Buccaneers U-13s suffered their first Connacht League reversal of the season going down admirably to a physically stronger and very well drilled Monivea side at Castle Grounds. Like many Buccs teams before them, this young team found the going tough out west against a wily outfit that were hungrier and more aggressive. In near perfect conditions, both teams served up a highly entertaining affair, played in good spirits and no shortage of skill.

Buccaneers were under pressure from the off, spending large tracts of the first half inside their own half. About 10 minutes in Buccs were guilty of standing back and allowing too many tackles slide off letting the big Monivea No.8 power through from the 22 for a try by the post, which was duly converted. Buccs were to concede two more tries before half time. The last try of the first half and the early concession of a try in the second half was a body blow for Buccs. This was made all the more painful as both were the result of dubious officiating.

Buccaneers endeavoured to respond to this set back and worked their way up the pitch, building phases and carrying ball with more gusto.  Their hard work appeared to yield a try only for a mix up between the ref and the Monivea touch judge. Due to a missing flag, the touch judge erroneously indicated to the ref that Buccs ground the ball, only to discover that it was in fact the 5 metre line. The resulting scrum came to nought. Nevertheless this spirited bunch of players dug deep. They increased the intensity and effort of their defensive play and work at the breakdown. The continued pressure and an increased tempo caused problems for the Monivea defence. Buccs next raid in Monivea’s 22 resulted in an excellent try by Darragh Murray in his first outing at first centre. This score just left of the upright was expertly converted by Shane Cunnane who switched positions with Murray for this outing. Buccs collective tails were up and they really showed their mettle to regain possession and territory and running at the heart of the Monivea defence. After some sustained pressure and excellent mauling Buccs breached the Monivea defence, only for another referring blunder disallowing the try despite a clearcut grounding. To their collective credit Buccs took this setback in their stride, which is more than can be said of yours truly.

Buccs battled to the very end, but in reality were beaten by a sharper and more clinical Monivea team, who punished ruthlessly any Buccs’ indiscretion. Buccs will learn from this outing and now know the level of intensity necessary in both defence and attack. This game was an opportunity to rotate the squad giving less experienced players valuable game time. The likes of Kevin Horan, Eabhan Sleatory, Eoin Slevin and Jesse Middleton can only benefit from this experience. There was some very noticeably good performances from Jack Scouler and captain fantastic Michael Lynch (injury prematurely ending his involvement) in the pack. In the backline Cunnane and Murray put in a magnificent shift but none more so than Conor Larkin who had an outstanding performance in both defence and attack. There will be no time to lick wounds or drag over the amber of this game; its back to training this Wednesday and Saturday and onwards and upwards for this young squad.

BUCCANEERS:- Eabhan Sleatory Eoin Slevin, Jesse Middleton, Conor Larkin, Darragh Murray, Shane Cunnane, Michael Byrne, Kevin Horan, Evan Gallagher, Scott Ward, Julian Devaney, Ethan Connolly, Michael Lynch (captain), Martin Fallon & Jack Scouler. Replacements:- Chiazokam Alozie, Shane Green, Fergus O’Sullivan, Faolan Kennedy, Vicente Gaetani, Jack Martin, Dairmuid McLoughlin, Daniel Westman, Dean Buckley & Billy Dalton.

atchwel� m w p�� ��� ly 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 Collegeon 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). 


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.  


Mini-Rugby between Ballina RFC and Loughrea RFC