RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

U.L.BOHEMIAN 31 BUCCANEERS 16

Missing 11 players from the previous week’s team proved too much of a handicap for Buccaneers as they lost 31-16 in their Ulster Bank League Division 1B match away to U.L. Bohemian at Annacotty, Limerick, on Saturday. Buccs had 9 players involved with Connacht Eagles (with 2 others injured including captain Alex Hayman) and thus fielded a very young, inexperienced side against another youthful squad in a game played in reasonable conditions. The margin flattered the hosts who also notched a bonus point for four tries whilst the Pirates came away empty-handed for the first time this season.

Buccs included 5 players who played in Marist College’s historic Schools Senior Cup team of just two seasons ago with Eoghan O’Reilly and Harry Hughes patrolling the wings, Ben Carty at standoff and both Sean Doyle and Saba Meunargia coming off the bench in the second half . Nevertheless, despite such an inexperienced squad, the Pirates had plenty of possession and territory but, understandably, lacked the necessary precision and authority. They also coughed up quite a lot of possession in promising positions particularly in the opening half when the outcome was in the melting pot. Nevertheless, the game time afforded these youngsters will surely stand to Buccaneers good in the not too distant future.

Carty missed a kickable penalty before Dave Johnson angled in for the opening score after 5 minutes with Robbie Burke adding the conversion for UL. Carty opened the visitors’ account with a penalty four minutes later but Buccs did not make any inroads while Kevin Flanagan was in the sin bin including a second wayward penalty on 17 minutes. The Pirates enjoyed decent territory and possession throughout but turned over a lot of ball in the face of committed Bohs defending. Then UL caught Buccs napping when Jack O’Donoghue’s blindside break at a ruck yielded a soft 32nd minute converted try that put the homesters 14-3 ahead at half-time.

Buccaneers were the dominant force for the third quarter with Carty adding a second penalty on 47 minutes. James Tormey was held up just short of the home line four minutes later before Buccs finally breached the home cover for a 55th minute unconverted try by Tormey to leave just three points between the teams 11-14. But UL Bohs responded swiftly with Ed Kelly barging over for a try four minutes later and Shane Airey dropped a superb 70th minute goal from halfway to take a lot of steam out of the Athlone side’s challenge. Three minutes later there were 20 points between the teams when Kevin O’Byrne got a fourth touchdown for Bohs for whom Burke, in contrast to Buccs placekicking on the day, converted all four tries.

Yet the midlanders continued to battle and Luke Satchwell somewhat harshly had a touchdown denied for crossing but, after UL had O’Byrne yellow carded, Buccs had the final say when substitute Doyle finished off decent work in the last move of the match for another unconverted try in the left corner. The scoreline did not do this rookie Buccs panel justice and, with a bit more experience and bite, the result could well have gone the visitors’ way. Buccs retain second place in the league as the top of the table clash at home to leaders Terenure College on Saturday week looms.

U.L.BOHEMIAN:- D.Johnson; R.Burke, M.Lawlor, P.Bolger, T.Rafferty; S.Airey, D.Farrell; K.Flanagan, J.Sutton, V.O’Regan; E.Sweeney, E.Kelly (captain); K.McManus, I.Condell and J.O’Donoghue. Replacements:-  F.Cross (for Johnson, inj. 19 mins), A.Enright (for Rafferty, inj. 28 mins), G.Walsh (for O’Regan, 29 mins), K.O’Byrne (for McManus, inj. h/t),  V.O’Regan (for Walsh, h/t), G.Walsh (for Sutton, 70 mins) and G.Walsh (for McManus, temp. 19/29 mins).

BUCCANEERS:- C.Boland; H.Hughes, P.Harte, B.Henshaw, E.O’Reilly; B.Carty, M.Dolan; M.Staunton, G.Halligan, D.Higgins; J.Tormey, R.Byrne; L.Satchwell, S.Casey and K.Kiripati (captain). Replacements:-  S.Doyle (for Harte, inj. h/t),  J.O’Rourke (for Byrne, 50 mins),  S.Meunargia (for Higgins, 56 mins) and R.Byrne (for O’Rourke, inj. 60 mins).

Referee:-  Will O’Connor (IRFU). 

UPCOMING FIXTURES

BUCCANEERS SENIORS have no fixture next weekend as they prepare for a top of the table clash at home to Terenure College on Saturday week. Pre-match tables are being organised for that much anticipated match. Cost is only €30 per head for dinner + wine, seat in the stand and complimentary yearbook/programme. Groups or individuals welcome. Contact Geraldine at 0861732711 to book.

CONNACHT ABU

Leinster, Munster and Ulster may have played some exhilarating rugby in running up big Heineken Cup wins over the weekend but it was Connacht’s totally unexpected narrow but memorable 16-14 victory over four times winner Stade Toulousain that made all the headlines in a clean sweep by the Irish provinces. Well done too to Connacht Eagles, skippered by Jack Carty, who defeated Bedford Blues 17-8 in the British & Irish Cup. Six Buccaneers players started and a further three came off the bench and Buccs players did all the scoring! David Heffernan and Andrew Browne got a try each while captain Carty converted both and added a conversion.  Congratulations, one and all!

GOOD LUCK

Best of luck to Rory Moloney who is in the Ireland U-19s squad to face Australia at Ravenhill on Saturday.

BAG PACKING

Bag Packing in aid of underage rugby takes place this Thursday/Friday/Saturday, December 12th, 13th & 14th in Dunnes Stores, Irishtown, Athlone. Volunteers, particularly by parents/guardians, welcome for two-hour stints (or longer slots if you can). Those who can help are asked to contact Brian Tallon 0863855494 or Paul Brosnan 0866094892 or any Youths or Minis team manager or coach.  

CONDOLENCES

Deepest sympathy is extended to Ger Dowd and family, Creggs, on the recent death of his mother Mary.

 

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