BALLINROBE 16 beat BUCCANEERS 15 Ballinrobe reversed an earlier 46-3 loss to Buccaneers winning the weekend’s 16-15 thriller at home on the racecourse. Buccaneers, who ground out an energy-sapping 19-13 Cup win over UCG a week before, fielded a much-changed lineup against the Mayo men. The turnaround marks a massive upset for the hosts Ballinrobe, who effectively negate any chance of a wooden spoon, and put themselves within coo-ey of a top-four spot seven points shy of fifth-placed Creggs. Counting against them is the fact Creggs have two games to play, but a resurgent Ballinrobe will take heart from this performance and have every opportunity to stake a claim in the New Year. Buccaneers should be commended for a spirited comeback however, 10 points down midway through the first half. Aidan Connaughton at fullback broke from deep and closed the gap to five points at the break. Connaughton, still in his teens and playing out of position, scored Buccs’ second try, Ger Fallon successful with the conversion. Ballinrobe tacked on a brace of penalties to keep their scoreboard ticking over before Fallon knocked over another penalty to make it 16-15. Mucky underfoot conditions and no bench options hindered the visitors’ chances to tip the scales. Poor placekicking did not help, and the loss is a huge setback to Buccaneers hopes of gaining promotion. No doubt, the absentees will be the focus of some attention from the team’s mentors in the near future. Rookie Connaughton and centre Declan Byrne shone in the baks, while Adrian Hughes, Darragh Lennon and the versatile Reilly were best in the pack. BUCCANEERS: A.Connaughton; R.Walshe, D.Byrne, E.Keena, T.Couper; C.Sheehy, G.Fallon; L.Doran, S.Stapleton, D.Lennon; Anthony Hughes, R.Byrne; H.Reilly, J.Tormey and Adrian Hughes. contributed – Michael Silke

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