ST MARY’S COLLEGE 10 BUCCANEERS 11 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Dec  07   2017


BUCCANEERS made it back to back victories when coming from 10 points down to overhaul St. Mary’s College 11-10 in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A match at Templehill Road, Dublin, on Saturday. They may have won by the minimum but Buccs were richly merited victors as they maintained their workrate, shape and discipline better from start to finish to reel in their fellow strugglers in a compelling contest. A stunning Luke Carty penalty decided this basement battle as the Athlone side have closed the gap at the bottom of the league table to just a solitary point and really sets up next Saturday’s return fixture into a massive showdown.


Buccaneers made two changes for this vital encounter, Daniel Law replacing injured lock Peter Claffey while Conan O’Donnell started in the front row instead of Niall Farrelly. St. Mary’s College had just one change with USA international Tim Maupin preferred to Ryan O’Loughlin on the left wing. The pitch was in decent nick for this game played on a drab, grey afternoon in front of a modest attendance who nevertheless created a lively backdrop for the on-field exchanges. 


The midlanders were quickest out of the blocks and were unlucky not to score two tries inside the opening six minutes. In the first minute the Pirates raided up the right flank to get over the home line but referee Kieran Barry did not allow a score because of an offside infringement. Five minutes later the match official made a similar call, after some hesitation, when he deemed that Simon Meagher had been ahead of the kicker when the flanker ran on to Luke Carty’s pinpoint diagonal kick to touchdown in the left corner. From this writer’s viewpoint, very close to the action on that side of the pitch, it looked like Meagher had judged his run to perfection and that this try should have stood. 


Shortly afterwards a weaving break by Marcus O’Driscoll put St Mary’s into the opposition 22 for the first time where, after a series of snipes, Conor Dean got over the Athlone side’s line on the right and was awarded a 9th minute try although it looked like he had been held up and unable to ground the ball. The young outhalf was unable to add the conversion.


As the game entered the second quarter, the homesters enjoyed their best spell following a fine angled kick that Callum Boland had to boot into touch very close to his line. The metropolitans put together a sustained series of pick and goes pinning back the Pirates until Adam Coyle breached their defensive line for a 23rd minute try also on the right from where Dean was again unable to convert. But Buccs, who replaced the injured Meagher with Ruairi Byrne and Conor Kenny for Martin Staunton, had the better of the exchanges from there until halftime. Twice Rory O’Connor came near to adding to his try tally, home fullback Craig Kennedy doing well to tackle him into touch after 29 minutes while later in the half a Boland grubber kick was just too strong for the Monivea flyer to get to. Buccs also knocked on at a close-in lineout and although the midlanders finished the half camped close to the home line, they remained scoreless to trail 10-0 at the break.


The Dublin side made three changes in personnel and rejigged their backs unit during an extended interval. Robbie Glynn came in at scrumhalf with Patrick O’Driscoll switching to the centre in place of Darren Moroney while Jack Dilger and Hugo Kean were introduced in the pack instead of Nick McCarthy and Thomas O’Reilly. In a frenetic opening sequence the hosts earned a 44th minute penalty but Dean’s effort fell short. A super Alan Gaughan break reminded the hosts of the threat posed by Buccs before Carty opened their account with an excellent 51st minute penalty after St Mary’s were pinged at a scrum. Five minutes later a home infringement at a ruck gave Carty a closer penalty but this kick was wide of the posts.


Graham Lynch came on at scrumhalf for the Pirates in place of Conor McKeon at the three-quarters stage and Carty found a sublime touch to the right five minutes later. Leinster A player Dean’s woes continued when he was yellow carded for a wild 68th minute tackle in midfield as Buccaneers had upped the tempo and were forcing the pace. Carty drilled the penalty to touch on the right and Cian Romaine won good lineout possession. From there there was no stopping Buccs pack to which Staunton had returned for Kenny and, after making solid ground with a maul, John Sutton peeled away on the blindside to barrel over for a 70th minute try in the right corner. Although Carty was unable to add the touchline conversion, the Pirates now had the momentum and were just two points adrift.


Their energy and industry was stretching St. Mary’s to the limit and Glynn could not resist a deliberate knock-on on his own ten metre line with just two minutes remaining as he endeavoured to slow Buccs impetus. It meant the substitute sat out the remainder of the game in the sin bin where he could only watch Carty thump a stunning penalty kick straight and true from over 40 metres to edge Buccaneers 11-10 ahead. In a protracted six minutes of added time, the blues did their utmost to retrieve the situation but, with the final kick of an absorbing battle, Dean’s drop goal attempt sailed wide of the target and so the Athlone side deservingly won a first away game this season.


As they have done all season, even when results and luck were not in their favour, Buccaneers worked their collective socks off from first whistle to last. Their desire and passion, fuelled by a greater need, was superior with outstanding contributions in the forwards battle from Paul Boyle, Law, O’Donnell and Byrne. Boland, Corbett and especially the outstanding Carty were best of a willing winning backs unit.


The rivalry will be renewed at Dubarry Park on Saturday next. It’s not to be missed!


ST. MARY’S COLLEGE:-C.Kennedy; T.Maupin, D.Moroney, M.O’Driscoll, M.Carey; C.Dean, P.O’Driscoll; T.O’Reilly, R.Halpin, A.Coyle; C.Ruddock (captain), C.O’Flaherty; H.Kelleher, N.McCarthy and C.Doris. Replacements:- H.Kean (for O’Reilly, h/t), J.Dilger (for McCarthy, h/t), R.Glynn (for Moroney, h/t), J.Aungier (for Halpin, 58 mins ), N.McCarthy (for Dilger, 68 mins), T.O’Reilly (for Coyle, 68 mins) and D.McDonnell.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; D.Corbett, A.Gaughan, S.Layden (captain), R.O’Connor; L.Carty, C.McKeon; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.O’Donnell; D.Law, C.Romaine; S.Meagher, E.Galvin and P.Boyle. Replacements:- R.Byrne (for Meagher, inj. 24 mins), C.Kenny (for Staunton, 24 mins), G.Lynch (for McKeon, 59 mins), M.Staunton (for Kenny, 68 mins), C.Kenny (for O’Donnell, 74 mins), R.Grenham and S.Dempsey.


Referee:- Kieran Barry (IRFU).




A last play try by Dublin University denied gallant Buccaneers what would surely have been the result of the season in this J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 Premier League 2 thriller at Santry on Sunday. The Pirates could muster a crew of only 14 players for this fixture but, rather than concede, these young Buccs put in a phenomenal performance that warranted much more than the narrow 22-16 defeat that earned them a mere losing bonus point.


Buccs put in a splendid and absolutely sustained effort that all players and their mentors could be truly proud of. They led for the vast portion of the game with an Eoin O’Reilly try, converted by Michael Hanley who also kicked a penalty giving them a 10-5 halftime lead. With skipper Jack Delahunt being an inspirational leader and Hanley landing another two penalties Buccs really put it up to the Students, even though injuries meant that the Athlone team was down to 12 players for the closing stages.


Indeed they spent a considerable period of the second half in Trinity’s ‘red zone’ with every player operating above and beyond the call of duty. However, lack of numbers told at the end and College pilfered victory with a final move of the match converted try to win 22-16. But every one of Buccaneers players put in unbelievable shifts of which they can be immensely proud of. They have certainly earned their mid-season break but this performance will ensure they are rejuvenated and ready for their return to action on January 21st at home to leaders Maynooth University/Barnhall.


BUCCANEERS:-  R.Convey; K.Foxe, C.McMahon, C.Daly, R.Murphy-Sweeney; M.Hanley, E.O’Reilly; S.O’Connell, D.Touhey, A.Obono; J.Delahunt (captain), A.Shine-Lynch; R.Enraght-Moony and L.Donnelly.




BUCCANEERS SECONDS really let leaders Connemara off the hook when the sides faced each other for the second time in eight days. On a fine afternoon for this Connacht Junior 1A League joust at Dubarry Park, brave Buccs led until the 74th minute when the Blacks showed their mettle with a smash and grab ten points in the closing moments of a hugely committed encounter.


Buccs were without three influential forwards for this return match, brothers Ruairi and Sean Byrne as well as No.8 Rossa Dooley. This meant a serious realignment in the home pack that now contained five props! Ryan O’Meara  and Niall Flynn made an unlikely pairing in the second row, Keith Grehan moved to blindside flanker from tighthead prop where Trevor Thompson now operated. The rejigged homesters got a tonic start when the alert Graham Lynch intercepted to score a 6th minute try which Gerard Fallon converted.


Eight minutes later David McDonagh was granted far too much latitude as he made serious ground before releasing Peter O’Toole for an unconverted 14th minute Connemara try on the left. Buccs responded commendably with some smashing recycling as they moved the ball from side to side before Alex Hayman powered through for a 18th minute try which Fallon also converted. Connemara retorted with quick ball moved across the pitch following a lineout  and Paul Lee got over for another unconverted try on the left. Three minutes later there was just one point between the teams when Enda Connolly landed a penalty following Dean McMahon’s yellow card.


The exchanges threatened to boil over approaching halftime with Connemara dealt a blow when T.J.Berry was red carded for a kicking offence and then Lee was sin-binned for a high tackle. Buccs led 14-13 at the break. They then enjoyed massive territory for the opening half hour of the second half with their pack surprisingly utterly dominant in the tight. Scrum followed scrum with the depleted Blacks conceding a massive penalty count that perhaps should have yielded another yellow card.


But Buccs were making ground begrudgingly in a stop/start half although McMahon was decidedly unfortunate to put a foot in touch just before he could ground the ball on the hour mark. Eventually Buccs made the dominance of their motley pack reap dividends after 66 minutes and substitute Hayman wrong-footed the visitors’ defence to score his side’s third try. Fallon’s conversion nosed Buccs 21-13 to the good.


But the midlanders really should have had more scores to show for the territory and possession they enjoyed and they were made to pay for their profligacy. In a rare incursion in to the home half, Trevor Phillips was guilty of a high tackle that earned him a sin binning. Connolly duly slotted over the resultant 68th minute penalty to throw the Blacks a lifeline. This they grabbed to display why they are league leaders. Shane Sweeney made good ground through the middle and he off-loaded to Henry O’Toole Junior who showed his father’s eye for an opening to dummy the home defence and race in for a 74th minute try at the posts. Connolly’s conversion sealed their 23-21 win.


Buccs were gallant throughout but a lack of mobility in the pack caught up with them whilst they were not sufficiently clinical despite the promptings of backs Lynch and Hayman. O’Meara, Thompson and James Foley gave it their all in the forwards battles.


BUCCANEERS:- C.Seery; G.Fallon, S.Dempsey, S.Flynn (captain), H.Hughes; D.McMahon, G.Lynch; T.Thompson, R.Grenham, N.Farrelly; R.O’Meara, N.Flynn; T.Phillips, K.Grehan and J.Foley. Replacements:- A.Hayman (for Hughes, inj. 12 mins), K.Langdon (for Thompson, 44 mins),T.Thompson (for N.Flynn, inj. 64 mins) and J.Lopez.


Referee:- Jason Cairns (Connacht).