead.


With the floodlights on for the second half City of Armagh started the brighter and, following a couple of penalties punted to the left corner, hooker Smyth continued his try scoring exploits after a number of pick and goes to touchdown on 44 minutes. Fox converted from the left while a Carty placekick three minutes later was marginally off-target. A 51st minute Fox penalty then tightened the scoreline to 24-17 and the contest was truly in the melting pot.


The exchanges were battled with Cup tie fervour for the remaining half hour with huge tackle counts being put in by both sides. It was fiercely competitive but neither side could manage to breach the other with a knock on denying Rory O’Connor a good opportunity ten minutes from time. The exchanges were fast and intense all the way to the final whistle with a crunching Corbett tackle ending a promising Armagh raid.


City of Armagh notched a losing bonus point that looked highly unlikely early on and they will take considerable consolation from their commendable sustained efforts right to the end.


Buccaneers merited this vital hard-earned and confidence boosting win that saw them move up the league table, but perhaps they should have accomplished more following their stunning start. Lacking a ruthless streak they dropped their focus after racing in to such a healthy lead and also over-cooked line kicks too often. However, they never wavered in their tackling and support play. Injury forced Boland off entering the final quarter but the fullback had wreaked havoc when in possession and was a worthy Audi Athlone Man of the Match winner. Griffin was rock solid in the centre and the young halfback pairing continues to do well. Moloney was dynamic and destructive throughout, Byrne was the dominant lineout player and the home front row had a fine outing against a competitive visiting unit.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; S.Layden (captain), K.Joyce, E.Griffin, D.Corbett; L.Carty, C.Reilly; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, N.Farrelly; E.Galvin, R.Byrne; S.Meagher, R.Moloney and E.Masterson. Replacements:- D.Heffernan (for Sutton, h/t), R.O’Connor (for Boland, inj. 58 mins), T.Rensford (for Galvin, 66 mins), R.Grenham (for Staunton, 70 mins), G.Lynch (for Reilly, 72 mins) and J.Sutton (for Rensford, 76 mins).


CITY OF ARMAGH:- T.McNeice; A.Willis, C.Colvin (captain), J.Pollock, R.Purviss; C.Fox, H.Doyle; P.Mullan, A.Smyth, P.Fletcher; J.McKinley, P.Starrett; J.Hanna, Jonathan Morton and R.Whitten. Replacements:- O.Kiernan (for Mullan, 35 mins), P.Mullan (for Fletcher, 53 mins), S.O’Brien (for McNeice, inj. 56 mins), James Morton (for Jonathan Morton, 58 mins), J.Falloon (for Fox, 60 mins), P.Lamb (for Smyth, 64 mins), Jonathan Morton (for Starrett, 64 mins) and A.Smyth (for Hanna, 73 mins).


Referee:- Chris Harrington (IRFU).




BUCCANEERS U-20’s moved up to second place in the J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 following their 30-10 win over Greystones at Dubarry Park on Sunday. In a game preluded by heavy rain, the drizzly conditions did not favour the homesters preferred flowing style while the Co. Wicklow side battled willingly throughout.


Buccs made one change for this game with Gianluca Monticone starting at scrumhalf in place of Dermot O’Rourke. The diagonal breeze was slightly in their favour but it was the visitors who made the better start and Cal Connolly opened their account with 4th minute penalty. However, the midlanders were swift in their response with a brace of Michael Hanley penalties putting Buccs 6-3 ahead by the 13th minute.


Play was often scrappy and the Pirates best spell in the second quarter should have yielded a try. After chasing a deft grubber kick, Thomas McGann was unlucky to hit the right corner flag as he endeavoured to ground the ball. Then the homesters had a promising series of pick and goes but lacked the necessary patience to unlock the visitors’ defence. With the final kick of the half, Hanley’s third penalty gave Buccaneers a 9-3 lead at the interval.


Buccs restarted with greater urgency and soon had Stones in trouble with James Kelly powering over their line for what looked a stonewall 43rd minute try. However, it merely delayed the score by two minutes as a five metre scrum was awarded and the Athlone pack drove forward again with Harry O’Reilly applying the finishing touch and Hanley adding the conversion. Seven minutes later, the midlanders were again driving over the Greystones line where Sean O’Connell grounded for a try on the left. Hanley’s conversion looked wide of the near upright but the conversion was allowed and Buccaneers were now in a much more comfortable position, 21-3 to the good.


But McGann was yellow carded on 63 minutes and stubborn Greystones eventually profited from their temporary numerical superiority, albeit assisted by a Buccs error. Hanley was much too casual with an attempted chip on his own 22 and Mark Myler blocked down to dart in for a 71st minute try which Connolly converted. However, Buccaneers regrouped and had the final say, with their endeavours yielding a late penalty try.


This secured a 30-10 victory that was fashioned in a harder manner than anticipated against the basement club. The home backline rarely got moving in a threatening manner and it was the Pirates pack who took the major honours in this contest. Skipper Kelly led from the front ably assisted by O’Connell and Connor Watt. Hanley had his moments with Danny Ennis and McGann to the fore in the backline.


BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; T.McGann, D.Ennis, C.McMahon, T.Appleby; M.Hanley, G.Monticone; J.Kelly (captain), D.Browne, H.O’Reilly; F.Galvin, C.Watt; S.O’Connell, G.Catarino and B.McDonnell. Replacements:- M.O’Neill (for McMahon, inj. 20 mins), K.Wheatley-Byrne (for Catarino, h/t), D.O’Rourke (for Monticone, 50 mins), L.Doyle (for Galvin, 55 mins), C.Forkan (for Kelly, 64 mins), A.Murtagh (for Appleby, 64 mins), R.Teape (for Watt, 64 mins), G.Catarino (for O’Neill, inj. 70 mins) and J.Kelly (for Browne, 75 mins).




BUCCANEERS J1’s completed a trio of Pirates victories at the weekend when they overcame Sligo 19-12 in their Connacht Junior 1A League meeting at Hamilton Park, Strandhill, on Sunday. This win made it a double for the midlanders over the north-westerners and Buccs have now leapfrogged Westport into mid-table in the league.


A tough away trip to Sligo who were fighting to get off the bottom of the table awaited Buccs. This was a huge game giving that certain results could have Buccs bottom or fifth in the table. The Athlone side’s defence was going to be tested all day as Sligo had a big team and the wet day was going to suit them more. To Sligo’s credit the pitch was in excellent condition.


The game began with Buccs giving up territory too easily and not defending the pick and go game well enough. Sligo got over the line for the opening try which was unconverted. The rest of the half was tit for tat with Sligo having more of the ball but the Athlone side were very hard to break down. Torin Rensford was making big hit after big hit. The Pirates scrum was very much on top with Buccs scrumming them off their ball four times during the game.


On the 32nd minute, Buccs went through some phases in their own half. Frankie Hopkins kicked for the corner but it was half blocked down. However, really smart play from Eoghan O’Toole saw him chip the ball up the pitch where he picked up and set up a ruck in the home 22. Two phases later Buccs were over thanks to the powerful Rensford and Gavin O’Toole added the conversion. Five minutes later Buccaneers were deep in home territory after a brilliant clearing penalty kick by Graham Lynch. Buccs ran a trick lineout and after a few phases and super foot work from Owen Treacy he got over for a try. Gavin O’Toole added the extras again leaving it 14-5 in favour of the midlanders at half-time.


The second half started with Sligo scoring a converted try after just 30 seconds. Once again the pick and goes hurt Buccs. The second half wasn’t their best half in attack. The Athlone side failed with numerous lineouts and made a few line breaks but could not connect. Sligo were very strong at the break down and choke tackle. But Buccs defence was as good as it’s been all year and the lads, each and everyone, showed so much courage. After some very smart kicks to pin Sligo back with minutes left on the clock, Buccaneers forced a mistake and after a lineout in the hosts’ 22 Buccaneers worked off Hopkins at scrumhalf very well. Then with very little room Trevor Phillips picked a gap and sealed the 12-19 win with his late try.


BUCCANEERS:- E.O’Toole; G.Fallon, D.McMahon (captain), R.Enraght-Moony, C.Forde; F.Hopkins, G.Lynch; S.Flynn, R.Grenham, E.Cooney; T.Phillips, T.Rensford; A.Shine-Lynch, G.O’Toole and O.Treacy. Replacements:- D.Buckley, M.Khumalo, J.Lopez, H.Hughes and R.Murphy-Sweeney.