Superb young Buccs complete U-18.5 double! | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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Superb young Buccs complete U-18.5 double!

published:Apr  16   2018




Putting in a magnificent all-round team performance, Buccaneers proved much too strong for Corinthians in the Connacht U-18.5 Cup final played at The Sportsground, Galway, on Sunday. The Pirates made it a double in the province, having already claimed the league title, by virtue of a comprehensive 38-0 victory.


In front of a large attendance, the midlanders did not have it all their own way as, backed by the considerable breeze in the first half, the city side made most of the early running. But they found the Buccs defence in a miserly mood with the disciplined Pirates being relentless in their tackling and harrying. In windy and cool conditions, Corinthians took the game to the favourites with the Tribesmen’s Conor MacDonald causing problems initially. But the pacey winger saw less and less of the ball as the Galway outfit persisted in trying to go up the middle where the Buccs defensive line was unyielding while the Shannonsiders’ outhalf Sean Flynn kept the opposition guessing with the variety in his play.


Corinthians lost captain Lorcan Roche to injury after 16 minutes and then spurned a gilt-edged scoring opportunity when Buccs were tempted offside a few minutes later. Instead of getting points on the board with the penalty from in front of the posts, they kicked to touch in the right corner where a long throw in the breezy conditions was also an ill-judged choice. They had thrown everything in their armour at that stage without finding any chink in Buccaneers organisation or resolution.


As an absorbing contest entered the second quarter and the rain intensified, Buccs now began to make progress against the elements. Jack Mulholland was fortunate not to see yellow following a late tackle on John Tumulty after which a smart snipe by Flynn made telling ground and a strong carry by Liam Winnett was stopped short. The momentum was now going Buccs way and they earned a close in penalty which they tapped and Liam Doyle powered through for a 28th minute try. In the tricky conditions, Nathan Horan was unable to add the conversion. Corinthians were now being stretched and a high tackle on Winnett earned Evan Kenny a trip to the sin bin five minutes before half-time which arrived with Buccaneers 5-0 ahead.


Having soaked up all that the opposition and the elements could throw at them, Buccs were now firmly in the driving seat. But it took them longer than expected to pierce stubborn Corinthians defending following the change of ends. Mathias O’Neill made a terrific rob but Winnett could not hold his offload before a splendid angled garryowen by Horan was secured by a mighty leap from Tumulty. This set up a spell of fierce pressure by Buccs with O’Neill driving over the line for a 50th minute try which Horan converted. From the restart, Buccs earned a penalty which was punted to the right corner. Fergus Galvin and Doyle both made ground following the lineout before the ball was moved to the left where O’Neill applied the finishing touch for an unconverted try. This put daylight between the teams with Buccs now 17-0 ahead.


Buccaneers were rampant in the closing stages and gallant Corinthians simply had no answers to the power, pace and diversification in the winners’ play. Galvin and Horan combined to send Doyle surging forward where Flynn, neat as a pin and not much bigger, split the cover for a smashing 58th minute try which Horan converted. Buccs could now unload their bench, yet the tries continued with the best of the bunch following just two minutes later when Tumulty broke from his own ten metre line, his mazy run leaving a trail of Corinthians defenders flailing in his wake. Horan added the conversion to this magnificent try.


Buccaneers finished the match in style with a flowing final move involving a handful of their players ripping the city side apart before Daniel Ennis grounded the ball for his team’s sixth try. With the ball falling off the kicking tee, substitute Adam Murtagh drop-kicked the conversion to complete the emphatic 38-0 margin.


This was an absolutely magnificent squad display by Buccaneers. They showed their resilience and character particularly in the opening quarter against the elements and an eager Corinthians outfit. However, as they gradually imposed themselves on the proceedings, and particularly after they opened the scoring, the outcome was never really in doubt thereafter despite the gallant efforts of the vanquished who were simply overrun the more the game progressed.


Skipper Galvin led his forces (who are excellently drilled and a particularly special group of immensely promising players) in imperious fashion, as well as lording the lineouts. Darren Browne was busy as a beaver in a solid front row trio and his lineout throws were radar sharp. Recently capped Winnett was a tower of strength at No.8 and Mark Tallon made an impact when introduced for the second half. Tumulty was a menace to the opposition in a lively backline where Horan and Flynn dictated the proceedings. The latter, from Ferbane, is a pocket-sized gem and was this observer’s man of the match.


Footnote:- This final was already scheduled when Buccaneers were informed at short notice of an All-Ireland semi-final pencilled in for the previous afternoon. Hopefully, the powers that be will display common sense to refix this latter match as these young Buccs certainly warrant the opportunity to test their mettle against the other provincial league champions.


BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; J.Tumulty, D.Ennis, S.O’Carroll, H.Stewart; S.Flynn, N.Horan; C.Daly, D.Browne, H.O’Reilly; L.Doyle, K.Connolly; F.Galvin (captain), M.O’Neill and L.Winnett. Replacements:- M.Tallon (for Connolly, h/t), C.O’Grady (for Winnett, 59 mins), K.Maloney (for Horan, 60 mins), J.Downes (for Daly, 60 mins), J.Conway (for Doyle, 60 mins), K.Foxe (for Tumulty, 60 mins), A.Murtagh (for O’Carroll), D.Mulvihill and T.Brosnan.


CORINTHIANS:- G.Collumb; M.Fitzmaurice, E.O’Shaughnessy, M.O’Duibhir, C.MacDonald; E.Kenny, J.Whyte; R.Ipek, T.O’Dowd, L.Roche (captain); A.Broderick, D.Keogh; J.Gallagher, B.O’Sullivan and J.Mulholland. Replacements:- D.McCormack (for Roche, inj. 16 mins), C.Weldon (for Whyte, inj. 37 mins), O.O’Flatharta (for MacDonald, 59 mins), Buitlear, C.Scanlon, C.Forde, R.Heaney and M.Aherne.


Referee:- Mike Goode (Connacht).




Congratulations to Robbie Henshaw who is being honoured by Westmeath County Council at a civic reception in Athlone this Wednesday evening. Robbie is hoping to be fit for action for Leinster in the very near future when, hopefully, they will have advanced to the Champions Cup final.




Buccaneers U-18 and U-15 Girls squads are joining together to hold a TABLE QUIZ in The Bounty on Thursday next, April 26th at 8 p.m. Entry fee is €10 per adult and €5 for girls/boys. Complimentary finger food will be served. All support on the night will be greatly appreciated by these two teams and their mentors.




Buccaneers Annual Awards Gala is taking place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, on Friday, May 19th while the club’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for The Bounty on the following Friday, May 26th.




Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of the late Michael Donohoe, Coosan.