BUCCS MAINTAIN MOMENTUM

RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

UL BOHEMIAN  3  BUCCANEERS  26

BUCCANEERS maintained their winning ways with a quite impressive 26-3 All Ireland League Division 1B victory away to UL Bohemian at Annacotty, Limerick, on Saturday. Conditions were unpleasant for player and spectator alike with a mix of showers, a cold nip and plenty of watery patches on the pitch but Buccs made light of all hurdles to record a clearcut victory.

Both teams had to make some late changes with the midlanders losing both Shane Monahan (flu) and Conor O’Loughlin (hip injury) on the eve of this match. With Paul Harte already ruled out through injury and Jarrod Bennett not yet fully fit, Conor Lavelle came in on the left wing for his first competitive start after a lengthy injury lay-off, Aidan Wynne returned in the centre and Adam Kennedy got the nod at scrumhalf. The pack, however, was unchanged from the demolition of UCC. With Munster squaring up to Australia on Tuesday, UL Bohs had to plan without Tommy O’Donnell, Kieran Essex and Barry Murphy.

The home side had the first scoring opportunity but J.J.Hanrahan was off-target with a third minute penalty. Kolo Kiripati made the first real inroads for Buccs with a typical burst before Kennedy opened the scoring with penalty after eight minutes. There were big hits aplenty as both sides strove for dominance before Kennedy punted a second penalty on 21 minutes after the hosts infringed at a lineout. The best sequence of the first half occurred five minutes later when Jack Carty recovered well after losing his footing inside his own 22 and he drilled a sublime diagonal kick to touch on the left inside the opposition 22. Buccs snaffled possession from the resultant lineout and, despite a stray dog vying for possession of the ball, young Carty was not fazed as he slotted a very tidy drop goal to give Buccs a 9-0 lead. Hanrahan missed a second penalty for UL Bohs on 29 minutes and, just before the break, Darren Moroney fared no better for the Limerick outfit. The Athlone side played the more controlled football in the opening half and were good value for their advantage at the interval, at which stage ex-Bucc Kieran O’Gorman was replaced by Noel Kinnane for UL Bohs.

UL Bohs restarted in much more purposeful manner and Hanrahan finally found the range with a 42nd minute penalty but Buccs responded promptly with a blistering break by John O’Brien giving them a good foothold in home territory and, following some decent and patient play, the midlanders forced a penalty which Kennedy comfortably converted to restore a nine points lead. Then two former Connacht teammates Martin McPhail and Wynne made teasing breaks for their respective sides before Conor Higgins made a timely interception at a stage when UL Bohs were coming more into the game.

But, as the sun finally forced through the clouds, Buccaneers regained their grip on the proceedings but Garreth Halligan was deemed to have knocked on when grounding the ball at the home posts following a quick counter attack by the midlanders. It looked a harsh call but perhaps justice was done as Kiripati seemed to have knocked the ball forward when sending his captain away. Nevertheless, it merely delayed the agony by a mere minute for UL Bohs for, after clearing their lines from the resultant five-metre scrum, Daniel Qualter again claimed possession from a home lineout and when Kennedy fed Brian Touhy, the winger was soon slaloming in through a spray of water for a 61st minute try which the scrumhalf converted.

Buccs were now very much the dominant force but did not add to their tally until three minutes from time when Marcus Madden reacted smartest to Lavelle’s dink ahead, the substitute coming onto the loose ball from the blind side to dive over in the very short in-goal area for a try. Kennedy maintained his 100% success rate from placed balls with a fine conversion to complete the 26-3 winning margin.

Sean Rennison excelled for UL Bohs who will rue their on-going place-kicking woes and, while their pack did well in the tight, their lineouts proved a disaster area although their overall endeavours warranted more than a solitary score. Nevertheless, this was a decent, all-round performance by Buccaneers, who generally played the more sensible and cuter football on the day. Their backline, with the accomplished 18-year-old Carty looking very comfortable in the pivotal outhalf role, always looked the more threatening while they were also very solid defensively. Carty got sterling support from Wynne and Lavelle. Another teenager was the standout operator in the pack. Here Daniel Qualter lorded the lineouts and regularly put himself about to good effect while Kiripati consistently made good ground with ball in hand as a well organised and efficient Buccs recorded their second away win in quick succession in the rugby stronghold of Limerick.

BUCCANEERS:-  J.O’Brien; B.Touhy, A.Hayman, A.Wynne, C.Lavelle; J.Carty, A.Kennedy; C.Higgins, G.Halligan (captain), D.Rogers; P. de Burca, D.Qualter; S.Burke, C.Watters and K.Kiripati. Replacements:-  E.Rooney (for Burke, 53 mins), J.Tormey (for de Burca, 66 mins), M.Madden (for Halligan, inj. 75 mins), D.Connellan (for Kennedy, 78 mins) and M.Staunton (for Higgins).

UL BOHEMIAN:-  E.Torrie; C.Aherne, M.McPhail (captain), D.Moloney, D.Moroney; J.J.Hanrahan, C.Delooze; D.Kilcoyne, E.Rossiter, K.Flanagan; E.Kelly, D.Frawley; K.O’Gorman, B.O’Hara and S.Rennison. Replacements:- N.Kinnane (for O’Gorman, inj. h/t), S.Henry (for Rossiter, 45 mins), H. de Stacpoole (for Moroney, 50 mins), K.Bracken (for Moloney, inj. 66 mins) and G.Walsh (for Flanagan, 78 mins).

REFEREE:- George Clancy. (IRFU).

BUCCANEERS  3  CORK CONSTITUTION  17

Just as they did at Temple Hill last season, Cork Constitution got off to another flying start in their South-West Conference U-21 National League tie at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday when they defeated Buccaneers 17-3.

Try as they might, and Buccs certainly were not found wanting in endeavour, the homesters were unable to reel in the visitors who profited from a smashing back three, especially fullback Robert Clune (grandson of Peter Barry of the real tea dynasty?). Cork Con got two very early tries to lead 12-0 in as many minutes. The first came when Clune entered the line and sliced through between Buccs centre and outhalf. Soon afterwards, they added another following a bad attempted clearance by Buccs’ winger.

A Callum Boland penalty left it 12-3 at the break, after which Buccs chased hard to try to overhaul the Cork side. The home forwards did quite well especially in the scrum and with a much improved lineout. Boland was stopped just of the line and he then missed a kickable penalty but, overall, it was clueless kicking that ruined much of Buccs possession. Cork Con sealed victory with a late counter-attack try to complete the 17-3 margin.

Brendan Fagan was Buccs best operator in this outing with good support from fellow flanker John Hayes and a pretty decent effort by the front-row trio. Lock Jonathan Clarke made a highly promising debut at this level while Phil Butler was pick of the backline where he put in a tremendous defensive showing.

BUCCANEERS:-  D.Fagan; E.Keena, C.Boland, S.Flynn, C.Greene; J.Bennett, P.Butler; D.Henshaw, E.O’Brien, T.Thompson; R.Byrne, J.Clarke; B.Fagan, J.Hayes (captain) and J.Kenny. Replacements:- K.Naughton (for Flynn, inj.), J.O’Carroll (for Byrne), N.Quigley (for Kenny) and E. de Burca (blood sub for Thompson).

KILFEACLE  31  BUCCANEERS  11
In the first meeting between the clubs, Kilfeacle made home advantage pay against Buccaneers second string U-21 squad. Nevertheless, this proved a valuable workout for these young Buccs, who gained key game time. Ger Fallon compiled all Buccs scores through a try and two conversions.

BUCCANEERS  43  CONNEMARA  15

BUCCANEERS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD continued on their merry winning way when they outscored Connemara 43-15 in their Connacht Junior 1B game at sunny but cold Dubarry Park on Sunday. However, this was a much tighter affair than the winning margin suggests for the Blacks put it up to the free-scoring Buccs for long spells in this entertaining contest.

Indeed Connemara opened the scoring after just three minutes, Alan McCann finishing off a fine attack with a well worked try converted by James Sweeney. This shock to the system for the homesters upset their usual rhythm for a time before a quickly tapped penalty by Colin Draper sent Declan Byrne steaming into visiting territory and Simone Bianco was up in support to apply the finishing touch for a 13th minute try which John Connellan converted. Eight minutes later, David Dunning carried well before off-loading to Darragh Lennon for another try on the left. Connellan displayed deft footwork to get by three players for a smashing try on 26 minutes. He duly converted and also added the spoils after Byrne had secured Buccs bonus point try on 35 minutes to give the midlanders a handsome 26-10 halftime advantage.

Any thoughts of a handy second half were promptly dismissed by Connemara and standoff Sweeney in particular. He knocked over penalties either side of the break and then read Gary Duffy’s intentions to grab an intercept try which he also converted to narrow the arrears to 26-15 just four minutes into the second half. Buccs were in some disarray for a spell and were finding it difficult to shake off the Blacks’ gritty challenge. Connellan steadied nerves with a 72nd minute penalty. Then Buccs punished the westerners for not dealing with a teasing Karl Turley diagonal kick and Mark Coleman swooped for a 75th minute try. Three minutes later, Lennon displayed dancing feet not usually associated with front rowers to grab his second try. Connellan converted both to earn Buccs a slightly flattering 43-15 win that has boosted their scoring total to 265 points in just five league matches.

BUCCANEERS:-  L.Mitchell; A.Downey, A.Moore, D.Byrne, G.Walsh; J.Connellan, C.Draper; E.Bracken, D.Lennon, G.Bianco; G.Duffy, D.Dunning; S.Bianco, H.Reilly and A.Hughes (captain). Replacements:- M.Coleman (for S.Bianco), E.Haughey (for Downey), D.Costello (for Walsh), T.Couper (for Duffy) and K.Turley (for Moore).

FIXTURES

BUCCANEERS THIRDS are home to Monivea Seconds in the Connacht Junior 2A League at Dubarry Park on Sunday, scheduled kick off 2.30 p.m. At time of writing, this is the only adult fixture next weekend.

FACILITIES

While there is a significant improvement in numbers playing and in results, some matters need serious attention. Of prime concern is the state that dressing-rooms are left in after some matches, generally by underage teams. Coaches and managers must ensure that respect for club facilities is observed. Also, dressing-rooms are all too often not locked with doors wide open and lights wasting electricity after weekend matches. Again team mentors must take responsibility and show leadership in these areas. Just because “someone else” opened the dressing-rooms (most likely a coach or manager of a team for an earlier match) doesn’t mean that mentors of subsequent matches are not responsible for locking up after their later match. It’s just common sense and good house-keeping. Finally, all team managers/coaches are reminded that the main centre pitch is still OUT OF BOUNDS and should not be used (as it disappointingly was on Sunday) unless approved by the Executive Committee.
INTERNATIONAL TICKETS AVAILABLE

Match tickets for both Ireland games against New Zealand on Saturday and Argentina on Sunday week are still available from Dave Connolly, who may be contacted at 087-6471308 if anyone wishes to purchase some. Tickets for the All Blacks game cost €100 while I understand that tickets for the Argentina game are now at a more realistic price of €60. Some Schoolboy/girl tickets may also be available.

CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations and best wishes to Michael Cleary and Kay Vaughan on their recent elevations to Mens’ and Lady’s Captains of Athlone Golf Club respectively. Congrats too to Connacht on their stirring win over Samoa last week with sterling contributions by a handful of Buccs in Aidan Wynne, Brian Touhy, Shane Monahan, Conor O’Loughlin and Dylan Rogers. Well done also to Sean Cronin on winning his fifth Senior cap against Samoa although he must have been wondering why on earth he was not introduced against South Africa, especially when the lineout throws were going so awry.

CONDOLENCES 

Deepest sympathy is extended to Eamonn Fagan and family on the sudden death of his brother Vincent.

CORINTHIANS U19 11 BUCANEERS U19 17
Buccaneers ran out onto the Cloonacauneen pitch in Galway and into a field of fire as they met a very, very good Corinthians side who were alight all over the pitch and right through the game seemed hungrier for victory, yet Buccs came out on top 17-11 in this Connacht U-19 League tie.
This was a one point game right up to within a minute of the final whistle and it doesn’t get any closer than that. An optimistic opening was set off when captain Jack Carty, from off the back of a scrum, paved the way to the posts himself and converted it for a 7-0 lead after as many minutes. Very soon after that Corinthians replied with the first of two, three-pointer kicks but Buccs answer was a Robbie Henshaw try in the corner, deservedly after the full back in the last line of defence put in so many try saving tackles throughout the match.
The Buccs forwards, with the notable exception of Aidan Connaughton and hooker Conor Hanniffy who played well physically and with the tactical awareness needed to hold Buccs pack together, were for the first time outplayed in every fold of the game except lineouts. This is a credit to Corinthians energy and also Buccs sluggishness. It was a really bad Buccs day at the office! Meantime, behind the Buccs scrum, valiant work was done especially by centre Mel Corbett who put in massive tackles in every area of the pitch and, although inexplicably he was starved of the possession of the ball by his own outhalf, on one occasion he was over the line and actually touched down. However no one could understand that the decision was to dismiss it and give a drop-out to Corinthians.
Through the second half, the tension of a six points difference and Corinthians dominance everywhere except on the scoreboard, was all wrapping up everyones’ attention, and to add to it, as the match unfolded, many Buccs attacks using long Carty skip passes to the outside players were blown up as forward passes. Corinthians pressure paid off when five minutes from the end they touched down, deservedly, and sadly for the home side the conversion that would have given them the lead sailed away wide, thankfully for Buccs! Now heading for the finale, the score lay then at 12-11to Buccs! In the last five minutes, tension at an all-time high, Buccs relief came when fleet footed winger Conor Seerey took his opportunity to cross the line in the corner for a try which wasn’t converted. But this left the final score at 17-11 in favour of the Athlonians.
Man of the match was Buccs scrum half Barry Digby who had a huge game in both attack and defence. His maturity and ability to instinctively read the game and anticipate what to do, even when there is no time to think, was remarkable in this match and he was without doubt the difference between the two sides. His half back partner Carty meanwhile was less than his usual self, fatigued by playing a full Senior match the day before and, unfortunately, other players including wing forward James Donoghue, were showing all the signs of battle-weariness. Eunan McBrearty, when he came onto the field for Christy Haughian, played a tremendous role, securing ball on the ground. Likewise Lee McLaughlin entered at prop for Bryan Teaper and provided fresh legs to good effect.
Next match will be next Sunday away to Ballina. Kick off will be at 12 noon. Players are reminded that Hendre Marnitz, Bucaneers senior coach, will be taking the training session at 7.30 sharp next Friday night.
Under 19 Panel: Bryan Teaper, Lee McLoughlin, Robbie Henshaw,  John Maguire, Conor Seerey, Christy Haughian, Paul Hewitt, Anthony Cassidy, Eunan McBrearty, Robert Corcoran, Aidan Connaughton, Barry Digby, Jack Carty, Mel Corbett, Glen Carey, James Donoghue, John Dooley, Eoin Casey, Cian O’Reilly, Conor FitzGibbon, Liam Claffey, Callum Boland, Conor Hannify and Danny Qualter.

Buccs U-17 Toulouse Tour

Buccaneers U-17 squad embarked and completed a very enjoyable and rewarding trip to Toulouse. A total of thirty two players and five coaches travelled competing in two very competitive games. On arrival in Toulouse, they played that evening against Balma Olympique. Balma were an extremely well drilled side that played a very fast and dynamic game. The home team opened up an early lead; however, as our lads adjusted to the style of play the match became a tight contest. After the game both teams enjoyed a meal together and gifts were exchanged to mark the occasion.

On the following afternoon the group attended the French league match between Stade Toulousain and Perpignan. This was an extremely exciting game played before a capacity and passionate audience. The lads enjoyed the game and seemed to learn a lot from watching it, noting the skills levels and lines of running.

On Sunday afternoon Buccs played against Auchenville. This side compete in the same division as our previous opponents Balma Qlympique and another fast and aggressive game was expected from our French counterparts. The home team kicked off, but it was the visitors who dominated this game from the start, some strong forward play and aggressive defence had the home team under pressure and it was not too long before the first score of the game arrived. Some good driving by the pack turned over ruck ball and swift movement of the ball put winger Mark O’Reilly over in the corner. The game continued in the same vein with the visitors continuing to pressurise the home team, but it was the second half before O’Reilly would score his second try from a swift and crisp backline move. The game finished 10-0 in favour of Buccaneers. Following the game dinner was provided and gifts were again exchanged. It was not long before our French allies had started a sing off and a few of our unvocal coach’s tried to rein them back in! The lads enjoyed a few hours in the company of the local team in what was another memorable evening.

On Monday morning Trevor Brennan had secured the facilities of the Stade Toulousain first team for a training session. The lads got a tour of the dressing rooms and facilities of the club and then had a light coaching session with Trevor. All reported that they found the session interesting and gleaned some insight in to the French approach to moving the ball quickly. After the training session, Trevor had organised that we would dine in “Brasserie du Stade” the famous Michelin star restaurant, the three course dinner was complemented with the company of Trevor Brennan, Thierry Dussautoir and the Heineken Cup trophy. That evening we concluded our tour with an awards ceremony where some interesting awards were handed out. It is hoped that these links can be developed further as both hosting clubs expressed an interest in travelling to Ireland in the future and that the lads had a beneficial and learning experience.

On behalf of the U-17 panel we would like to thank all the parents who helped in our fundraising events and airport runs, without your help this tour would not have happened!

Panel: Ben Carty, Ross Enraght-Moony, Robert Ashe, Gareth O’Sullivan, John O’Meara, Scott Flanagan, Dylan Reid, Eoghan O’Reilly, Edward Campbell,  Karl Walesch, James Flynn, Keith McKiernan, Brian Cooper, Danny Lynam, Mark McArdle,  Peadar Hennessy,  Peter Egan,  Barry Goode,  Jordan Stoud, Robbie McMickan, Cormac Langan, David Small, Kyle Green, Terry Hynes, Cian White, Mark O’Reilly, Sean Dempsey, Saba Meunargia, Stefan Kilroy, John Gormley, Ronan Donohoe and Daire Cunniffe.

Corinthians 17 Buccaneers 38

BUCCANEERS defeated Corinthians 38-17 in a competitive Connacht U-17 League fixture. Buccs made the better start and took the lead with a superb try by centre Ross Enraght-Moony. After continuous defensive pressure Daniel Lynam blocked down a clearance kick and Barry Goode pounced on the loose ball to score Buccs second try which he duly converted. Two further first half tries from Cormac Langan left the half time score 24-5. The second half continued in the same vein with the visiting side dominating all aspects of the game. Further tries from Eoghan O’Reilly and Sean Dempsey put the gloss on this highly impressive team performance.

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