Ballinasloe Rugby News. 14.11.11

Buccaneers 27   6 Ballinasloe.

Ballinasloe’s unbeaten league run came to an abrupt end at Athlone on Sunday when they went down to the home side by 27pts to 6 in a game that they rarely looked like winning. While it was disappointing it was hardly surprising as the winners were in the enviable position of being able to load their side with more than a few players who have had valuable experience with Buccaneers in the higher reaches of the AIL. Backboned by such resources, the visitors could never match this strength in depth and despite being game to the end they struggled noticeably for stretches of the match especially in the physical stakes. No doubt the hosts deserved their win and generally looked like a side capable of playing at a higher level than Junior 1B. One felt that they had another gear to call on if required despite the fact that the losers were not at their best on the day and have played better in other games this season.

Ballinasloe opened brightly and had the better of the territorial battle early on. They were unlucky not to take an early lead when fly half Robert O’Beirn missed with a penalty kick at goal after four minutes and was again off target five minutes later with a drop goal effort. The hosts went ahead after ten minutes when they ran the ball inside the visitors 22 and No. 8, Adrian Hughes, showed up in the left corner to touch down for a try that was not converted. Ballinasloe came back and O’Beirn reduced the arrears with a penalty after 15 minutes. They were buoyed up after this score and took the fight to their opponents but could not create any worthwhile openings to engineer a score. Buccaneers were more purposeful with ball in hand and ran in their second try after 23 minutes play when centre, Deccie Byrne, went over with Terry Hynes adding the conversion for good measure. He also added a wind assisted penalty from a short distance inside the visitors half to give his side a 15pts to 3 interval lead.

The visitors needed to score first in the second period to stay in the match and O’Beirn obliged for them by landing a penalty in the forty sixth minute. Unfortunately for Ballinasloe their comeback was short lived as the Buccs pack mauled their way menacingly to the Ballinasloe line before prop, Martin Staunton, touched down for try number three with the conversion being missed. Ballinasloe were now finding it hard to live with the strength of the Buccs pack and were lucky not to concede a further try when the home forwards infringed close to their opponents line when a try seemed in the offing. The visitors never allowed their heads to drop and made a few late forays into their rivals 22 in search of a late score but the locals were looking for the four try bonus point and it came their way late on when winger Henry Reilly ran in a try from half way with Hynes adding the conversion for a comfortable enough win.

Ballinasloe: D.Burke, C.Loughrey( M.Gibbons 74mins), L.Feerick, C.Brophy, J.Dunne, R.O’Beirn, R.Shepherd(J.Kelly 57mins), J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara(capt. A.Wade 67mins), T.Dolan( E.Courtney 67mins), N.Staunton, D.Fenton(A.Doorley 50mins), H.Reynolds, M.Harrigan, R.Wakefield.

Ballinasloe’s second xv were in action away to Loughrea on Sunday also and though fielding a youthful side put in a creditable performance before going down by 20pts to 3. They led by 3pts to nil, courtesy of a Benny Brophy penalty, well into the second half when a bigger Loughrea side made their weight tell late on for their win.

Liam Courtney

PRO Ballinasloe RFC

Related

IRFU Add ‘Competition Stage’ To Roadmap For Clubs With September Return Planned