UCD 17 BUCCANEERS 14 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Jan  30   2018

After a disciplined opening, a poor mid section of their Ulster Bank League Division 1A game away to University College Dublin cost Buccaneers dearly as they gave themselves too much to do when going down 17-14 at the Belfield Bowl on Saturday. This was an eminently winnable game for Buccs and they will be massively disappointed not only with this latest defeat but more keenly the manner of it. The midlanders made too many errors and struggled at the setpieces in a performance that fell below expectations. 


Both sides had quite a number of changes from their previous outings and, with College short their key Ireland Sevens and U-20’s players, the midlanders would have been quietly optimistic of getting back to winning ways. The Pirates made six personnel changes, four of them in the pack where Peter Claffey, Daniel Law, Ruairi Byrne and Paul Boyle returned and John Sutton and Ryan O’Meara reverted to front row duty. Joshua Rowland made his long awaited debut at fullback with Graham Lynch coming in at scrumhalf. Injury ruled Simon Meagher out while Evan Galvin and Alan Gaughan were named on the bench.


In drizzly conditions and facing a strong diagonal breeze, the Pirates were the better side initially on a softish but fine surface. They defended comfortably for the opening quarter when UCD conceded a raft of penalties. UCD made a first visit into Buccs 22 following an initial infringement by Buccs. From this a fumble by a visiting back was fastened onto by the Students who promptly capitalised to open the scoring with a 16th minute Alex Penny try, their good fortune including a final pass that looked a shade forward and the conversion from wide on the left by Ciaran Frawley going over via an upright for a 7-0 lead totally against the run of play.


Luke Carty and O’Meara then combined in a promising raid that was followed shortly afterwards by a swift counter attack from Darragh Corbett that looked likely to yield a try but for the grasping fingernails of Frawley that just got a grib on the Buccs winger’s shirt to slow his progress. Then UCD gained a further promising foothold from another penalty after 25 minutes when Luke Carty’s tackle on his opposite number was high. Following a quick tap and go by ex-Bucc Stephen McVeigh, College earned another penalty which they punted to touch in the right corner where, from the lineout, they drove over for an unconverted try by Sean McNulty.


In the closing stages, Buccaneers upped their efforts and camped close to the home line for a lengthy spell during which College lost both Liam Hyland and Penny to injury but the Pirates just could not create the final move to unlock staunch defending by the Students, who were flattered by their 12-0 lead at the interval.


Buccaneers made two changes at halftime, Galvin replacing Cian Romaine and Gaughan coming on at fullback with Rowland switching to the left wing in place of Rory O’Connor The breeze died considerably for the third quarter and UCD showed their more clinical finishing touch when, after another fine maul by their pack, Patrick Patterson’s sniping break was finished off by the stretching frame of Brian Cawley for an unconverted 49th minute try. This was the vital score, Buccs now trailing by a daunting 17 points.


Nevertheless, the Athlone side regained their momentum to pin back the hosts for the final quarter. College substitute Gordon Frayne’s 56th minute sin-binning for a wild tackle on Sutton was immediately punished by Buccs. Claffey’s strong carry made good ground for the midlanders and, when the ball was switched right to left, Ben Carty dived over the UCD line for a 57th minute try. Luke Carty added an excellent touchline conversion and the contest finally ratcheted up a few notches.


A couple of lengthy stoppages when referee Rob O’Sullivan had discussions with home mentors on the sideline resulted in uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game. Arguably this also hindered the momentum of the Pirates revival and they had another setback when Boyle was driven over the home line but the referee adjudged that the ball had been held up. Nevertheless, Buccs battled on with Shane Layden driving over for a 71st minute try converted by Luke Carty to set up a grandstand finish. But UCD hung on for the crucial win although this observer reckoned that the final whistle sounded close on two minutes early!


College however were the deserving winners of the priceless points with busy scrumhalf Patterson and captain Jamie Glynn to the fore in their endeavours while McVeigh had a decent outing at No.8. Buccaneers made too many errors for their own good with their passing and positioning lacking precision whilst they were inconsistent in the setpieces. Most costly perhaps was the slow arrival of support on too many occasions. This was a hugely deflating defeat as a depleted UCD were there for the taking but the Athlone side, despite the best promptings of Lynch, Law, Claffey and Ben Carty, put in a most disappointing effort on the day.


U.C.D:- S.Kilgallen; R.Keenan, J.Glynn (captain), G.Mullin, C.Mulcahy; C.Frawley, P.Patterson; R.Mulvihill, S.McNulty, L.Hyland; E.MacMahon, K.McKenna; R.Foley, A.Penny and S.McVeigh. Replacements:- M.Moynihan (for Hyland, 38 mins), B.Cawley (for Penny, 39 mins), G.Frayne (for McKenna, 50 mins), O.O’Meara (for Moynihan, 65 mins) and M.Gilsenan.


BUCCANEERS:- J.Rowland; D.Corbett, S.Layden (captain), B.Carty, R.O’Connor; L.Carty, G.Lynch; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, R.O’Meara; R.Byrne, P.Claffey; C.Romaine, D.Law and P.Boyle. Replacements:- A.Gaughan (for O’Connor, h/t), E.Galvin (for Romaine, h/t), B.Diffley (for O’Meara, 59 mins), F.Hopkins (for Lynch, 60 mins), C.Romaine (for Claffey), P.Claffey (for Byrne) and R.Grenham.


Referee:- Rob O’Sullivan (IRFU).




BUCCANEERS and NUI Galway served up a highly entertaining J.P.Fanagan Leinster U-20 League Premier 2 Division encounter at Dubarry Park on Sunday when the homesters came out on top of a high-scoring affair by 50-34.


In an open and exciting contest, Thomas McGann opened the home scoring with the first of a hat-trick of tries by the winger. Sam Hastings added the second with a neat chip and chase effort. It was nip and tuck all through this half with Buccs edging matters on the scoreboard 21-19 at the interval. Niall Murray, Ryan Convey, Frankie Hopkins and Darren Touhey also got in on the try-scoring act with Michael Hanley converting three tries and Convey adding two conversions.


This was a most encouraging display by these young Buccaneers as NUIG had readily disposed of them early in the league campaign. Hopkins and Hastings linked up very effectively at halfback and McGann is a super finisher. Touhey revelled at No.8 while Brian Collins and Darren Buckley are other forwards who did well in this eight try bonus point victory. Colm Reilly made the most impact from the substitutes’ bench while the only blot on Buccs display was indiscipline which resulted in three yellow cards. NUIG also secured a bonus point courtesy of their five tries.


BUCCANEERS:- R.Convey; M.Hanley, R.Murphy-Sweeney, C.Burns, T.McGann; S.Hastings, F.Hopkins; J.Kelly, D.Buckley, A.Obono; B.Collins (captain), N.Murray; S.O’Connell, R.Enraght-Moony and D.Touhey. Replacements:- C.Reilly, J.Delahunt, B.Diffley, E.O’Reilly, C.McMahon, K. Czerniak.


NUIG:- D.Aston; C.Hughes, C.MacCuarta, T.Forde, A.O’Halloran; M.Parata, S.Vieno; D.Keane, H.Egleston, M.McColgan; T.Doyle, C.Fallon; M.Kennedy, D.O’Riordan and D.Robb. Replacements:- L.Holten, W.MacKin, D.Floyd, E.O’Foighil and F.O’Higgins.




BUCCANEERS SECONDS travelled understrength to Carrowholly on Sunday and consequently shipped a heavy 44-10 defeat at the hands of Westport in their Connacht Junior 1A League joust. Played in difficult windy conditions on a heavy sod, it was always going to be a huge task for Buccs who trailed 30-10 at halftime. Their lack of a full complement made it a difficult afternoon for the Pirates but, to their wonderful credit, they battled to the bitter end. In the circumstances, all the players can be proud of their efforts. They worked hard defensively and battled willingly from start to finish in difficult circumstances. Rossa Dooley scored their first try with Alex Hayman adding the second. Hayman led from the front with best support from Trevor Thompson and James Foley. The latter incurred a nasty injury in the second half and the young Corkonian is wished a swift and full recovery.