YOUNG MUNSTER 24 BUCCANEERS 22 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

. . . . .


published:Mar  26   2018

A late try secured a narrow 24-22 victory for Young Munster over Buccaneers in a well contested Ulster Bank League Division 1A encounter played in sunny conditions at Tom Clifford Park, Limerick, on Saturday. The bonus point win keeps the Cookies in touch for a Top Four finish while Buccs, who rallied from 19-3 down to edge ahead going in to the final quarter, will gain little solace from their losing bonus point as they strive to avoid relegation.


Buccaneers made five changes from the home defeat to Clontarf. Skipper Shane Layden, Rory O’Connor and Simon Meagher were all injured in that game and were replaced by Rory Scholes, Alan Gaughan and Cian Romaine. Conan O’Donnell rotated at prop with Conor Kenny on the bench where he was joined by Graham Lynch as Conor McKeon returned. The Cookies had four changes from their surprise loss at Dublin University. Luke Fitzgerald replaced Conor Hayes on the wing while Gavin Ryan, Mike Madden and Mark O’Meara came in to the home pack in place of Peter Meyer, Tom Goggin and Dan Walsh respectively. They also sported a change of colour, wearing their alternative amber jerseys.


Buccs began brightly and a powerful surge forward by Cian Romaine earned a 7th minute penalty which Conor McKeon despatched to open the scoring. However, the Pirates scrumhalf was yellow carded for a 13th minute knock-on by inconsistent referee Kieran Barry who did not issue similar punishment to the home side’s Jason Kiely for a comparable offence when Buccs had an overlap ten minutes earlier!


The sin bin period was to prove costly for the midlanders as Young Munster plundered 12 points to dictate proceeding for the majority of the opening half. The hosts promptly mauled over Buccs line for a 15th minute unconverted try by Ger Slattery and, six minutes later, Alan Tynan wrong-footed the visitors’ defence with a change of direction that took him in for a try at the posts which Shane Airey converted for a 12-3 lead.


This scoring burst had taken the wind out of the Pirates sails and, following a series of pick and goes on the left, Young Munster switched play to the right where Airey’s angled run sent Tynan in for his second try. The fullback converted to give his side a 19-3 advantage after 33 minutes.


But Buccs dusted themselves down and now began to enjoy a better share of possession. Following a scrum on the right, Alan Gaughan broke from the ten metre line to link up with Callum Boland whose grubber kick ahead was fastened on to by Darragh Corbett for an unconverted try wide on the left in the final move of the half to reduce the Athlone side’s arrears to 19-8 at the interval.


Young Munster resumed with intensity in their desire to secure a bonus point try but Buccaneers defence resisted stubbornly and with discipline. Eleven minutes into this half, McKeon’s smart kick ahead was chased strongly by Corbett who nailed Tynan in possession. The Pirates support arrived swiftly and Gaughan, now operating at flyhalf with Luke Carty at fullback, strode in for a try. McKeon’s conversion tightened the scoreboard to 19-15 with half an hour remaining.


Four minutes later a brilliant Rory Scholes break sucked in the home defence but his offload went behind the supporting Boland. However, the winger secured possession to ground the ball near the left flag for a stonewall certain try. Incredibly the referee ruled that the pass was forward and did not award the score, much to the again justifiable ire of the Buccs supporters and mentors.


But this setback seemed to get the Athlone team’s dander up and they continued to press forward with a super Ben Carty leap and catch initiating Boland and Scholes combining splendidly to send Gaughan in for his second try on 62 minutes. McKeon’s conversion put Buccs 22-19 ahead. Although Scholes was injured in this move, with Graham Lynch coming on on the left wing and Boland switching to centre, a rare and dearly needed victory looked in prospect for the midlanders.


But, disappointingly, six minutes from time the visitors lost possession on their own put in and Young Munster got the ball away swiftly from the back of the scrum to Luke Fitzgerald who darted in on the blindside for an unconverted but match-winning 74th minute try. Buccs could not conjure up another score, try as they did in the closing stages.


The Cookies were mightily relieved and, arguably, were the slightly better outfit. Tynan, Jack Harrington, Slattery and Ben Kilkenny were to the forefront for them. However, Buccaneers will be rightly aggrieved by a number of the officials’ decisions that went against them. McKeon and Romaine were their standout performers with Paul O’Boyle, Gaughan and Boland also doing well.


YOUNG MUNSTER:-  A.Tynan; J.Kiely, J.Harrington, E.O’Gorman, L.Fitzgerald; S.Airey, J.Lyons; G.Ryan, G.Slattery, C.Skehan; M.Madden, A.Kennedy; D.Dee, M.O’Meara and B.Kilkenny (captain). Replacements:- A.Ross (for Madden, 53 mins), R.Murphy, P.Meyer, J.O’Connor and B.Swindlehurst.


BUCCANEERS:- A.Gaughan; D.Corbett, R.Scholes, B.Carty, C.Boland; L.Carty, C.McKeon; M.Staunton, J.Sutton, C.O’Donnell; R.Byrne, D.Law; C.Romaine, E.Galvin and P.O’Boyle (captain). Replacements:- C.Kenny (for Staunton, 22 mins), M.Staunton (for O’Donnell, h/t), R.Dooley (for Galvin, h/t), C.O’Donnell (for Kenny, 48 mins), G.Lynch (for Scholes, inj. 62 mins), R.O’Meara (for Staunton, 70 mins), E.Galvin (for Dooley, 71 mins), C.Kenny (for O’Meara, 77 mins) and F.Hopkins.


Referee:- Kieran Barry (IRFU).




BUCCANEERS and CASTLEBAR served up a cracking contest in their Connacht Womens Cup semi-final played in near ideal conditions on the main pitch at Dubarry Park on Sunday when the never-say-die Pirates scored a last play try to defeat the visitors 48-42. This was rousing stuff and hugely entertaining with 90 points including 15 tries scored over the course of an ever-changing 80 minutes between two teams giving it their all.


Castlebar were swiftly on the scoreboard with an early converted try. Buccs eventually settled and Sarah Kelly barged over for a try converted by Alex Hennessy to level the scores. But the Mayo ladies continued to set the pace, scoring two converted tries in the process before prop Kelly replied with her second try to leave the Pirates 21-12 adrift at halftime.


Buccs came flying out of the blocks on the change of ends with teenager Vanessa Finan getting in for a try which Hennessy converted while Sabina Egan burst through for an unconverted home try. Rookie Finan then notched her second touchdown, duly converted by Hennessy who then grabbed an unconverted try to transform the contest with Buccaneers now 36-21 to the good.


But Castlebar retorted with a pair of converted tries to cut the Athlone side’s lead to the minimum at 36-35.In a thrilling contest, the Mayo team regained the lead with their sixth try, the conversion putting them 42-36 ahead but that wonderful warrior Kelly completed her hat-trick with an unconverted try that left just a solitary point between the teams with time running out.


In the final move of a nerve jangling joust, standoff Egan charged through for her second (and Buccaneers eighth) try and Hennessy’s conversion completed the 48-42 winning scoreline for Buccs. Hats off to both teams for providing the partisan supporters with a corker played in great spirit and commitment and no little skill. It was a truly super team performance by Buccaneers (and it needed to be to overcome their great rivals). Youngsters Finan and Rian Callagahan performed admirably in their first taste of Cup action and are worthy of special mention. Buccaneers now play NUIG in next Sunday’s final at Galway Sportsground.


BUCCANEERS:- Sarah Kelly, Mele Kiripati, Katy Ryan, Judy Dowling, Lorna Stuart-Trainor (captain), Tracey Finnerty, Antoinette Kemmy, Dearbhaile West, Sabina Egan, Alex Hennessy, Dona Cromar, Aileen Hayes, Susan Earner, Orla Glynn, Vanessa Finan, Rian Callaghan and Gohar Kostanyan.