BUCCANEERS 25  GALWEGIANS 29

 

GALWEGIANS consolidated their position as Ulster Bank League Division 1B leaders when they defeated Buccaneers 29-25 with a last move try in a roller-coaster Connacht derby played in glorious sunshine at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday. Wegians never-say-die attitude saw them reel in a 22-0 deficit and, in the process, secure a bonus point victory over the Pirates who will be shell-shocked by the manner of their collapse in this encounter. 

 

Buccaneers Billy Henshaw tries to surge through the combined tackle of Galwegians duo Eoin Rooney and Anthony Ryan500Both sides had personnel changes for this much anticipated duel. Callum Boland returned in the centre for the hosts who also started Billy Henshaw and Martin Staunton while Wegians were short three backs — Ciaran Gaffney, Caolin Blade and Jerome Harimate — from their last outing. Apart from a breeze which blew from the Bounty end, conditions were ideal and a lively tussle unfolded in which the performances and fortunes of both teams transformed as the contest progressed.

Buccs hit the ground running and Staunton took an early hit on halfway to send Luke Satchwell racing forward where he outfoxed John Cleary to touch down for a try inside two minutes. Alan Gaughan converted before being short with a seventh minute penalty. Colin Conroy’s break for the visitors two minutes later was dealt with by Shane Layden. Diarmuid Higgins then snaffled possession following a 13th minute penalty to touch on the left and, after going through a sustained spell of good interplay, Eoghan O’Reilly raced in on the right for a try which Gaughan also converted. The home winger was soon busy defending with a tackle on Barry Lee and O’Reilly was involved again on 23 minutes when quick hands got the ball to him wide on the left but his offload to Evan Galvin was not sufficiently precise and the young flanker knocked on. This was a real try opportunity missed.

It was virtually all one-way traffic at this stage and the westerners were forced to bring down a dangerous maul but Gaughan missed the fairly straight-forward 27th minute penalty. However, the outhalf made amends four minutes later when his teasing diagonal kick was mishandled by Cleary (so often the tormentor of Buccs) and the harrying Henshaw gratefully accepted the gift to scurry in for an unconverted try in the right corner. Five minutes from half-time, referee Leo Colgan had enough as Galwegians’ penalty count mounted and he sin-binned Brian Murphy for hands. Gaughan stroked over the penalty and Buccs were 22-0 to the good. Game surely done and dusted?  Not just yet, and when a Buccs clearance  failed to make touch on the right Wegians made the most of a rare home error in the opening period with Lee’s offload to Brian McClearn creating a gap for the lock to rumble through for a try in the final move of the half.

Although Aidan Moynihan did not add the conversion, this score in hindsight proved crucial. Galwegians were much more urgent and industrious on the restart as they set about retrieving a bad   situation. It was now their turn to enjoy some territory and home scrumhalf Mark Dolan was sent to the sin bin on 45 minutes where he was joined by a visitors’ substitute Doran McHugh four minutes later. Kolo Kiripati put in some big hits now to keep Buccs defensive wall secure but then became the fourth visitor to the sin bin after the midlanders did not retreat ten metres from a 55th minute Wegians penalty although the powerful Samoan was not the culprit in this incident. Moynihan’s resultant penalty was the first score of this half.

Buccs had a real let off when Murphy’s 58th minute pass to Gary O’Brien was forward and, when the hour mark passed, it seemed that Galwegians chances were gone having made little inroad on the scoreboard.  However, Wegians territory was rewarded on 64 minutes when McHugh barrelled through for a try which Conor Lowndes converted to make it 22-15 on the scoreboard. But two minutes later the prop seemed to go from hero to zero when he incurred a second yellow card and, consequently, also saw red as the Tribesmen were reduced to 14 players for the remainder of the game.

Buccs at last responded to the second half challenge and snipes by Dolan, Gaughan, James Tormey and Henshaw seemed to re-establish their momentum. However, in one of these surges forward, Buccs mentors and supporters were fuming in the manner possession was wrestled from them but Lowdnes cared not a whit when he got the ball as he darted down the left flank for a 73rd minute try which he also converted to tie the scores 22-22.

This stung the Pirates and they battled back into the visitors’ danger area, spurning one penalty award against the breeze to opt for a lineout in the right corner. A second penalty soon followed and Buccs opted for a scrum (which were now uncontested) but signals were mixed up and a chance went a-begging, yet their pressure yielded a third placekick in a more favourable position with 82 minutes on the clock. Gaughan kept his composure to slot over the seemingly winning score, provided Buccs claimed possession from the restart. Despite having the extra player, they failed to do this and Galwegians punished them with a swift counter attack to the right where Conroy squeezed in for a bonus point try in the corner. This was the first time in the match that the visitors’ led and, with the last kick of the match, Lowndes rubbed salt in home wounds with a splendid conversion to complete an amazing comeback and seal a memorable 29-25 victory that looked highly unlikely for most of the joust.

Buccs, who looked devastating in the opening half, were utterly devastated by the outcome against their arch rivals. While Galwegians refused to throw in the towel and capitulate like their U-20s in the preceding match, Buccaneers have only themselves to blame for losing. Leadership and organisation disappeared for vast swathes of the second half and, with focus and concentration dropping, errors and penalties grew. The losing bonus point was poor consolation to the homesters, particularly in light of the two notable wins over Garryowen and Shannon that preceded this game, and they must now use the AIL break to regroup and revitalise. Fly-half Gaughan was named ‘AUDI ATHLONE Man of the Match’ while Higgins was pick of the pack.    

One minute’s silence was observed before kick-off as a mark of respect for young Lucas Digan. Ar dheis De a anam.

BUCCANEERS:-  S.Layden; E.O’Reilly, C.Boland, C.FitzGibbon, B.Henshaw; A.Gaughan, M.Dolan (captain); M.Staunton, C.Morrissey, D.Higgins; J.O’Rourke, J.Tormey; E.Galvin, K.Kiripati and L.Satchwell.  Replacements:-  J.Walshe (for Staunton, 47 mins), S.McCormack (for Galvin, 53 mins), M.Staunton (for Satchwell, inj. 55 mins), R.Keller (for Layden, 69 mins), S.Flanagan (for Morrissey, 71 mins) and G.O’Connor.

 

GALWEGIANS:- J.Cleary; C.Conroy, B.Murphy, G.O’Brien, M.Dever; D.Clarke, B.Lee; J.Naughton (captain), P.O’Donnell, J.East; M.Cummins, B.McClearn; E.Rooney, J.Pimm and A.Ryan. Replacements:- A.Moynihan (for Clarke, inj. 25 mins), D.McHugh (for Naughton, 27 mins), C.Lowndes (for Conroy, 58 mins), M.Towey (for Cummins, inj. 62 mins),  C.Conroy (for Lee, 72 mins) and C.Dunne.

 

REFEREE:-  Leo Colgan (IRFU).

 

 

BUCCANEERS 53  GALWEGIANS 10

 

BUCCANEERS demolished Galwegians 53-10 in the opening round of the U-20 Donal Walsh Trophy at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday.  Buccs were short some notables from their pack but, on a fresh sunny afternoon, they had first benefit of the elements and early scores settled them against a visiting squad that did not match previous Wegians’ sides in this league.

 

 Charlie McMickan opened the home account with a third minute penalty. Seven minutes later a tap and go penalty was finished off by Ryan O’Meara for a try near the posts. After 19 minutes, another tap and go penalty was spread wide and Harry Hughes got in for the first of his four tries in this match. Fullback McMickan converted both tries to put Buccs 17-0 ahead before Wegians opened their account with a 24th minute Darren Burke penalty. Within two minutes, McMickan ran back a Galwegians clearance to set up Hughes for his second try. Ricky Dixon snaffled the next try on the half-hour mark following a scrum and hack to give Buccaneers a solid 27-3 lead at half-time.

Within a minute of the restart, Hughes completed his hat-trick of tries before Wegians responded with a try by Eoghan Hannon, Burke adding the conversion on 49 minutes. Hughes grabbed his fourth try four minutes later and Sean Doyle showed good strength to notch his 59th minute try on the right. Ed Foley capped his debut with a well-finished try just before the finish and McMickan converted the final three touchdowns to complete the clearcut 53-10 victory.

This was a fine all-round performance from Buccaneers who had quite a number of players stepping up to this grade. Prop O’Meara from Birr, lock Conal O’Brien and No.8 Foley did very well in the pack. Another Birr graduate Graham Lynch moved the ball well at stand-off and his half-back partner Dixon was lively and inventive while fullback McMickan contributed well both around the park and from placed balls. And then, of course, there was Hughes!

BUCCANEERS:- C.McMickan; S.Dempsey, B.Gilligan, S.Doyle, H.Hughes; G.Lynch (captain), R.Dixon; C.Walsh, C.McGrath, R.O’Meara; C.O’Brien, D.Blackweir; O.Rowe, R.Flanagan and E.Foley. Replacements:- B.Kennedy, C.O’Donnell, N.Conway and S.Chiatsu.

 

GALWEGIANS:- B.Lam; R.Colgan, L.McKnight, D.Fitzpatrick, K.Colgan; D.Burke, D.Duffy; I.Afolab, C.Gavin, K.Kyne; R.Kelly, H.Power; C.Walsh, O.O’Heartain and E.Hannon. Replacements:- M.Joyce and S.Mgqamqho.

 

BUCCANEERS 29 BALLYHAUNIS 19

 

BUCCANEERS SECONDS appeared to be in bother in the opening exchanges of their Connacht Junior 1B battle with leaders Ballyhaunis but the Pirates sorted out their problems to record a fine 29-19 victory that moves them to the top of the league table.

 

Buccs were favoured by a strong, cool breeze in the opening half and missed an early penalty before a formidable Ballyhaunis pack shunted the homesters back some distance in the lead up to a try. Buccs responded well and, after a spell of good pressure, Decie Byrne scooted in for a try on the left with David Fagan adding the conversion. However, the Ballyhaunis scrumhalf found a big gap in the home defence shortly afterwards to get in for a converted try. The Mayo side then began to concede a steady stream of penalties and eventually a prop was yellow carded. Buccs promptly capitalised to score an encouraging pushover try of their own by Sam McCormack that levelled the scores 12-12.

This score rattled the visitors and their fullback knocked on under little pressure, giving Buccs a scrum from which Brian Walsh made a fine carry before setting Byrne off to score his second try. With Ballyhaunis continuing to infringe, their centre was sin binned for slowing possession. Again Buccs capitalised when Catalonian John Lopez sped in for a try that gave the Pirates a double scores 24-12 half-time advantage.

On the change of ends, Buccs squared up to the challenges posed by both Ballyhaunis and the breeze. They held their line intact until just before the hour mark when the visitors poached an intercept try, the conversion reducing their arrears to 24-19. Buccs steadily unloaded their bench and maintained their composure and workrate throughout. Fagan was unable to land a penalty against the wind but Buccs dominated the finishing stages, during which a player from each side was sin-binned. Following a penalty to the right, Buccs claimed the lineout and moved the ball smartly to the left where Walsh took his try well to complete the 29-19 winning margin.

This was a promising performance by an improving Buccs side with Saba Meunargia, James O’Donoghue and Sean Byrne making notable contributions in the forwards battle where substitute Ross Enraght-Moony also caught the eye. Fagan, Walsh and Byrne were best of the backs.

BUCCANEERS:- D.Byrne; J.Lopez, G.Walsh, S.Flynn, B.Walsh; D.Fagan, D.Griffiths; B.Campbell, S.Flanagan, S.Meunargia; R.Byrne, S.Byrne (captain); N.Flynn, J.O’Donoghue and S.McCormack. Replacements:- R.Enraght-Moony (for McCormack, inj.), R.Grenham (for Flanagan), K.Grehan (for Campbell), P.Hennessy (for N.Flynn), G.Fallon (for G.Walsh) and N.Flynn (for Grenham, inj.).

    

BUCCANEERS 5 N.U.I.GALWAY 8

 

BUCCANEERS THIRDS pushed pace-setters N.U.I.G. all the way when the sides met in a well-contested Connacht Junior 1C League tie at Dubarry Park on Sunday. The Students took the points on a tight 8-5 margin and Buccs will take heart from continued improvement as they bid to consolidate in their first season at this level.

 

Buccs had first use of the considerable cool breeze but a lively College outfit made an early breakthrough with a try and 0-5 is how the scoreline remained until the interval. N.U.I.G. added a penalty in the second half but Buccs had now reduced the influence of the Students endeavours to keep the game fast-flowing. The midlanders came much more into the game as it progressed and were rewarded with a Tristan Couper try. But N.U.I.G., who had a player red-carded late on, held on to win. Nevertheless, Buccaneers will draw encouragement from their battling and improving efforts in which the Hughes brothers Adrian and Anthony played key roles as did Darragh Lennon in the forwards. Jack O’Connor and Tony Ward were best of the backs unit.

BUCCANEERS:- G.Costello; L.Didebashvili, J.Shaughnessy, J.O’Connor, T.Ward; B.Goode, N.Purcell; K.Langdon, M.Lyons, D.Lennon; Anthony Hughes, N.Carr; G.Glynn, T.Couper and Adrian Hughes. Replacements:- C.Galvin, P.Rikadze and C.Shanley.

 

FIXTURES

 

BUCCANEERS U-20s will be keen to build on their opening day victory in the Donal Walsh Trophy league when they entertain Shannon at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Saturday afternoon, kick off 2.30 p.m. Last season, Buccs prevailed in the corresponding fixture which was a high-scoring affair. It should certainly be tougher than the win over Wegians but Buccs seem to have a well-balanced squad who will surely optimise as they get more time together. This could be a lively affair well worth watching.    

BUCCANEERS SECONDS face a second successive Mayo club when they take on Ballinrobe at The Racecourse grounds in the Connacht Junior 1B League on Sunday. Ballinrobe lie in mid table but have won both their home fixtures so this game will be a test of Buccs character and mettle. However, the Pirates are an improving crew and could have enough quality and know-how to squeeze through.

BUCCANEERS THIRDS are home to Dunmore in the Connacht Junior 1C League on Sunday when kick off time at Dubarry Park is 2.30 p.m. Dunmore lie just above Buccs in the league table but have taken the scalps of Galwegians and Sligo. Consequently, the Athlone side will have to further improve on their recent progress to get back to winning ways but, with home advantage, Sunday could be their day.

BUCCANEERS WOMENS team finally taste competitive action this season when they commence their Connacht Development League campaign away to Tuam on Friday night. This Buccs squad will feature many new female faces and may lack experience. However, they will certainly not want for effort and commitment, two ingredients that could be highly beneficial in Tuam. Best of luck, ladies.

BUCCANEERS SENIORS next game is on Saturday week when they square up to Sligo in the Connacht  Senior Cup at Dubarry Park.

CONDOLENCES

Heartfelt condolences are extended to the parents and family of young Lucas Digan, who passed away at much too young an age after a long illness. Lucas was younger brother of Cameron who plays with Buccs U-15s. Sincere sympathy is also extended to the family of Alfie Laffan. Alfie was a stalwart in Bruff’s All-Ireland Cup winning team and played against Buccs a number of times in recent seasons.

 

PITCH BOOKING SYSTEM

All team managers and mentors are reminded to utilise the on-line Pitch Booking System that is on the club’s website www.buccaneersrfc.com

All bookings should be entered by noon on Tuesdays so that they can be approved or otherwise at the club’s weekly meetings which are held on Tuesday nights. With close on twenty teams now fielding in the club, there is heavy demand on all pitches for matches and training, so all coaches and team organisers are asked to respect and comply with this request.

INTERNATIONAL TICKETS

 

Members who have requested ticket for next month’s Ireland autumn international matches, including fixtures against South Africa and Australia, should collect them as soon as possible from our Administrator Geraldine. 

Buccs U16s report:

Buccaneers Under 16s kick off thier League campaign at home to Corinthians on Sunday.

Buccaneers pack put in a tremendours performance, and lead at half time with tries from Darren Tuohy and Atrion Obono.

Corinthians held out for a narrow 15-13 win with Buccaneers having an opportunity to win late in the second half.

Buccaneers team:Atrio Obono,Adam Murray,Robert O’Connor,Ted Brosnan,Eoin Kenny,Anthony Lynch,Ethan Rowe-McCormack,Darren Tuohy,Captain,Max Feehan,Kian McBrearty,Eoin Minagh,Niall Murray,Collins Obasety,Killian Foxe and David Gavin.

Replacements: Jack Nolan,Paddy Flynn,Patrick Toland,Mel Mullooly,Patrick Henry,Inigo Gomez Loteo,Michael Hanly,Ryan Lomas

 

First Full Pitch Game for U13’s v Ballinasloe

 

First match of the season for Bucc’s U13’s and also their first game on a full length pitch. The game started extremely well for Bucc’s with a fair amount of momentum from all players led by captain for the day Deema Feehan.

This young Buccaneers team had a total of 7 players playing their first ever rugby match and all played a significant part in keeping an experienced Ballinasloe side to just two scores in the 1st half. New Players such as Prop Martin, 2nd Row Shane and flanker Anthony Connolly contributed significantly to a sturdy defence, while the more experienced players in the pack, Koronato Kirpati, Kyle Blackweir, Sam Fogarty and Ronan Hanly helped to shore up defence and mount numerous attacking opportunities.

With Ben O’ Carroll standing in at scrum half for the 1st session and showing a fantastic turn of foot on more than three occasions opening up the attack lines for Fly-half Ruaidhr Fallonto bring his backline into play with some fine running and tackling from centre’s Nathaniel O’ Neill and Joshua Jocker while Fullback Adam Flanagan along with wingers Mikey Turner and Luke Grorke-Donagh provided the options for wide attacking potential.

The second half saw four more players appearing for the first time in a Bucc’s shirt and their first ever club rugby match in Dubarry Park, Centre Conor Waters, Wing’s Conor Gillan, Brandon Green and forward Eoghan

While this untested team were well defeated, every player gave his all up till the final whistle.  Not once dropping their heads always played with plenty of heart and determination. Now that they know what discipline and strategies are needed to play full pitch they will perform at a more competitive manner next outing.

U15 Buccaneers v Galwegians, Home Friendly  – Sat Oct 3rd.

Buccaneer’s 27  v Galwegians 19

Club Bereavement – All Buccaneer’s home fixtures observed  a minutes silence in honour of Lucas Rooney Digan RIP, younger brother of Cameron, a Buccaneer’s U15 rugby player. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family for their tragic loss.

 The match was a fiercely competitive affair with both sets of players fighting hard for possession of the ball at the breakdown with Fergus Galvin, Oisin Rock, Rory Dempsey and Paddy Ryan doing particularly well in this area. From this possession, aggressive running with ball in hand from Mathias O’ Neil (one try) and James Downes provided a platform for superb back line moves through scrum half Roan Byrne to half Tadgh  Moody out to centres Dara Mulvihil (one try) and Rory Dempsey (one try).  Bucs full Back Adam Murtagh got in for a try with some fine running down the wings. Despite many substitutions where the complete squad got substantial game time, the intensity never dropped with aggressive tackling from Cian Daly, Cathal O’ Grady and Keelan Connolly.  Other notable performances from Daniel Ennis (one try) and Conor Rohan kept the point of attack varied and persistent from the young Buccaneers players. Once again our outstanding number 8, Liam Winnett caused havoc to the opposition with direct running and good foot work.

This talented U15 Pirates team start their league campaign next week having entered two teams into the premier division in Connaucht. If they can maintain the intensity they brought to this game we can expect more good results from this capable group of young players.        

 

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