Buccaneers host Munster’s Garryowen this weekend in one of two Bateman Cup semi-finals, courtesy of a 12-6 victory over a lacklustre Galwegians in Dubarry last Friday.

Under lights in mild but crisp conditions, neither Buccaneers nor Galwegians decorated themselves at any stage of the fixture, and while mistakes were many and varied, excuses were not.IMG_6154_433x640

Forced to trade penalties in the absence of any genuine try-scoring opportunities, each traded as many misses as successes. Galwegians found few issues in spending prolonged periods in Buccaneers territory, but struggled to get any nearer than 15m from the tryline. Buccaneers, by contrast, had no touble retaining ball for several phases but couldn’t shift it any farther down the track. Of the two most promising Galwegians’ forays into enemy territory, one yielded a red card against Buccaneers blindside Dave Heffernan – an awkward-looking tackle forcing referee Sean Gallagher to go to his pocket 22minutes in.

IMG_6188_640x401Galwegians’ second opportunity came 10minutes into the second spell, after a lineout infringement on Buccs’ part earned the boys-in-blue a scrum 15m in from touch, 5m from the line. Time and again, Galwegians inched forward as the Buccaneers set-piece disintegrated. Gallagher re-set no fewer than four times amid one or two polite ‘Wegians voices posing the possibility of a penalty try, and several dozen less-accommodating choruses baying for one from the stands.

Finally, a loss of footing in the ‘Wegians’ front row gave Gareth Halligan an invaluableIMG_6230_462x640

tighthead and Buccaneers a last-gasp reprieve. Disappointment and frustration turned to over-enthusiasm as Galwegians scrumhalf Harry Lee made his presence felt shortly after midland outhalf Jack Carty cleared for touch.

After Gallagher called time on the ensuing animated discussion, Lee took 10 minutes to reflect.

Galwegians managed a solitary penalty thereafter to go within three (9-6) but Buccaneers added three more to the tally before full-time. Buccaneers host Garryowen this weekend and will meet one of Old Belvedere or Dungannon, Leinster and Ulster’s best, in the April 28 final.

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