GARRYOWEN 29 BUCCANEERS 17 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Sep  25   2017


GARRYOWEN finished strongly to claim a bonus point 29-17 victory over Buccaneers in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A game at Dooradoyle on Saturday. The Pirates gave as good as they got for three-quarters of this lively contest but injuries and a needless yellow card cost them dearly as the Limerick club scored two late converted tries to overhaul the Athlone side. The midlanders made two changes for this encounter with Conor McKeon starting at scrumhalf and prop Conor Kenny returning to active duty for the first time in over twelve months.


A squally breeze and drizzle made life difficult for both teams but Buccs began very brightly despite playing against the elements and the gradient. They went on the offensive from the start and their impressive opening sequence was rewarded with a 5th minute Alan Gaughan penalty. A promising move by the visitors looked like adding to their tally four minutes later but they had possession turned over deep inside the home 22 from where Garryowen attacked smartly to score a length of the pitch try by lock Dean Moore. Buccs will be disappointed by some less than convincing tackles in this move and Neil Cronin duly tapped over the conversion.


This did not faze Buccs who saw good ground made by Kenny and Peter Claffey before a high tackle on Rory O’Connor stopped their momentum while Thomas McGann was tackled into touch in the right corner as Garryowen struggled to deal with Buccaneers lively start. Home No.8 Sean Rennison was yellow carded for kicking the ball away on 17 minutes but the midlanders could not breach the temporarily depleted light blues despite a lengthy spell inside the Munster side’s 22. Then when they were back to full complement, Garryowen kicked a 27th minute penalty dead when a kickable shot at the posts looked a better option.


Buccs finally got due reward for their endeavours when O’Connor’s determined break from the ten metre line saw him shake off a number of tackles before surging over between the posts for an excellent 30th minute try which Gaughan converted. However, five minutes before the interval, Garryowen levelled with a Cronin penalty after Buccs scrum came under pressure and so the teams were tied 10-10 at the break.


Following the change of ends, quick ball from a scrum was moved to O’Connor and the winger cut in to scoot through for his second try between the posts. Gaughan converted this 42nd minute touchdown and Buccs, now with the elements assisting them, looked like they could spring a surprise despite the loss at half-time of influential Kenny to yet another injury while Danie Poolman then suffered a serious looking shoulder injury early in the second half. Conan O’Donnell came in at tighthead for the midlanders with Poolman’s replacement Frankie Hopkins slotting in at scrumhalf, McKeon moving to fullback and Luke Carty switching to centre. Meanwhile the hosts were able to spring vastly experienced front-rowers in Connacht’s J.P.Cooney and Ireland and Munster hooker Mike Sherry ten minutes into the second half. Their influence was swiftly apparent with a rolling maul being grounded by Sherry for an unconverted 57th minute try on the left.


Three minutes later, Buccs got a gilt-edged opportunity to edge five points ahead when Garryowen were caught offside but Gaughan pulled his penalty kick from in front of the posts wide; in hindsight, a bad and costly miss. With the breeze not only abating but now blowing across the pitch, Buccs were now struggling especially in the tight but hanging on to a 17-15 lead. Ten minutes from time, following an inch perfect Gaughan kick ahead, Carty rashly tried to deny a quick restart and he was sin-binned for his impetuosity.


Garryowen seized on the opportunity to turn the screw and they punted a penalty to touch on the right. Although their lineout throw was blatantly short of crossing the five metre mark, play was allowed to continue and the homesters moved the ball smartly across the park to make their extra man count with Darren Ryan applying the finishing touch at the posts for a 73rd minute try which Cronin converted. In the closing moments another fine drive by the Garryowen pack made good ground and James McInerney found space through tiring opposition for a bonus point try that looked unlikely for the major part of this contest. Cronin’s conversion completed the 29-17 scoreline that ensured Buccaneers went unrewarded for their efforts for the second game in succession.


As against Lansdowne, it was fine margins and little errors that did much damage to the Pirates. However, they were more patient and worked tirelessly throughout on this occasion but there were too many handling errors and discipline needs to be improved while every scoring opportunity must, at this level, be taken. Injuries to Kenny and Poolman impacted on Buccs but O’Connor continues to shine in the backline where Shane Layden did well apart from one missed tackle. Claffey was the pick of the Pirates forwards with Simon Meagher also to the fore in their endeavours. Andy Keating, Aaron McCloskey, Sam Arnold and skipper Cronin impressed most for Garryowen.


GARRYOWEN:- D.Johnston; L.Coombes, S.Arnold, P.Collins, J.McInerney; B.Johnston, N.Cronin (captain); N.Horan, L.Cronin, A.Keating; A.McCloskey, D.Moore; T.Ferguson, D.Ryan and S.Rennison. Replacements:- M.Sherry (for L.Cronin, 49 mins), J.P.Cooney (for Horan, 49 mins), M.Wilson (for Moore, 54 mins), J.Phelan (for Keating, 61 mins), D.Moore (for Ferguson, 61 mins) and J.Gavin (for B.Johnston, 68 mins).     


BUCCANEERS:- L.Carty; R.O’Connor, S.Layden (captain), D.Poolman, T.McGann; A.Gaughan, C.McKeon; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.Kenny; P.Claffey, C.Romaine; D.Law, S.Meagher and P.Boyle. Replacements:- C.O’Donnell (for Kenny, inj. h/t), F.Hopkins (for Poolman, inj. 48 mins), E.Maher (for Sutton, 58 mins), R.Farrell (for Claffey, 74 mins) and E.O’Reilly.


Referee:- Kieran Barry (IRFU).




BUCCANEERS U-20’s put in a sustained and hugely committed effort to pip Old Wesley 21-19 in a tremendously exciting Leinster League qualifier played in glorious sunshine at Dubarry Park on Sunday. Michael Hanley was the calmest person at the venue as he coolly slotted over the winning penalty with the final kick of an absorbing contest to give the Pirates a tight but richly deserved victory.


Buccs made the better start and Hanley capitalised to land three penalties that put the homesters 9-0 to the good. Old Wesley began to show their mettle as the game progressed and quickly profited after Darren Buckley was sin binned for an untidy tackle. Andrew Egan finished off a fine maul by the Dubliners and a second unconverted try soon followed when Mark Braithwaite got through on the left to edge Old Wesley 10-9 ahead. The metropolitans No.8 Luke Corish was yellow carded just before half-time and Hanley was successful with the resultant penalty to leave Buccs 12-10 ahead at the interval.


A brace of Sean Ballance penalties pushed Old Wesley 16-12 to the good in the third quarter but the smaller home pack proved the better unit as the game progressed and they constantly made inroads against the visitors. Sam Hastings went desperately close to scoring a try for Buccs who maintained their composure and workrate before another Hanley penalty left just the minimum between the teams as the game entered the final quarter. A super drive by the pack earned a late penalty for Buccaneers and Hanley duly drilled it over to surely secure victory. However, in a thrilling climax the referee penalised Buccs for being ahead of the kicker, bringing the ball back some 70 metres and enabling Ballance to restore Old Wesley’s slim advantage. But there was time for one super maul by the home forwards that yielded another penalty. Hanley made it a magnificent seven successful placekicks to win the day for a gallant Buccs outfit.


Hanley was undoubtedly the hero of the game but Frankie Hopkins, Eoin O’Reilly, Conor Murray, Jack Delahunt, Buckley and James Kelly were others to catch the eye for the winners who now play Dublin University in Athlone next Sunday.


BUCCANEERS:- R.Convey; E.O’Reilly, C.McMahon, S.Hastings, R.Murphy-Sweeney; M.Hanley, F.Hopkins; S.O’Connell, D.Buckley, A.Obono; B.Collins (captain), J.Delahunt; K.Byrne, R.Enraght-Moony and D.Farrelly. Rolling Substitutes used:- R.Keighery-Farley, J.Kelly, E.Cooney, C.Murray and C.Daly.


Referee:- C. de Buitlear (Leinster).     




BUCCANEERS SECONDS gave a much improved showing despite going down 20-10 to a more experienced Monivea in their Connacht Junior 1A League game played in balmy sunshine at Dubarry Park on Sunday.


The exchanges were very even in the first half with Buccs taking an early lead through a Gerard Fallon penalty. Ger O’Connor soon levelled for the visitors and his second successful penalty put Monivea 6-3 ahead at the break. Both sides traded tries in the third quarter, Cian O’Reilly getting Buccs touchdown and Fallon adding the conversion. But a late Monivea try sealed victory for the Galway club whilst denying the hosts the consolation of a losing bonus point that their industry warranted.


Despite this setback, this was a very encouraging effort by Buccaneers for whom Rossa Dooley shone in the pack where Ruairi Byrne, Rory Grenham and Ryan O’Meara also made decent contributions. Callum Forde and O’Reilly were liveliest in the home backline where Canadian Trevor Phillips made a promising debut.


BUCCANEERS:- K.Joncker; T.Phillips, S.Flynn, J.Foley, H.Hughes; G.Fallon, C.Forde; C.Kelly, R.Grenham, N.Farrelly; R.Byrne, H.Ronaldson; N.Flynn, K.Grehan and R.Dooley. Replacements used:- C.Cleary, R.O’Meara, C.Morrissey, S.Byrne and C.O’Reilly.   


Referee:-  Paul O’Connor.