OLD BELVEDERE 11 BUCCANEERS 10 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Dec  10   2018

OLD BELVEDERE and Buccaneers swopped places in the Division 1B table for the second successive week when the Dubliners eked out an 11-10 All-Ireland League victory at wet and windy Anglesea Road on Saturday. In a finely balanced contest between two evenly matched outfits, the homesters were mightily relieved when Luke Carty’s drop goal attempt, with the final kick of the match from over 30 metres, was fractionally off-target.


Old Belvedere made two alterations to their pack for this match with Declan Lavery and Eoin Sweeney replacing Roman Salamoa and Connor Owende respectively. Buccaneers were severely hit by changes, seven in total from last week’s win over City of Armagh. All were enforced with Eoghan Masterson, David Heffernan, Kieran Joyce and Eoin Griffin required by Connacht while Darragh Corbett had exam commitments. Colm Reilly (hamstring) and Michael Hanley (tonsillitis) were two late cry-offs. Peter Claffey returned after injury to the second row while in a greatly changed backline there were starts for Graham Lynch, Frank Hopkins and Dean McMahon.


Ironically, in the really testing foul weather conditions, both teams fared better against the elements. Assisted by the considerable elements, Old Belvedere began on the front foot and a trio of early penalties pegged Buccs back while Paraic Cagney was held up near the uprights. The midlanders defended commendably with a 16th minute Steve Crosbie penalty the hosts only reward. The visitors were by now making progress of their own and they patiently went through phases, constantly switching the point of attack, until Luke Carty’s astute grubber kick unlocked the home defence. McMahon pounced onto the ball for a well-worked 20th minute try wide on the left. In the truly difficult elements, Carty’s touchline conversion was superb.


The referee had words with Eoin Sweeney following a wild shoulder tackle by the home lock and the exchanges became a bit heated for a period. Niall Farrelly was doing splendidly in the tight resulting in Belvo’s experienced prop Declan Lavery being called ashore after only 28 minutes. The Pirates momentum continued to build and they applied fierce pressure around the half-hour mark right on the Belvo line. With the homesters reaching out to slow the ball on a number of occasions a penalty try should surely have been awarded. Buccs did gain some consolation in this spell when Shane Layden intercepted his former teammate Ben Carty’s pass and earned a 33rd minute penalty which Ben’s younger brother Luke gratefully converted to extend the Athlone side’s advantage.


As the weather turned even more foul approaching half-time, the metropolitans enjoyed similar pressure to that of the visitors’ earlier. However, referee Mark Patton’s inconsistency on this occasion infuriated Buccaneers when taking a more severe view and sin-binned Lynch as Buccs desperately defended their line. With the final kick of the half, Crosbie slotted over the resultant penalty to reduce Old Belvedere’s arrears to 10-6 at the break.


With the floodlights now on in the extremely gloomy conditions, the exchanges remained evenly contested in the second half despite Belvo substitute Colin Mallon being sin-binned a mere two minutes after his 48th minute introduction. The Dublin side enjoyed their best period as the game entered the final quarter and applied steady pressure from side to side until replacement Tom Molony joined the line at pace to crash through for a 65th minute try which captain Crosbie converted.


This edged Old Belvedere ahead by the minimum and, with the breeze now having eased noticeably, Buccaneers had to work even harder to make ground. This they did in a dramatic conclusion, inching bit by bit into home territory until Carty got a drop goal opportunity. They should perhaps have gone through a few more phases but the players had given their all at that stage. Unfortunately, the wind for once failed to curl Carty’s kick which went tantalisingly wide and thus Old Belvedere hung on for a precious win by the minimum that moves them up above the Pirates, whose losing bonus point keeps them off the bottom.


Carty’s line kicking was topclass throughout, proving a massive help to his pack and a hugely depleted backline where Layden and Lynch put in big shifts. The Pirates pack put in a stalwart effort with Farrelly, Claffey and Evan Galvin to the fore in their unstinting endeavours. Crosbie orchestrated adroitly for the winners whose winger Jack Keating’s mazy runs were a regular threat. In the circumstances, Buccaneers can take considerable pride and encouragement from their collective display.


OLD BELVEDERE:- D.Riordan; J.Keating, J.McAleese, B.Carty, F.Flood; S.Crosbie (captain), P.Cagney; J.Bollard, E.Rossiter, D.Lavery; J.Kelly, E.Sweeney; M.Molony, E.O’Neill and T.de Jongh. Replacements:- A.Howard (for Lavery, 28 mins), T.Molony (for Carty, h/t), C.Mallon (for Sweeney,48 mins), C.Allen (for Flood, 57 mins) and C.Bradshaw.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; R.O’Connor, S.Layden (captain), D.McMahon, F.Hopkins; L.Carty, G.Lynch; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, N.Farrelly; P.Claffey, R.Byrne; E.Galvin, R.Moloney and S.Meagher. Replacements:- H.O’Reilly (for Farrelly, 65 mins), T.McGann (for O’Connor, 70 mins), N.Farrelly (for Staunton, 73 mins), T.Rensford (for Byrne, 74 mins) and R.Enraght-Moony.


Referee:- Mark Patton (IRFU).




BUCCANEERS J1’s recorded a comfortable 29-12 Connacht Junior 1A League victory over Galwegians at cool but sunny Dubarry Park on Sunday. Despite a dreadful opening sequence in which they had a player yellow carded and then conceded a soft try, Buccs thereafter held the upper hand for a win that could have been even more comprehensive. Victory moves the Athlone club up to third in the league table ahead of the festive break.


Buccs made five changes for this encounter including the absences of Dean McMahon, Frankie Hopkins and Graham Lynch who were on duty with the First XV at Old Belvedere. Darragh Corbett was yellow carded in the third minute and then Lawrence Corcoran was unchallenged at a close in lineout as he grabbed possession to dart over for an 8th minute unconverted try. Torin Rensford led Buccs charge back into the contest, powering through for a 16th minute try converted by Gavin O’Toole. Five minutes later, Eoghan O’Toole dotted down wide on the right for an unconverted Buccs try. Owen Treacy was sin-binned shortly afterwards but Buccs continued to dominate and Rory Grenham thundered through for a 30th minute unconverted try which gave the homesters a 17-5 lead at half-time.


Thirteen minutes into the second half, following a series of close-in scrums, Treacy smartly tapped a penalty to send Corbett scampering in for a bonus point try. On 65 minutes Maki Parata intercepted on his own 22 to race downfield for a solo Galwegians try which he also converted to reduce Buccs lead to 22-12. But the Pirates had the final say when Grenham surged over for his second try following a penalty punted to touch on the left. Gavin O’Toole’s conversion completed the 29-12 winning margin.


Buccs dominated matters in the tight and their eager backline kept the westerners on their toes. However, the Athlone men knocked on on numerous occasions, often inside the Wegians 22 to spoil quite a number of promising attacks. Rensford and Gavin O’Toole excelled in the pack while Callum Forde and Corbett were tops in the backs unit.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Forde; R.Murphy-Sweeney, D.Corbett, R.Enraght-Moony, H.Hughes; E.O’Toole, G.Fallon; R.Grenham, D.Buckley, S.Flynn; K.O’Connor, T.Rensford (captain); T.Phillips, G.O’Toole and E.Treacy. Replacements:-T.Thompson (for Grenham, 30 mins), R.Grenham (for Flynn, 36 mins), J.Lopez (for Forde, 60 mins), S.Flynn (for Thompson, 60 mins), T.Thompson (for Flynn, 71 mins), K.Grehan (for Grenham, 75 mins), M.Khumbalo (for Phillips, 75 mins) and E.O’Reilly.




BUCCANEERS U-20’s went down 34-19 to Galwegians in their J.P.Fanagan Leinster Premier League 2 encounter at Crowley Park, Glenina, on Sunday. Buccs, short key figures Michael Hanley, Fergus Galvin and Conor McMahon, came up against a Wegians side intent on avenging their early season loss to the Pirates. Defeat means Buccs slip one place to third as this league takes its seasonal break.


The midlanders scored three tries with Darren Browne getting over the chalk in the first half and Thomas McGann and Harry O’Reilly adding second half touchdowns. It has been a feature of this squad that, while they have been accumulating decent scores, defensively they are conceding too many. Galwegians worked harder on the day and deserved their victory.


Reviewing the opening half of this league, Hanley has been terrific at outhalf and his absence was particularly felt in Galway. O’Reilly and Browne, at tighthead and hooker, have been standout players in their positions. Both are technically strong and also abrasive around the park where they have amassed seven tries between them. Galvin and Sam Krupa have been outstanding in the second row but, due to injuries, have featured together on too few occasions. McMahon’s defensive abilities were badly missed on Sunday and, overall, the backline needs better consistency and get the right patterns. With Saul O’Carroll, Corey Reid and Dara Mulvihill returning in the New Year, this sector has great potential.


A post Christmas cracker is in store when Buccaneers square up to league leaders Old Wesley at Dubarry Park on January 20th.


BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; T.McGann, D.Ennis, R.Teape, T.Appleby; S.Flynn, D.O’Rourke; J.Kelly (captain), D.Browne, H.O’Reilly; S.Krupa, C.Watt; S.O’Connell, K.Wheatley-Byrne and B.McDonnell. Replacements:- C.Daly, A.Obono, G.Monticone, A.Murtagh, G.Caterino, A.Shine-Lynch and L.Doyle